Pork Chop Brine
If you can make time to brine your pork chops for even a couple of hours, you will be rewarded with totally moist and tender pork chops. And brined pork chops are much less likely to dry out when you cook them.
What is Brining?
Brining is a marinating method that involves salting the meat, which allows the meat to retain more moisture as it cooks. This results in juicier meat when cooked. It works particularly well on lean white meats, like, chicken, turkey and pork. Brining also seasons the meat through and through, and gives the meat a firm texture.
Interestingly when you weigh a pork chop after cooking that has been brined, you’ll see it weighs more than a non-brined pork chops. This means more moisture stayed in the meat!
What Does Brining Do?
Brining actually causes a change of the structure or proteins in the meat. The salt causes the protein strands to become “denatured” or unwound. As the protein strands unwind, they trap moisture, resulting in juicier meat.
How to Brine Pork Chops: Brining pork chops results in extra juicy meat, and prevents the chops from drying out no matter how you cook them.Tweet This
Why is There Sugar in a Brine
The sugar adds flavor and can enhance the caramelization or browning as the meat is cooked. You can dial up or down the amount of sugar as you like. Take into consideration how the pork chops will be cooked, and what they will be served with, and determine whether or not a bit of added sweetness will enhance the dish.
How to Brine Pork Chops
This amount of brine is for 2 to 4 thick (1 to ¼-inch) pork chops. You can double or triple the amount of brine as needed if you are making more pork chops. This brine is also great for a small pork loin.
Make a simple brine by combining 2 cups water with ¼ cup kosher salt and ¼ cup sugar (white granulated or brown sugar) in a medium-large pot. Bring the mixture to a boil over high heat, stirring until the salt and sugar dissolve. You can also add ingredients like a few garlic cloves, some strips of citrus zest (orange and lemon work well) a tablespoon of black peppercorns, and some springs of fresh herbs like rosemary or thyme to the mix.
Add 4 cups of ice and stir until the ice has melted and the liquid is cool. Transfer the brine to a sturdy zipper top bag or sealable container. Add the pork chops, and turn to coat with the liquid.
Transfer the container to the fridge and refrigerate for 2 to 18 hours. Remove the pork chops from the brine, discard the liquid, and pat the pork chops completely dry with paper towels or a clean dishtowel. Cook or grill as desired.
- Make sure the sugar and salt are totally dissolved before adding the ice to the brine base
- Make sure the brine is completely cold before you add the meat
- Make sure the chops are completely submerged in the liquid
- Do not leave the pork chops in the brine for more than the recommended time. This will cause the pork chops to change in texture, and the result might be mushy meat.
Also see How to Brine a Turkey Breast.
Other Pork Chop Recipes:
- Grilled Soy-Ginger Pork Chops
- Spanish Pork Chops
- One Skillet Creamy Mustard Pork Chops
- Grilled Pork Tacos with Salsa Ranchera
- Korean Pork Chops
- Pan Seared Pork Chops with Marsala and Mushroom Cream Sauce
- Garlicky Pork Chops and Broccoli
- Pork Chops with Apples
- Pork Chops with Salsa Verde and Broccoli Rabe
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How to Brine Pork Chops
- 2 cups water
- ¼ cup kosher or coarse salt
- ¼ cup white or brown sugar
Optional Add-Ins: (Pick and Choose or Combine)
- 3 garlic cloves, 4 orange or lemon zest strips, 1 tablespoon peppercorns, 4 or 5 sprigs fresh herbs like rosemary or thyme
- 4 cups ice
- 2 to 4 1-inch thick pork chops
- Combine the water with the kosher salt and in a medium-large pot. Bring the mixture to a boil over high heat, stirring until the salt and sugar dissolve. You can also add the optional add-in ingredients: garlic cloves, strips of citrus zest, black peppercorns, and fresh herbs.
- Add 4 cups of ice and stir until the ice has melted and the liquid is cool. Transfer the brine to a sturdy zipper top bag or sealable container. Add the pork chops, and turn to coat with the brine.
- Transfer the container to the fridge and refrigerate for 2 to 18 hours. Remove the pork chops from the brine, discard the brine, and pat the pork chops completely dry with paper towels or a clean dishtowel. Cook or grill as desired.
The nutrition values are provided as an estimate. It is not intended as a substitute for the advice of a qualified healthcare professional.
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