The Golfing Gourmet: Stop Your Whining & Start Your Brining

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by Danny Spybey

Hello all my golfing foodies.  In case you have not noticed it is summertime and that means early morning golf and afternoon BBQs down here in the Deep South.   As an avid golfer and professional Chef (I do get paid…..most of the time), I get asked a bunch of questions about golf and food.  The most often asked question about golf I get is “How do I correct my slice?”  My answer is always the same:  “Are you a righty? If yes….aim further left” As for food questions I get asked one question particularly often.

“How should I cook my ribs? And what the heck is Brining?”   Well folks here you go.  The last great secret of the culinary world is about to be revealed.  Ever wonder when you go to a real fancy restaurant and you order the herb encrusted thick enter cut pork chop and it comes out juicy and perfect and on your table in about 12 minutes?  The same with the half chicken with its fosemary infused breast and crispy skin.  Man…… I am making myself hungry.   Well here is the secret………Drum Roll…..

Brining is defined simply “to soak or saturate in salty water”.   When any type of protein is infused with a salty solution the salt repels the liquid leaving the liquid somewhere to absorb.  In our case that would be whatever meat you have resting in that solution. With that being said the salty solution also breaks down tendons and cartilages making the meat much more tender allowing a quicker cook time while allowing the meat to retain more of its juices.    Well there you have it.   For me, I brine all of my poultry and pork.  I do not however brine red meats (except when making corned beef).   The recipe below is the brining solution I use for my ribs.   Now I am certainly not ordering you to ditch your secret rub or your cooking technique, all I am asking you is to try brining your ribs before you start the rub and cooking process.  However, be aware, If you add a rub post brining be sure to check your rub for the salt content.  Over-salting will kill your ribs.  I suggest the following process for succulent crisp on the outside, moist on the inside ribs.

1 XL Brining bag or food safe Cooler
(NO Styrofoam, metallic containers, or trash bags)
2-3 Slabs trimmed Pork Ribs – Room Temperature
½ Gallon Apple Cider – Room Temperature
½ Gallon Room Temperature water
1 Cup Table Salt
¼ cup minced Garlic
1/2 cup Brown Sugar
¼ cup Cracked Pepper
Mix all ingredients in large bowl or cooler.   Try to dissolve salt as well as possible.  Add meat to cooler with brining solution or put meat in brining bag and add mixture.  Refrigerate for 8-12 hours.
Take meat out of brining solution and pat dry. This is where you can add your secret rub. ( Remember – NO SALT) Allow to come to room temperature again.
My cooking method is on charcoal grill with indirect heat around 300 degrees on slab rack for about 3 hours.


Your Golfing Gourmet,
Danny Spybey
General Manager/ Executive Chef
Stewart Lodges at Steelwood in Loxley, AL

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