Pork Chop Brine Shopping Tips
Bone-in cuts tend to be slightly less expensive than their boneless counterparts, and have more flavor.
Pork Chop Brine Cooking Tips
According to the USDA, the recommended internal temperature for cooked pork should be 145 degrees Fahrenheit.
Quick Brined Pork Chops Recipe
Update for 2017: One reader suggested something so simple and brilliant that I had to come back and update this recipe for brining pork chops. Instead of boiling the entire 4 cups of water, just boil 2 cups of water with the salt, sugar and herbs and then mix in 2 more cups of cold water once finished. Seems simple, but beats the heck out of waiting 20 minutes or more for the brine to cool down before adding your pork chops.
One of our iPhone app readers was nice enough to leave a review on the iTunes store. Their only comment was that he or she wished there was something about brining. We actually have done a few brining recipes, including an awesome brined pork roast as well as a brined turkey, but I’ll forgive them for not trying those yet. Instead of moping, I offer up yet another recipe, this time for brined pork chops!
Brining is a process that actually hydrates the cells of the meat, creating a really juicy and tender cut of meat for the grill. But wait, doesn’t that take a long time? I don’t have 12 hours here, I need to get dinner going! Well, that’s what makes this brined pork chops recipe so great! Lean cuts like pork chops actually take very little time for the brine to make a difference. Brine the pork chops for an hour, rub them down with a little fresh rosemary and throw them on the grill. That’s all there is to it!
Best Brined Pork Chops
How do you achieve a piece of moist, tender, flavorful pork chop that you’ll find in upscale restaurants and eateries? Besides having good quality cut meat, the secret is to brine it.
What is brining? For seasoned home cooks and food aficionados, this term should be no stranger to you. Brining is the process of soaking your meat in a salt and sugar seasoned solution between 4 to 12 hours so that it’ll absorb the liquid and makes the meat juicier, tender and flavorful. The best part is, after removing them from the brine, you could keep them in the refrigerator for several days before cooking. (Attention! They’ll take on the texture and flavor of ham if left to brine for more than 12 hours) .
This brining method works well for pork roast, chicken and turkey too! If you really want to get to the bottom of the science behind brining, check out this site.
You could most definitely serve it without any sauce but I like to dress it up with some caramelized onion and a sticky honey mustard glaze.
4 pork chops (preferably bone-in) – approx. 1-inch thickness
½ cup (100 g) kosher salt (if using table salt, reduce amount by half)
¼ cup (60 g) brown sugar
¼ cup (60 ml) maple syrup (substitute with honey or brown sugar if unavailable)
6 cloves garlic – smashed
2 cups (500 ml) water
3 cups (750 ml) ice water
1 tbsp coriander seeds
1 tbsp peppercorn
2 bay leaves
Honey Mustard Sauce:
1 large yellow / red onion – sliced
2 tbsp honey
1 tbsp mustard
1 cup (250 ml) white wine
Recipe source: Epicurious (with modifications)
In a non-reactive pot (stainless steel is fine), add in seasoning and 2 cups of water and bring to boil.
Transfer liquid into a large container or bag and add in 3 cups ice water. The temperature of the liquid should be at room temperature or cold.
Add in pork chops and make sure they are full submerged.
Use pork chops that are about 1-inch thickness.
Refrigerate for at least 4 hours and up to 12 hours.
30 mins before cooking, drain out the brining liquid and pat dry the chops with some paper towel. Allow the chops to come to room temperature before grilling.
Heat your skillet or grill pan. Brush some oil on each side of the chops and season with black pepper. (No salt required).
Place the chops on the hot grill or pan and sear for about 1&1/2 min on each side.
Reduce the heat to medium and cook for another 2 mins or until internal temperature reaches 63°C/145°F (use an instant read thermometer to check).
Remove from pan and let it rest for 5 mins before serving.
Glaze the chops with a honey mustard sauce (please see below) or your favorite meat gravy.
Honey Mustard Sauce:
In the same pan, saute the sliced onions until slight browned.
Add in white wine, honey and mustard and bring to boil on high heat.
Keep the heat at high, reduce the sauce until thickened. Pour over the chops and serve.
When it comes to the amount of time you want to brine something, it is more important to not brine too long than not long enough. While some cuts of pork can handle days in a brine, even a relatively small amount of time can be helpful. Pork generally takes a long time to get the full effect, but with smaller cuts, even 3 or 4 hours can do the trick. Do not, however, go longer than these guidelines.
- Pork Chops (about 1 to 1 1/2 inches thick): 12 to 24 hours
- Whole Pork Tenderloin: 12 hours
- Whole Pork Loin: 2 days
Brining times are not only determined by the weight and thickness of meat, but also by the grain of the meat. Pork tenderloin takes less time to brine by weight than do pork chops because the long-running grain pulls the brine into the meat.
How To Season Baked Pork Chops:
Similar to chicken, pork does a brilliant job of adopting whatever flavors you choose to use in your seasonings. I’m a big fan of the simple garlic powder/salt/pepper mix in the recipe below, which goes with just about any cuisine. But if you’d like to mix things up, feel free to sub in any of your favorite dry seasoning mixes, such as:
And of course, feel free to also toss the baked pork chops with your favorite finishing sauces as well.
Other Recipes You Might Like
A basic pork chop brine recipe usually consists of 1/4 cup salt and 4 cups of water. Mix the brine well before using.
- Brine the pork chops in a container filled with the brine for 2 hours in the refrigerator. Make sure both sides of the chops are covered by the brine.
- Remove the pork chops and discard the used brine.
- Rinse the pork chops with cold running water.
- Pat dry the pork chops with paper towels before cooking.
Bone-in Pork Chop Recipes
- : Delicious, creamy, and rich, this recipe can compete with just about any restaurant out there! Easily made in one pan, it’s so addictive. The tip here is to use buttermilk instead of regular milk to ensure ultimate creaminess. : One of our favorite instant pot recipes. Full of honey garlic flavor and so easy to make! Throw in your choice of vegetables to cook with, and if you’re not a fan of honey garlic try ranch or bbq sauce! Prep time is only 5 minutes, so get at em’! : Tender pork chops are smothered in cream of mushroom soup. It’s ready in just under 30 minutes. Serve it up with rice, pasta, or mashed potatoes and vegetables and you will have a complete meal. I promise you will love these mushroom pork chops! : Pat pork chops dry, cover them in the flour mixture, dip in seasoning mix, and put them in the skillet on the stove – simple steps to make the perfect fried pork chops. Ready in just 20 minutes, be sure to have a splash screen ready because frying can be fun but messy!
The Best Way to Prepare Brine For a Pork Loin
You do not need any special cookware for brining your pork loin. You are simply keeping the moisture in your pork while it is being cooked. The most common types of salt used for brining are kosher and table salt with no iodine. Pro Tip: you can use sea salt but it is expensive and offers the same results.
You need to understand kosher salt and table salt are not the same. One cup of table salt weighs ten ounces. Depending on the brand, one cup of kosher salt weighs five to eight ounces. This means if you use kosher salt you must use more to achieve the same results.
You can offset the salty flavor of the brine with flavorings. You have a wide variety to choose from including:
- Apple juice
- Rice wine vinegar
- Brown sugar
- Apple cider vinegar
- Orange juice
- Japanese rice wine mirin
- Soy sauce
You must refrigerate your meat and brine formula below forty degrees Fahrenheit. A good brine recipe for pork includes the following ingredients.
- One gallon cold water
- One cup of boiling water
- Three-quarters cup granulated sugar
- Three-quarters cup coarse kosher salt
- One tablespoon black pepper
Dissolve your sugar and salt into the boiling water. Add to your cold water and stir in the pepper. Do not add your pork until the brine has chilled in your refrigerator. Salt is essential but you can experiment with different seasonings. Adding a one-half cup of sugar to every two quarts of water will encourage your pork to brown and provide a sweet flavor. We recommend the following seasonings.
- Cinnamon stick
- Hot pepper flakes
- Coriander seed
- Vanilla bean
- Sichuan peppercorns
- Fresh herbs
- Mustard seed
- Juniper berries
- Star anise
You can use a resealable plastic bag, stainless-steel bowl or a heavy-duty plastic tub for your brining container. You must make certain your brine formula completely covers your pork loin. Pro Tip: Use a plate to weigh down your pork to ensure it remains covered by your brine.
You can figure out how much brine you will need by putting your pork line in the container you intend to use. Cover your meat with water, then remove your pork. Now measure the water. After removing your pork for the brine formula, rinse it twice and discard your brine.
Brined Pork Chops with Grilled Pineapple
These brined pork chops are juicy and tender because of the brine they sit in for 1 to 6 hours before being grilled. The spice rub gives them a great flavor and the grilled pineapple makes them a perfect summer dish.
Why Brine Pork Chops?
Before preparing your Grilled Brined Pork Chops, lets talk about why it’s a good idea to bring them first. Brining is a perfect way to infuse seasoning and flavor into pork while also ensuring that the meat remains moist. It works similarly to a marinade and uses the rule of osmosis to allow flavors to penetrate the meat, rather than just seasoning the outside surface. Basically you allow the meat to sit in a very salty solution for a period of time – allowing it to marinate.
The dictionary definition of osmosis is “the movement of water or other solvent through a plasma membrane from a region of low solute concentration to a region of high solute concentration.” This means that if the water outside the meat is higher in sodium than the water in the meat, moisture will be drawn out of the meat in order to dilute the exterior solution. Then, at some point the water in the meat will be higher in sodium than the solution the meat is sitting in and the reverse will happen. Water will start to be drawn into the meat, along with all the flavors that you’ve put into your brine. (If you’re not a science-lover, or just don’t care why brining works, ignore that paragraph except for the first sentence!)
How Long to Brine Pork Chops
The pork chops should sit in the brine for 1 to 6 hours in the refrigerator. You do not need to soak them overnight in the brine, six hours is enough time to help break down some of the muscle tissue and draw moisture into the meat. Longer than six hours could result in the pork chops being too salty.
Seasoning Brined Pork Chops
The important thing to remember when you do brine meats, is that you rinse the brine off after it has marinated, dry it well and do NOT season the meat again with salt. In this recipe, we rub a spice blend on the pork instead that does not contain salt. The pork chops can sit out for about an hour or so to come to room temperature before you grill. This will allow the chops to cook faster on the grill and it gives you the necessary time to get the grill ready, especially if you are cooking on a charcoal grill like I do.
How Long to Grill Pork Chops
The time it takes to cook the to cook the chops depends entirely on how thick they are. Chops that are roughly 1-inch thick with the bone still in will take about 5 minutes per side, give or take a minute. You can mark your chops with cross-hatch marks on the grill if you choose to, but it’s not necessary. A single set of grill marks is just fine.
Internal Temperature of Pork Chops
When you check the internal temperature of the chops with an instant read thermometer – the temperature should be 150ºF. You will know they are cooked through if they feel firm to the touch, but still have a little give. The next step is critical – the pork chops must rest. Remove them to a plate and cover them loosely with foil while you grill the pineapple.
How to Grill Pineapple
Grilling pineapple is very easy – you just have to cut it to create a flat surface. That means you could slice the pineapple into rings or half moons, or you could cut long wedges of pineapple. Either way, you can opt to leave the hard peel on or take it off. (You can read about how to cut a pineapple here.) The important thing to remember is to brush the pineapple pieces with a little fat and sugar. This recipe calls for a maple syrup mixture that flavors the pineapple perfectly. The pineapple should only take about 5 minutes, which is just about the right time for the chops to rest. All you have left to do is serve everything to your guests.
Fruit and Pork Chops
Pairing pork chops with fruit on the grill gives you a great flavor profile and the fruit and pork compliment each other nicely. Another great recipe made with ripe summer peaches, are Grilled Pork Chops with Peach BBQ Sauce. Of course on a rainy day or when it is too cold to grill, my go to pork chop recipe is my Easy Glazed Pork Chops.
Star Anise Brine
Tom Schierlitz for The New York Times. Food stylist: Brian Preston-Campbell. Prop stylist: Bettina Budewig.
Back in 2012, Sam Sifton spent some time with Jesse Griffiths, a hunter, and the author of who wrote “Afield: A Chef’s Guide to Preparing and Cooking Wild Game and Fish.” Mr. Griffiths brined the chops he hunted and gathered chops in an anise-flavored brine. “The result,” Sifton wrote at the time, “is like overproof American whiskey touched by a splash of water, its flavor enhanced rather than diluted by the process.” But home cooks should take note that this same brine is not just for feral boar. Use it on the very chops you’d buy at the supermarket. Simply make up the brine the night before (or even the morning of), and soak your chops. Try it in our recipe for smothered pork chops, or in your own recipe for chops, but do try it.