6 Brining Tips from Chef Stephen Jones of Blue Hound Kitchen & Cocktails

Categories: Chef and Tell

Hayden Harrison
Chef Stephen Jones uses limes, lemons, oranges, and grapefruits for his citrus brine.

"It gets confused a lot with marinating," Blue Hound Kitchen & Cocktails' executive chef Stephen Jones says. "It's a totally different beast."

Brine is a salt solution in which proteins or vegetables are submerged to give them flavor. Marinating uses an acid or oil base that desaturates. Brining saturates.

"The protein contracts and kicks out all of its juices and its moisture in a slow, gentle process -- that's why we brine over night or over long periods of time -- it slowly imports all that moisture back in," Jones says.

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Hayden Harrison
Jones says scallops aren't hard to brine.

Once the proteins or vegetables are brined, they can be cooked however he pleases.

Jones uses brining to add flavor to four dishes on his menu at Blue Hound Kitchen. For him, it's not just about the end result, but also the process.

"It's cool because it's something so basic, but it's technique-driven," Jones says. "There's that cool science behind it, and it's really old."

So, we figured he'd be a great person to give us a lesson on brining. He shared six vital aspects to keep in mind when trying it in our own kitchen. Jones also mentioned that a lot of brining is figured out by trial and error.

The amount of time required to brine depends on the result desired. It takes practice. If brining chicken with citrus, don't let it brine for over 24 hours or the acid will begin to cook the protein. On the other hand, the lamb belly Jones brined sat in the liquid for 14 days. (He was making corned "beef" with it.)

Location Info

Blue Hound Kitchen & Cocktails

2 E. Jefferson St., Phoenix, AZ

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We stop at Blue Hound every month for the ridiculously well crafted drink menu (way above anywhere else in the valley to include our equally-beloved Citizen Public House). It was a treat to find out that they also serve equally ridiculous food... though we've never eaten there outside of the bar.

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