A wet cure is also called a brine, although brine literally means a salt solution.

Brining is also a method of curing and preservation and can be achieved by any of the following methods:

  • Steeping
  • Injection
  • Spraying

In steeping, the food item is immersed in the brine solution for a period of time, turning over occasionally to ensure even brining. Injection involves a brine pump wherein the brine is injected directly into the muscle fiber thereby reducing the time it takes to achieve curing/salting. Spray brining is when the brine solution is sprayed by injection at several points in the muscle at the same time. This method is even faster than the injection method.

Salting and Pickling Brine

Meat contains about 75% water in the form of inter and intra cellular liquids distributed all over the tissues. These liquids contain several substances such as mineral salts, proteins, amino acids and lactic acids. When meat is in contact with a heavily salted brine, an osmotic exchange occurs between the meat and the brine. During this exchange, the meat absorbs some of the brine and the brine receives some of the meat substances. This process of a two way exchange is very slow and almost never complete.

The PH of the Brine

The alkalinity/acidity factor of meat that is to be salted is of extreme importance in obtaining a good result. The ph factor is highly influenced by the carbohydrate in the meat. If the ph (acid) is low, it is good for salted meats such as ham and bacon. They have less tendency to develop bacteria which cause the spoilage of meat. Meat with a relatively high ph (alkaline)  is ideal for cooked salted meats such as sausages, cooked ham, pate and galantine. They retain the soft pink color that is ideal for presentation. Meat having a relatively high acidity will take on a darker color.

The Sugar in the Brine

Within the recent years the technique of sweet salted products  have started to become popular. It is important to add a small amount of sugar, preferably brown to the brine for a milder taste. Sugar also acts as a meat tenderizer during the marination.

The Water

It is the main ingredient. Water has great importance in the composition of the brine. For optimum results, water should be very clear, free of pollution and low mineral content. Hard waster should be avoided and is not recommended in the making of brine solutions.

The Salt Petre

The old brine formula consisted of salted water aromated with herbs and spices. However, the presentation and the appearance was not appetizing and the meat rather difficult to slice and kept breaking into small pieces. In order to avoid these inconveniences, it was found that the addition of a small proportion of salt peter in the brine would solve these problems. The meat changed from an ugly grey –  brown to a pleasant pink color. It also held well together so that it could be sliced properly.

The Aroma and Spicing of the Brine

Brine should never have a strong or bad odor. On the contrary, it should give a pleasant smell and an appetizing aroma to the meat.

Storage of Brine

Brine should be stored in non corrosive containers such as steel, enamel, glass. Avoid aluminum and plastic. Fix a tap to the base of a brine container so that it can be drained easily. The strictest rules of hygiene must be applied to ensure that bacteria growth is minimized. Do not use bare hands and put pre washed meats into the brine. Brine can be used up-to 4 times.

Method of Mixing the Brine

– Heat the water to boiling point, but it is not necessary to keep it boiling.

  • Add all ingredients except the spices and the herbs.
  • Skim the top of the liquid.
  • Stir frequently to cool down the brine and dissolve the ingredients.
  • Strain through a Tammy.
    1. to act as a tenderiser and break down the connective tissue (this is done by the acid in the marinade.
    2. To act as a preservative.Tie the aromates in a sachet and add to the brine the next day. 
        MARINADESA marinade is a seasoned liquid with various aromatics in which meat, poultry, game and even vegetables are steeped. Marinades are made up of the following components:
      1. Oil – could be olive, peanut, salad or plain refined oil. Flavored oils such as garlic oil, chilli oil and herb flavored oil can also be used. The oil in the marinade helps to prevent moisture loss.
      1. Acid – A whole range of acid products can be added into the marinade. Citrus fruits, vinegar (plain and flavored), lemon juice, yogurt, red and white wine are generally used.
      1. Aromatics – such as herbs, spices, proprietary sauces.
      1. Seasoning – primarily salt, sea salt, black salt, garlic salt, rock salt and grain salt.
       The function of a marinade isA . to add flavour and taste to the food.
    When only their flavor is intended, the aromates can be tied in a sachet to be removed after their flavor has been released. All marinaded meats must be dried properly before use. Wet meats will not brown properly. The length of time for marination depends on several factors
    1. The type of meat or food stuff. Beef will take longer than chicken to marinade. Also the cut of meat is important. Tenderloin will need very little marinading time compared to the rump.
    2. The size of the item. A leg of pork will take longer than the leg of chicken
    3. The temperature. Foods marinade best at room temperature. However, at times refrigeration will be required if the item is being kept overnight. In any case, fish has to be marinated at refrigerated temperatures.
     Some marinades are cooked, others are uncooked.  A cooked marinade, because it is heated, allows the aromates to release their full flavor. Raw marinades are ideal for long term periods. In both cases, the marinating should be done in non corrosive containers such as glass or stainless steel. Avoid plastic and aluminum.  USES OF  MARINADE
    • Enhance flavour by having the object being marinated absorb some of the Marinade;
    • Tenderize meat;
    • Short-term meat preservation.
      StorageA cooked marinade is best stored under refrigeration, and has a long shelf life. Uncooked marinades should be prepared for instant use. If necessary, these should also be refrigerated.


Curing is a process of surrounding meat, fish or poultry with salt. The salt contains curing agents and is called curing salts. Curing is a method of preservation and the process dehydrates the meat and thereby preserves it.

The salt is the most important part of the composition . It inhibits the growth of the bacteria, yeasts and molds. Salt also add flavor. Common salt (NACL) makes up 94% of curing salts. He other  6% are the curing agents which include:

  • Nitrates and Nitrites of Sodium and Pottassium. These control the growth of botulism
  • Salt Petre which is a nitrite and reacts with the pigmen in meat and gives it a pink color. Notice the color of Ham.
  • Sugar will reduce the strong flavor of salt, lowers the PH varience, and it add flavor and taste
  • BHT and BHA are two anti oxidants which retard the onset of rancidity of fat. If the food to be cured has a high fat content (bacon), these are required.
  • Sodium Erythorbate is also a preservatve
  • MSG is a flavor enhancer.
  • Spices and herbs which contribute to the taste and the flavor.

There are dry cures and wet cures.

Dry cures are those which are applied directly to the food. Dry curing is a prolonged process and the cure needs to penetrate into the food. The thickness and the weight of the food needs to be considered. When ready, the excess cure is rinsed off.

A Wet Cure is when the curing salts are added to a brine solution. The process is much shorter as due to osmosis, the penetration is much faster.

Amit Kumar
Amit Kumar
Hii! Welcome to My digital home, I am Amit – an almost no-code generalist, helping businesses with their online presence using WordPress and other tools and simplifying some of their operations with ideas and automation. A psychology and philosophy geek by interest and a graduate in Hospitality Management. I founded hmhelp during college, which got me into WordPress. I am a highly motivated and results-oriented professional with a proven track record of success in the hospitality industry. I’m also a Digital Marketing Enthusiast with significant academic and practical experience managing digital content across multiple platforms. Skilled at SEO optimization, developing digital content for social media platforms, I offer extensive knowledge of multiple software programs, strong attention to detail, and extraordinary communication skills. If you are interested in talking about any of the topics I have mentioned on my website, you are in the right place. You can contact me or learn more about what I do. You can also connect with me on social networks.

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