Perfectly cooked pork chop, brined overnight and grilled to juicy perfection.
I don’t cook pork often, but if I do, I’m coming correct!
My Uncle Slick was slick wit it and made the best pork chops. His were fried and were legendary as you’ve probably heard me write about a few times. As a kid pork chops were on the menu quite a bit. My uncle bubba ran a farm with many pigs, plus chops were pretty cheap way to feed a large family, which we were.
Pork chops though simple to cook can be extremely easy to eff up. I remember visiting New York and going to one of the new and better restaurants there. They had pork chop on the menu saw I tried it, figuring it was a safe call with high upside. Boy was I wrong. My jaws got a Billy Blanks style workout. I felt like I was eating jawbreaker candy and the jaw cramps I endured all night validate the fact.
So to help you avoid such a fate, I introduce you to the brined pork chops.
What is a brine?
A brine is a great way to ensure a moist and juicy meat such as pork chops. At its core, a brine is just a liquid marinades with a high salt content. Since meat contains salt, when it is submerged in a liquid with a higher salt content, the liquid is absorbed into the meat. The meat retains the moisture, helping to yield juicy results on the grill. If you were paying attention during science class you may know this process as ‘osmosis.’ Not to be too technical but osmosis is the spontaneous passage of water or other solvents through a semipermeable membrane. Think about a dehydrated fruit like raisin that sits in water and then gets puffed.
What Ingredients Should I Include for Brined Pork Chops?
So brining adds more liquid to make it juicy. However, in addition to high salt content, brines contain other ingredients that help with flavor. The brine I used for this pork chop recipe includes garlic, basil, brown sugar, and lemon juice. The flavors are subtle but ever-present adding plenty flavor complexity.
What kind of chop should I use for this recipe?
Surprisingly there are a few different cut of pork chops – shoulder chop, loin chop, rib chop. For this brined pork chops recipe you’ll want to use the rib chop also known as center-cut, end cut, or rib pork chop. Rib chops should have a bone running along one side and preferably a layer of fat on the outside. These work well for grilling because though they are very tender, they have a bit more fat for milder flavor than other chops.
How do you season pork chops?
Brining is such an effective seasoning agent and combined with the natural flavor in a bone in pork chop you don’t really need much else. A simple salt and pepper rub is sufficient for flavoring the chops especially if you’re grilling the chops. The thing with brines is you can keep them simple. The key is to allow or enough time for the osmosis to occur.
Pork chop cooking tips
- Choose a good cut – bone-in with marbling
- Let chops reach room temperature before cooking
- Use a meat thermometer to test for doneness. Undercooked pork is just as bad as overcooked. Insert an instant-read thermometer into the thickest part of the chop. Once it reads 135 degrees remove the chop from the heat and let rest. It will continue cooking in rest mode and reach the desired 140-145 degrees. If you don’t have a thermometer there ain’t no harm in cutting the chop open and using the eye test.
- Adjust your cook time depending on thickness of the chops and whether a bone is present. Thinner chops will obviously take less time
- Let chops rest 5-10 minutes after cooking.
- Alternatively, chops can be grilled on stovetop or broiled in the oven. To broil, set a wire rack inside a baking sheet and pre-heat oven to 450 degrees. Pan fry the chops in a skillet over med-high heat for 3 minutes per side and then finish in the oven for 6 minutes.
- I use the same brine/recipe for veal chops and grilled chicken thighs (bone-in)
- Pair these chops with briny greens and Puerto Rican mashed root vegetables.
What to eat with pork chops?
Pork chops can be comforting heavy, so I tend to keep my sides pretty light. Sauteed spinach or greens like chard, kale, or turnips work great. I might even work a slaw in.
making brined pork chops
If you make this super quick and delicious pork chops recipe please come back and leave me a comment below with your feedback. Definitely take a photo of the dish and be sure to tag #foodfidelity so that I can see them.
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For the Pork Chops
- 2 bone-in pork rib chops
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1 tsp black pepper
For the brine
- 1/4 cup kosher salt
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1 tbsp black pepper
- 2-3 basil leaves
- 4 garlic cloves
- 4 cups water
- 1 lemon juiced
Make the brine
- Add kosher salt, brown sugar,black pepper, basil, garlic, water, and lemon juice to a bowl. Mix in bowl until sugar and salt dissolve
Make the pork chops
- Cover chops with the brine and refrigerate for 1-8 hours.
- Remove chops from brine. Wash well then dry fully. Season with salt and pepper and let reach room temperature.
- Prep grill by oiling the grates with an oil dampened napkin. Pre-heat grill to high heat and grill pork chops 6 minutes per side.
- Remove and let rest for at least 5 minutes before serving.