Chef Julie, Chrose and friends,
Thank you so very much for your wonderful answers! I believe I better understand the principles of brining now, and intend to apply brines much more often in the future.
However, this brings me to yet another matter of investigation which I would again value your comments on. In researching the subject of brines (on my own with search engines), I learned that one reason brines are becomming all the rage among many chefs is that our nation's pork and poultry supply is not what it used to be.
It has been written that most growers are not as patient in raising and feeding poultry, and in an effort to get poultry to market sooner, the birds have much less body fat. I understand that much poultry is bred for maximum growth in limited periods of time.
It would appear that the grower gains many benefits. He needs less feed, turns inventory more quickly, and can now raise his prices by proclaiming his product as "low fat". Wow! What a scam!
Anyway, chefs understand that "low fat" often means "low flavor" and "low moisture". To compensate, brines appear to be offering a simple solution (no pun intended). I understand that many chefs prefer brining pork chops and poultry cuts before cooking because the added moisture grants a kind of buffer zone for cooking errors on the line. That is, if the cook leaves the chicken breast or pork chop in the skillet or on the char a minute too long, the result will be more forgiving.
In any case, my question is this: is it correct, in your opinion, to say that today's growers are intentionally reducing growth time and resulting fat content? If so, how do they do this? That is, how does one go about expediting the growth of an animal?