I recently had the opportunity to test a product which I first heard about on Instagram. The nice folks at F.I.T. Brine (Flavor Infused Tenderizing Brine) sent me some of their product I could try out and then give them my honest opinion about. Before we get into discussing F.I.T. Brine, let’s talk about brining and why we should do it at all.
(Photo: Whole Chicken Brined with F.I.T. Brine Lemon Pepper)
Ever have one of your family members cook at pork chop and have it be on the dry side and not that flavorful? Sure, part of the equation to a nicely prepared pork chop is what temperature you cook it until, but for that chop that is cooked properly but still lacks great flavor, brining is a fantastic option. When you combine brining and cooking a piece of meat properly, something magical happens! Brining is a process by which you submerge meat in a solution or “brine” which is typically a heavily salted solution. This method is called “wet brining”. You can also “dry brine” meat. In this method, there is no liquid involved. Dry brining is very similar to curing.
One should note though that the percentage of salt in a wet brine may vary quite a bit. Some brines you should rinse off afterwards, and for some with a lower concentration of salt, it isn’t necessary. Brining is a great way to not only retain moisture in a cut of meat, but to also add flavor and improve texture. But how exactly does that happen? It is the good old principle of osmosis. Osmosis is defined as “movement of a solvent (such as water) through a semipermeable membrane (as of a living cell) into a solution of higher solute concentration that tends to equalize the concentrations of solute on the two sides of the membrane” (Merriam-Webster). So if you’re not a science geek like myself, this means by taking a piece of meat and submerging it in a brine with a high salt content, the brine solution will actually move the salt, water, and any seasonings in the brine, directly into the meat an attempt to equalize the salt concentration between both the solution, and the meat itself. What does this do for our meat? It infuses it with more moisture, and the flavor within that brine! More moisture in the meat prior to cooking means more moisture in the meat after brining. Brining is an excellent option for cuts of meat that are typically on the lean side such as pork and chicken. Some seafood also lends itself well to the brining process.
(Photo: Whole Chicken Brined with F.I.T. Brine Lemon Pepper)
F.I.T. Brine takes all of the guess work out of making your own brine at home, and has created a great range of flavors sure to please any palate. The current flavors are: Garlic and Herb, Original Hickory, Thai Curry, Jamaican Jerk, Lemon Pepper, Savory Chipotle, Mesquite Apple, and Mango Habanero. All of the flavors are all natural, gluten free, MSG free, oil free, have no chemicals, fillers, or anti-caking agents, or artificial colors, have no preservatives, but have a long shelf life of 2+ years. If you like a decent amount of heat and spice in your food, the Jamaican Jerk and Mango Habanero are great options. My personal favorites are the Garlic and Herb, Lemon Pepper, Thai Curry, Original Hickory, and Sweet and Spicy.
(Photo: Hanger Steak Seasoned with F.I.T. Brine Garlic and Herb)
The folks at F.I.T. Brine recommend using 1 ounce of brine mix with 1 cup of water for every pound of meat. They also recommend 6-12 hours of brining time or longer if desired. I have personally brined shrimp and calamari for much less time and still had fantastic results. Although sold as a brine, I have also used this product as just a straight seasoning directly on meat and vegetables as if a seasoning rub. I made a whole chicken with the hickory flavor and it was one of the best chickens I’ve ever made. I marinated some calamari in it with the Sweet and Spicy prior to frying and was told by my family that it was the best calamari they ever had. Give it a try, I highly recommend it! F.I.T. Brine can be purchased directly on their website www.fitbrine.com and also on Amazon.
F.I.T. Brine Review
Many home cooks and chefs insist on brining before cooking chicken, turkey, and other meats, but many of us don’t bother because we think it’s not worth the extra steps. I’m one of those people that puts together dinners quickly on the fly. So I was quite excited about trying out F.I.T. Brine. F.I.T Brine makes it super simple to make your meats juicy and full of flavor just like the experts do!
F.I.T. Brine makes a great addition to many veggies as well! And you don’t even have to brine with them. F.I.T. Brine can also be as a seasoning directly on meat and vegetables.
What Makes Brining So Tasty?
I’m sure we have all suffered the travesty of a dry, tasteless chicken breast or pork chop? Thankfully, it never has to happen again, just harness the power of science, and you can brine your way to consistently better meat. Brining infuses the meat with savory, finger-lickin’ flavors, all while tenderizing it to butter-soft texture.
Some meats benefit more from brining than others. Drier, leaner meats like poultry breasts, pork chops, shrimp, and turkey are all good candidates for brining. Racks of ribs are also begging for a briny dip, which will help them retain moisture through a long smoke.
How Does Brining Work?
When you place meat in a bath of salty, flavorful liquid, the solution will travel into the meat in order to equalize the salt levels. This means that, before even hitting the heat, your meat has a higher liquid content, so when you cook it, your meat ends up juicier.
While you brine, your meat is not only gaining liquid, it is also gaining salt, and the higher salt concentration will begin to break down its proteins. This yields more tender meat and less chewiness.
Meet F.I.T. Brine
F.I.T. BRINE is a gourmet spice blend that tenderizes meat, infuses it with flavor, and keeps meat juicy. Great for many meats and seafood! Simply mix F.I.T. Brine with meat & water and soak 6-12 hours.
I’ve tried out their top 3 spiciest flavors—Mango Habanero, Jamaican Jerk, and Savory Chipotle—and I must say, I really love the flavor and heat that these brines add. They offer 9 flavors ranging from no heat to very spicy. Below is their flavor heat guide.
Here’s my review of a couple of the hotter brines available.
Jamaican Jerk F.I.T. Brine:
I absolutely love the Jamaican Jerk brine. The flavor and heat couldn’t be more perfect. I marinated the 2 large chicken breasts for about 7 hours and I was pleasantly surprised by just how spicy it made the chicken, and I didn’t even marinate it overnight! After 6-7 hours in the brine, I popped them on the grill. The chicken breasts were super juicy, quite spicy, and loaded the delicious flavors of all spice and thyme. Nothing else needed to be added to the chicken. It had the perfect balance of heat and flavor after brining. Thyme, allspice, and heat from the peppers are most prevalent. Simply delicious!
The Jamaican Jerk Brine is a combination of salt, sugar, Allspice, garlic, thyme, chipotle, onion, scotch bonnet, cinnamon, clove and black pepper.
These brines make it super simple to create a delish meal!
Mango Habanero F.I.T. Brine:
Next I tried the Mango Habanero on pork chops. I marinated 4 pork chops in the brine for about 12 hours and popped them on the grill. Yet again, I was pleased with just how much heat and flavor it added to the chops. The pork chops were a beautiful orange color from the brine, loaded with spicy flavor, and most importantly for pork chops, they were juicy! I’d say the Mango Habanero is great for adding some good heat and favor to most meats.
I also brined raw, shell off shrimp in the Mango Habanero brine overnight, 17 hours total, and then popped the into a grill basket and onto the grill. Those babies were SPICY, loaded with flavor, and super delicious. I can see this one being great for most seafood.
The Mango Habanero Brine is a combination of habanero, salt, sugar, garlic, paprika, red pepper, and natural mango flavor.
Below is the suggested meat and veggies pairing for all the brines offered.
Visit the. F.I.T Brine site to order some of these tasty brines.