This is a post about meat. And the #1 scam associated with it: salty wetness.
Yes… I am talking about brine. (What else would I be talking about? Seriously…) Nowadays, a lot of meat sold at the supermarket has been watered down. Companies will add brine (salt+water) to meat for multiple reasons:
- They get to sell you salt and water at a very high price. $$$
- Salt makes almost everything taste better. The salt flavour itself tends to enhance other tastes. On top of that, salt soaked through meat will make it lose less tenderness when it is cooked. (In actual cooking you might want to add even more salt or brine the meat again for more tender meat.) But if you’re trying to watch the amount of sodium in your diet… you might get screwed here.
- Some salt slows down the growth of bacteria, though this may not really help for meat because it will rot anyways. If you were to use a lot of salt (e.g. preserved meats) then it can be enough to stop meat from rotting.
To summarize: It’s cheap, it makes almost everything taste better, and it helps preserve food. Those are usually the reasons why there are large amounts of salt in the food sold at supermarkets and at restaurants.
Not all meat at the supermarket has necessarily been brined. Meat that has salty water added to it will usually be marketed as “seasoned” meat and will have a list of ingredients that includes salt and water. So now you know.