The Briner


My sister-in-law and I share a serious love of cooking, so her gifts are always spot on. For my birthday she sent me something really unique, called “The Briner.” It’s a large, plastic container designed for brining meat.

As you can see in the below right photo, there is an inside “lid” that holds meat down inside the container and keeps it submerged in the brine. It’s ingenious!

To quote from The Briner website, this patented product “resolves the #1 challenge to successful brining – floating food! Simple design, easy to use, easy to clean, works great.”

Previously, I’d used my largest, deepest pot for brining, and had to stack heavy plates on top of the meat in order to keep it from floating, especially the few times I brined a whole turkey or chicken.

Not being an expert briner, I looked to Paul from That Other Cooking Blog, who is obviously a proponent of brining. I’ve followed Paul for years now; his blog is also a great resource for sous vide cooking. Plus, his professional photography is featured in a cookbook entitled, “The Essential Sous Vide,” published in 2016.

Isn’t that one gorgeous photo on the cover??!!

So I asked Paul some basic brining questions. In a nutshell, here’s what he said.

“Everything is brinable.”

Paul said a lot more than that – he’s quite generous with his knowledge, but that’s the gist of what he said. And I guess, why not?!!

He also brines and then uses his sous vide. That almost hurt my brain to think of how exceptional protein could turn out with everything going for it!

And again, why not?!! So I decided to brine with The Briner, and sous vide a pork loin chunk.

Those of you who don’t own a sous vide machine, I highly recommend you look into one.

This is the model I own. (above) It’s half the size as the commercial sous vide, less expensive, and perfect for a small family.

To me, it’s an essential appliance, especially for tough cuts – brisket, flank and hanger steaks – and easy-to-overcook cuts, like pork and chicken.

A Brine

1 cup salt
1/2 cup sugar
8 cups water
1 1/2 pound pork loin
2 oranges, quartered
1 onion, quartered
A few smashed garlic cloves
Bay leaves
Star Anise
Some crushed juniper berries

Using a large pot, combine the salt and sugar with the water and heat until dissolved. Set aside the pot to let the mixture cool.

Place the pork loin in The Briner, or a large pot. Pour cooled brine over the top.

Add the remaining ingredients, squeezing the orange pieces a bit into the brine.

If the meat is not covered by the brine, add some more cold water.

Then add the lids to The Briner, place in a cool place like a cold garage or refrigerator for 24 – 48 hours.

After brining, rinse the pork, and dry off well.

Vacuum seal the loin and keep chilled until the sous vide is ready. You can season the pork, add more herbs, and even add butter to the pork before sealing, but I did not.

Preheat the sous vide to 135 degrees. The pork will be done after 12 hours. Plan according to whether you will be removing the pork and immediately browning it and serving it, or if you plan to refrigerate it overnight first.

Here’s what it looks like after the sous vide process.

Brown the pork in a little oil, seasoned with a good garlic pepper or seasoning of your choice. You can brown the whole chunk of loin, but I decided to slice it into serving pieces first.

Honesly, the pork is ready to eat after the sous vide’ing, but most people are put off by pink pork!

I served the pork with a creamed spinach.

Then I tasted the pork. Oh my.

I tasted the brine ingredients!

I could taste the onion and orange, specifically. The depth of flavor was tremendous.

And, of course, the pork was super tender from the sous vide process.

So young Paul was right. Why not take advantage of all the tools and tricks we have to create the best food possible!

39 thoughts on “The Briner

  1. OH MY GOD!!!!! Mimi! Thank you so much for the big shout out here! I’m pretty humbled by this. You’re just the coolest! The perfect Christmas gift for me :) thank you thank you thank you! Merry Christmas! Hugs!

  2. That looks amazing Mimi! Often pork loin is on offer but it is so tricky to cook without during out and I don’t always want to wrap it in bacon. Now I don’t have a bringer or a sous vide…..soon! Happy New Year too!

  3. A briner – how interesting – I could use one of these. The cookbook looks great too – now all I need to do is buy a sous vide. I don’t own an insta pot either – I just have so many gadgets after 35 years of collecting :) Hope you had a nice holiday!

  4. I sous vide pork tenderloin quite a bit, but ALWAYS have to pan sear my hubby’s pieces, as he’s convinced he’d get ill from undercooked pork, lol. Now that briner gadget is a new one for me! What a great gift from your SIL!

  5. Beautiful! I may never jump on the sous vide band wagon, but I do love brining and that kit sounds ingenious! I hate trying to weight things down with plates especially when the plate slides off and I have to retrieve it from the cold brine!! Happy New Years, Mimi!

  6. Hi Chef Mimi, What an interesting idea. I love reading your blog. I love your colors and interesting food pics. You are a woman after my own heart…After a 20 year career as a teacher, I am just starting out in the catering/food writing/cooking world. I raised two children and cooked a family meal every night, so I guess I have some experience already! Thanks for your inspiration!

    • Well i used to follow you and then something happened! Glad to be back! I’m so glad I broke down and finally bought my sous vide. It’s a vital kitchen appliance!

    • Well, you can live without it, but you get hooked as soon as you try it, especially on such things as brisket, flank steak, pork loin, and chicken breast. I don’t bother on any kind of tenderloin, because that’s just silly.

  7. I absolutely NEED this bringer – not a want, you understand …. a need. Brining is essential for a decent roast turkey and I suspect other meats would really benefit. I am not stalking this briner. Also, thank you for gracing me by following my blog … I will try not to disappoint 😊

    • That’s so sweet, thank you! The briner is a very handy piece of equipment. Brining really is beneficial, isn’t it?!!

      • I love brining though I have only ever done a turkey bird. I see from the website that so many other meats would benefit (doh – why wouldn’t they) …. I am ordering one and will reference your blog in my feedback when I receive it. Good turns deserve good turns – they should GIVE you a briner for the advertising 😉

      • Oh, you’re going to love it! I’ve mostly brined turkey, chicken, and pork, but I wonder what it could do for pheasant or even venison? It’s quite fun to brine. This pork was really incredible. Have fun! And thank you.

  8. I’ve never done either of those things – brining, and sous vide. Wait, maybe that’s not true. I think I did brine some pork chops once, because I just couldn’t get them to come out juicy. I’ve been considering sous vide. Do you know much about the kind of machine that looks like a stick blender? Is the type of machine that you have advantageous?

    • I replied to your comment but it disappeared! I know what kind that is but that’s not what I own. I have a Sous Vide supreme Demi machine, perfect for the 2 of us, plus company. Love it. Brining is pretty fun and really works. It adds good flavor. I think also purchasing high quality meat, which we’re finally able to do after many lean years, is key.

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