Chicken and pork are two types of meat that always go well together at a barbecue. They give everyone two excellent choices but preparing them can become tedious, especially when you have to do it separately. So, the question is can you put chicken and pork in the same brine? Let’s take a look.
Can You Brine Chicken and Pork Together?
Both types of meat, pork, and chicken should be brined and packed individually when taken to a barbecue. It would be best to avoid cross-contamination when it comes to meat. It becomes imperative when you are dealing with raw chicken. Remember, Cross-contamination can be dangerous.
Most good food and safety courses place a heavy emphasis on cross-contamination. While this is not a food and safety course, I want to expand on my answer and hopefully convince you not to brine chicken and pork together I also want to discuss using the same brine on separate occasions.
What To Do If You Brined Chicken And Pork Together
Don’t worry if you have already brined your chicken and pork together before reading this article. Firstly, don’t rinse the meat because the point of brining is to infuse the brine flavors with the meat and keep the meat moist. So, rinsing it will not do much except removing some of the flavors.
Doing so will increase the chances of cross-contaminating the meat, and other foods in your kitchen.
Instead, you want to cook the meat thoroughly. I recommend cooking it above the USDA recommended temperatures, even if it means the meat will be a little bit dry. But, at least you are minimizing any risks.
Also, you want to spice both proteins separately because both will require various spices and amounts to bring out the authentic flavors.
4 Reasons Not To Brine Chicken And Pork Together
There is no denying that preparing multiple types of meat simultaneously can be a time-consuming task. So naturally, you would want to find ways to cut corners. Yes, brining chicken and pork together will cut down the amount of time it takes to prepare the food, it might also save you money.
With that said, here are four reasons why chicken and pork should never be brined together:
Cross Contamination With Chicken Is Dangerous
Poultry, especially chicken, is one of the most common meats. Unfortunately, it is also one of the most common causes of food poisoning. If you undercook chicken, it is almost guaranteed that you will get sick.
The reason for this is that the organisms found in chicken need to be cooked away, but when you cross-contaminate pork with raw chicken, you transfer those organisms to the pork. This is why chicken should be brined separately from any other type of meat.
Now, you could argue that if you cook both portions of meat enough, you shouldn’t have a problem.
However, the risks outweigh the convenience. If any part of the pork is not cooked correctly, someone eating at the table could get very ill, and they are not going to be very happy with you if they find out you prepared the chicken and pork together.
Cross Contamination With Pork Is Dangerous
Pork is another meat that should not get cross-contaminated with other meats. You also need to thoroughly cook pork regardless of whether it’s been brined or cross-contaminated. If you brine pork and any other meat together, you risk transferring the bacteria in pork to the other meat.
Again, the bacteria in pork get cooked out of the meat. However, you still don’t want to run the risk of transferring those to the other meat you’re cooking.
Chicken And Pork Take Different Times To Cook
Once you remove the chicken and pork from the brine and take them to the grill, the amount of time it takes to cook both is significantly different. But why would this affect whether or not you brine the meat together?
Let’s first look at the recommended temperatures for both types of meat:
- According to an article by the USDA, pork should be cooked to at least 145 degrees Fahrenheit (62.8 degrees Celsius)
- According to that same article by the USDA, poultry needs to be cooked to at least 165 degrees Fahrenheit (74 degrees Celsius)
Because of the different cooking times, there is a higher risk that one can be undercooked or at least any part of the meat. Seeing as you have doubled the risks by brining both meets together, undercooking any of the meats becomes quite dangerous.
The Flavor Of Both Meats Can Change
When you cook chicken and pork side by side, you get slight hints of flavor that transfer to each other, and the taste of chicken or pork can be significantly enhanced by this, especially if you spice both portions of meat separately.
However, if you put both in the same brine at the same time while they are raw, one of the meat could overpower the other and what you are left with is chicken that doesn’t taste quite right and pork that has a weird taste.
Can You Brine Chicken And Pork Together In Pickle Juice?
Although pickle juice contains a few more ingredients than traditional brine, the same concept applies to pickle juice as it does with brine.
None of the ingredients in the pickle juice have any effect on cross-contamination, so you still run that same risk by using pickle juice.
Can You Use The Same Brine For Chicken And Pork?
If you have a limited amount of brine and need to make it work for various cuts of meat, you might want to use the same brine for chicken and pork, but can you do this, and is it safe to do so?
You should never reuse brine if it has already had meat in it. Say you make a brine and use it, throwing it away seems like a waste, doesn’t it but here are three reasons why you should not reuse brine:
- Reusing brine that had any chicken in it can be dangerous.
- If you brine chicken or pork, the contents of the brine change. So, it loses flavor.
- The ratio of salt changes in the brine, so its effect weakens.
I have read many articles on this topic, and a few of them say that you can brine chicken and pork together, and it is true. Doing them together will save you a lot of time mainly because you don’t have to make extra brine. However, it is best not to mix the two types of meat.
It’s best to plan out the meals in advance and give yourself enough time to ensure you won’t be pressured to brine both meats together.
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