Like most on the competition trail, Draper’s competition team is always looking for some way to achieve a higher quality in the food we produce. Being a sauce and rub company, we tend to focus on the outside flavors but try not to neglect the inside.
It’s with that in mind that I bring you my impressions of Oakridge BBQ Game Changer® All Purpose Brine.
The brine is actually a brine mix – you bring the water. It’s packaged in a resealable foil bag (a personal favorite here at Draper’s) in 4 sizes, 1, 2, 5 and 10 pounds. Larger sizes available but you’ll need to contact Oakridge directly.
According to the label, one pound makes one gallon of full strength or two gallons at half strength. For our preparation, we chose the full strength brine mix.
We pulled the strip off the top of the foil pouch, opened it up and got a noseful. It’s sweet and savory with a nice balance. There’s definitely a lot going on in there. If you haven’t eaten recently, it’ll make your mouth water.
When it smells that good in the bag, you know it’s gonna be good in the chicken or whatever meat you opt to use. So we mixed it up, full strength and dropped the thighs in. Per the instructions, we left them in for the maximum recommended two hours.
I’ve mixed up some brines that subtley tinted the skin or made the skin or meat mushy, rubbery and generally off, texturally speaking. That was not the case here; what came out of the brine looked and felt pretty much like what went into the brine.
We were trying out a new technique with adding more defined grill marks on the chicken and left those thighs stay on the high heat to really develop some good color. Unfortunately, the heat wasn’t high enough and frankly, we forgot about those test thighs for far too long. Grill marks were lacking and I was sure they’d be terrible; dry, overcooked and chalky.
But in the interest of science, we persevered. The chicken came off, a bit of rub and sauce went on and we took a bite anyway. Remarkably, there was still plenty of juice in the chicken. It was very flavorful despite being on the heat for twice as long as should’ve been.
The thighs we turned in were not overcooked and had that juiciness that brining brings to the party. The flavor was right what we were aiming for, too. With the chicken being fully rubbed, sauced and tweaked for competiton, I don’t know that I could really taste the effect of the brine on the bird. That being said, it was a damn fine piece of chicken.
The first time out with Oakridge BBQ Game Changer® All Purpose Brine, we took 4th place in Chicken. It’s a fine product, easy to use, does what it claims and earns a spot in my competition load out.