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Jun 15, 2008 04:04 PM

Brining pork chops

I bought a big package of center cut boneless pork chops (something I wont' do again). The first two I cooked very carefully, but they still came out dry as a bone -- almost inedible. They were not overcooked. So this time I plan to brine them.

Any tips, tricks or suggestions for me in making these edible by brining? I'm doing two 1" thick chops. Any recipe suggestions for them would be welcome too.

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  1. I like to do an apple cider brine. I googled and came up with this one from the NYT. I would not salt them after the brine as this recipe calls for though.

    1. we use the zuni brine.
      water, salt, sugar, bay leaves, dried chiles and juniper berries.
      we brine seriously thick chops (two inch) for three-four days, then scrub the heck out of them and cook them like a prime steak.
      judy rodgers, author of the zuni cookbook, knows her stuff. the result is moist and tender. so moist and tender that you'll wonder why you haven't been doing this all along. leftovers, even cold, are memorable.

      2 Replies
      1. re: steve h.

        3-4 days !!?!! It doesn't taste totally salty? What is the ratio of salt :: water?

        My brine's salt::water ratio is 1 cup Kosher salt :: 1 gallon water

        How does Zuni's compare?

        1. re: sweet100s

          yup, 3-4 days. not salty at all.

          the recipe goes like this:
          for 4 pork chops, 10-11 ounces each and 1-1/4 inches thick.

          aromatics (a few bay leaves, dried chiles, crushed juniper berries) crushed and simmered for maybe 10 minutes in a cup of water.

          4 additional cups of water

          6 tablespoons sugar

          3 tablespoons salt.

          use a total of 7-1/4 cups of water (same amount of salt) if you have two-inch thick, one pound pork chops like i do. larger cuts need to cure more slowly, 4-5 days.

          a couple hours before cooking, remove the chops from the brine. rub and massage the meat thoroughly while rinsing under cold water (i spend three-four minutes minimum). press dry between towels. refrigerate until 15 minutes before cooking.

          the result is outstanding.

      2. I brined my last package of center cut boneless pork chops in a kosher salt and brown sugar brine for several hours before baking them in the oven. I cannot tell you how much of a difference the brine made. The pork chops were juicy and moist, not dry at all. That was the first time I ever tried brining, and I'm sorry I did not know about it before now.
        After I washed them off, I made simple paste of garlic, evoo, black pepper, rosemary, and some lemon rind. Just rubbed this all over and baked them in the oven. So tasty!

        1 Reply
        1. re: mschow

          I realize that you made this post 4 years ago, but I just used your "paste" (although I used a rosemary infused salt as part of the paste) and then put the chops in with a seasoned Japanese (panko) bread crumb mixture that I had added sweet and regular paprika to and then lightly fried them in a bit of olive oil before putting them in my Dutch oven.

          I take the chops back out after about 15 minutes and then lay down my asparagus, putting the chops back in on top of fresh carrots and onions which went in with the chops right from the start, along with a little chicken stock and then bake them for about another 35 minutes (total of 50 minutes) at 350 degrees. If you put the asparagus in from the start they get too mushy. You might be okay with broccoli or better yet, green beans, without the staggered timing.

          The one thing I think I've finally discovered about pork chops is to simply buy a little middle pork loin with rib bones and then slice them into chops. These are (without being brined or soaked in anything like milk) always tender and juicy.

        2. I'm especially fond of the brine in "The Dean & DeLuca Cookbook." For 4 chops, combine 8 cups of water, 1/4 cup coarse salt, and 3 tablespoons sugar in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Add 3 bay leaves, 2 cloves, 1 cinnamon stick, 2 teaspoons of black peppercorns, and 1 clove of smashed garlic and simmer for 5 minutes. When brine is at room temp (I often add a baggie full of ice cubes or--sometimes--make the brine with half the amount of water and add cold water after simmering), strain over the chops and marinate 8 to 12 hours.

          1. Brining makes a world of difference, IMO. But I would not suggest brining them for more than 4-6 hours or so.