Brined Pork Chops
I have talked to several of our friends who say they don’t like to cook pork chops because they are usually overcooked and dry. Well, I agree there is nothing worse than a dried out pork chop or for that fact, any other meat. I didn’t know it, but I have been doing a version of brining ever since I was a teenager. My family taught me to always put apple cider vinegar on our pork and let it sit overnight, which although it wasn’t the official way of brining it accomplished the same thing… breaking down the membranes to keep the meat tender. Fortunately, now I know the secret to creating a great pork chop…brining.
Why does brining work you might ask? Well, all meat is composed of cells, and cells have membranes. The brine absorbs into the membranes to keep the meat juicy and moist. By brining and cooking the pork properly you will have the perfect chop every time!
The basic brine consists of a mixture of sugar, salt, seasonings and water or other liquid (I say other liquid because I often use apple cider or juice in my brine along with water). You can add garlic, bay leaves, peppercorns, wine, parsley, honey, brown sugar, etc. Use your imagination to what YOU think will taste good!
Ingredients for Basic Brine
- 4 bone-in-rib loin pork chops
- 3 C apple cider or apple juice
- 1 C of ice water
- 3 T kosher salt
- 3 T brown sugar (I don’t care if it’s light or dark…I use what I have)
- ½ tsp black peppercorn
- 2 bay leaves
Combine all the ingredients except for the ice water in a saucepan and heat on low just until the sugar and salt have dissolved. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the ice water to cool the brine. An important thing to remember is to KEEP IT SAFE! Make sure the brine has cooled completely.
Once you have made the brine, you will need a good container to put your pork chops in so you don’t have a mess in your refrigerator. Normally I use a large zip-lock bag and set it in a pot in case it leaks. Refrigerate for a minimum of 2 -3 hours and up to 12 hours depending on the meat and flavor you want to achieve.
Now that the chops have been in the brine for at least a couple of hours, remove the pork from the brine and pat dry with paper towels. Add the seasoning of your choice. I use (Tony Chachere’s Original Creole Seasoning, garlic powder, and pepper.) Grill chops to 140° to 145° or until they are pink or pale red or state some color because most people aren’t going to use a thermometer. Take them off and cover them with foil. Remember to let your chops rest for about 15 minutes. Once you take meat off of the grill it continues to cook. Allowing it to rests lets the juices stay in the meat instead of oozing out on your cutting board.Tags: Brine, Pork Chops