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Brine Mix

A brine mix is a pre-blended mixture that you can buy in stores. It expedites the process of brining from scratch. But, what really is a brine?

Brining is the process of treating food to prolong its shelf-life while increasing its moisture and improving its flavor. The food, usually meat, is immersed in a solution with a high concentration of salt in water – the brine! The history of this process dates back many centuries ago. It was one of the key factors of survival, as fishes and meats were immersed in seawater. The process inhibits the growth of bacteria; hence, extending the lifespan of their food. Meanwhile, the meat absorbs the brine, resulting in a tender, juicier, and more flavorful dish. Thus, this process is highly suggested on lean cuts of meats that dry out faster while cooking. The same process also applies to vegetables, fruits, and cheeses. But, it is most commonly known as pickling.

Brine Mix Trivia

  • Back then, factories had been pickling cucumbers in huge outdoor vats of salt brine.
  • The sun’s infrared and ultraviolet rays inhibit the growth of mold and yeast in the brine’s surface.
  • Beer brine, maple brine, and kosher salt brine are some of the most popular brine mixes.
  • If you’re confused about how much salt is enough, put a raw egg on the solution. The salt is enough when it can float an egg.

Brine Mix Buying Guide

From local artisans to large supermarkets like H-E-B and Natural Grocers, brine mixes are easy to find in the state of Texas. Some come in liquid form, some are powdered, while some have free injectors and bags. Nevertheless, here are some helpful things when you opt to buy the store-bought ones:

  1. You can find brine mixes in the seasoning or spice aisle of the store.
  2. If possible, go for the ones that contain organic ingredients.
  3. Although brine mixes mostly don’t contain added preservatives, double-check out the ingredients list to pick the right one.
  4. Pick the ones that are completely sealed to assure that the product hasn’t been contaminated. Cans or packages that leaks, rusts, bulges, or is severely dented should be discarded.
  5. As always, brine mixes from local food vendors and artisans in farmers’ markets are better than the mass-produced ones. Here, you’ll get close to no preservatives and the ingredients are usually organic. Their products are also made in small batches and you might be able to get free samples along the way. And, don’t forget that our Texas Real Food website is home to all Texan vendors that would love to hear from you.

Brine Mix Production & Farming in Texas

From homemakers and artisans to large manufacturers, brines and brine mixes are widely-produced in the state. Various farmers’ markets showcase such products that are made in small batches, ensuring the quality of each. Some of their products are also flavored interestingly; hence, it’s something that you must try. Moreover, the city of Houston is also home to the Texas Brine Company, LLC. As the largest independent brine producer in America, this company not only manufactures brine for food uses but also for chlorine and caustic soda, which are both used in the production of pharmaceutical and industrial products. 

Nevertheless, a brine or brine mix is traditionally produced using the standard ratio of 1:1 – 1 tablespoon of salt per 1 cup of water. Herbs, spices, and flavorings can be added accordingly as well. You can also add sugar in the mixture to balance the saltiness. Thus, when flavoring a brine like such, the brine should be boiled and cooled down first. Succeedingly, the brined meat shouldn’t be rinsed after. 

Otherwise, if it’s just salted water, especially with a higher amount of salt, rinse the protein in cold water before cooking. Rinsing off isn’t really necessary but you’re only doing this to lessen the saltiness in your meat. Furthermore, the most important thing to keep in mind is, the solution has to be cold when brining and the meat should be fully submerged into the liquid.

Meanwhile, you can also use the standard ratio of 1:1 when it comes to the brining time. Thus, for every pound of meat, it’ll take at least an hour to brine properly. Regardless of the weight, however, don’t brine past the 24-hour mark.

Pesticides, additives, and chemicals:

As mentioned above, brine solutions are made with a high concentration of salt. Thus, store-bought brine mixes don’t need an additional preservative as salt is already a natural one. Hence, as we scrutinize each brand, we’ve only found a few additives: 

  • Calcium Chloride – This additive is an inorganic compound made with salt. It acts as a firming agent in food, especially in canned products. Also, it is commonly used as an electrolyte in sports beverages. Common side effects of this additive include vomiting, low blood pressure, stomach pain, and a burning mouth or throat.
  • Lactic Acid – This additive is found mainly in sour milk products like yogurts, cottage cheese, etc. Thus, it is the one responsible for the sour flavor and the fermentative effects. Secondarily, it also acts as a mild preservative in foods.
  • Natural Flavorings – These are additives that are used to intensify the flavors of the product. For brine mixes, some natural flavorings include: vinegar, garlic, onion, red peppers, brown sugar, juniper berries, cranberries, apples, orange peel, other spices, and herbs.


Brines can come in either liquid or powder form. Liquid brines come in bottles, jars, and pouches while powdered brines come in pouches. Another popular item is the brine kit, where a brining solution and/or dry mix, a brining bag, and an injector comes in one packaging.

Enjoying Brine Mix

Brines are best enjoyed on meats that will either be roasted, grilled, or smoked. It works perfectly on chicken, turkey, pork, and shrimp. A Texan barbecue can also use this process as it prepares them to retain its moisture during the long smoking hours. And, as mentioned above, brining is highly suggested to tenderize leaner cuts of meat such as chicken breasts, pork chops, and alike.


Unused brine can last almost indefinitely in the fridge. If there are whole seasonings in it, the brine’s shelf life would be down to a week. Thus, make sure to strain them out if you’re planning to store it more than that. Prepackaged brine mixes, on the other hand, will not show its expiration date on most packages as it can virtually last forever. Nevertheless, the most important thing to remember is to not reuse your brines. I repeat, do not reuse your brine. 

Let’s get brining!

Are you ready for some juicy, tender, flavorful, and mouth-watering piece of meat? Then, let’s get brining! Below is a boiled brine recipe that only takes less than half an hour before it gets to the fridge. You can choose your cooking option but we would suggest you to try roasting the meat first – it is absolutely irresistible!

Yield: 12 servings


  • 2 quarts of water
  • ½ cup kosher salt or sea salt
  • ¼ cup honey
  • 4 dried bay leaves
  • 5 cloves garlic, unpeeled, smashed
  • 1 tbsp whole black peppercorns
  • 3 sprigs fresh parsley
  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 2 lemons, quartered
  • 1 whole chicken that weighs between 3-4 lbs


  1. In a large pot, combine all the ingredients except for the chicken. Boil for 15 seconds and simmer for 3-4 minutes.
  2. Turn off the heat and cool down to room temperature.
  3. Carefully lay the chicken on the brine solution, making sure that the chicken is completely submerged.
  4. Cover the pot and refrigerate it for 8 to 24 hours.
  5. Then, take out the chicken from the brine. Rinse it with cold water and pat dry with kitchen towels.
  6. Roast, smoke, or fry the chicken. Serve and enjoy!



  • Serving Size: 1/6 Serving per Recipe
  • Calories: 182.5
  • Carbs: 24.7g 8%
  • Sugar: 22.7g
  • Fiber: 0.3g 1%
  • Protein: 2g 4%
  • Fat: 9g 14%
  • Saturated Fat: 1.2g 6%
  • Trans Fat 0g 05
  • Cholesterol 0mg 0%
  • Sodium 13209.3mg 550%
  • Vitamin A 0IU 0%
  • Vitamin C 0mg 0%
  • Calcium 25.3mg 3%
  • Iron 0.7mg 4%
  • Potassium 76.3mg 2%
  • Vitamin B6 0mg 2%
  • Niacin 1.2mg 6%
  • Vitamin E 1.9IU 6%
  • Vitamin K 5.4mcg 7%
  • Magnesium 20.1mg 5%
  • Zinc 0.2mg 1%

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