Brining bags are airtight bags designed for immersing different types of meat and vegetables into a prepared brine solution. Generally, the bags are clear and composed of sturdy plastic that is capable of sustaining the weight of a large ham or turkey with ease. Brining bags are not to be confused with roasting bags, which are used to cook food in an oven. A brining bag should never be used around heat of any kind, and is only suited for brining food.
There are several different sizes of bags to use, depending on the type of brining activity that must take place. For small cuts of meat, there are bags that are ideal for brining one or two cuts at a time. Larger bags make it possible to brine several cuts at the same time, such brining four pork chops for a family meal. There are even bags that are ideal for whole turkeys or a rack of spareribs.
In appearance, a brining bag looks a great deal like a freezer bag. One end is open, making it possible to insert the meat or vegetables along with the brine. The end is then sealed using the press and seal closure in common use today with storage bags of all kinds. Once sealed, the brining bag seals in the flavor of the brining spices and allows them to infuse the food.
As a tool in the brining process, the brining bag is extremely helpful. It is possible to brine larger pieces of meat while using smaller amounts of the brining mixture. From time to time, the brining bag can be rotated or turned as needed to ensure the brine is permeating the meat uniformly. When the food is properly brined, the brine is poured off and the brined food removed from the bag.
Generally, it is recommended to not attempt to clean and reuse a brining bag. Instead, a used bag should be discarded and a new bag used for the next brining project. This can help minimize the chances for any lingering bacteria to contaminate foods later on, and thus cut down on the possibility of food poisoning.
Locating different sizes of the brining bag is not hard to do. Butcher shops often carry the bags, along with many specialty food markets. Some supermarkets also carry the smaller sizes of the bag, while a restaurant supply store would be a good place to look for the larger bags. While slightly more expensive than standard brining bags, the price is easily offset by the time used cleaning up after the brining process is completed.