Brining bone-in pork chops is my new thing. If you want your chops to be crazy juicy and flavorful, try my recently discovered method of preparation. Oh, and if you’re that experienced brother or sister snickering because you’ve had this in your back pocket for years, stand down. This post is not for you. Go read Bon Appétit.
For years, I’ve prepared pork chops in an identical way. I’ve sprinkled them with salt, pepper, olive oil and a dash of garlic powder, then onto the grill. I’ve always had moderate levels of success, so I never felt the need to venture into fresh territory. Now, I’ve discovered what I was missing. Before today, I had never experimented with brining a protein cut. Let’s start with a clear explanation of brine. From stellaculinary.com:
In its simplest form, brine is a salt and water solution that food products, most commonly meats, are soaked in for a given period of time to improve the product’s overall quality. When food is brined correctly, the process yields three major benefits:
Textural improvement, especially when brining proteins.
Brines can and will enhance overall flavor. Not only does the salt contained within a brine help to season the food product (assuming the brine is applied correctly), but brines also commonly contain secondary flavor profiles such as herbs, spices and aromatics, that are chosen specifically to enhance the overall flavor of the food product being brined.
By far the biggest reason food is brined, and that’s moisture retention. Especially when it comes to cooking lean proteins such as chicken breast, pork tenderloin and even fish, brining allows proteins to retain more moisture throughout the cooking process resulting in a moister finished product.
That moisture was especially noticeable in my final product.
Part of the reason I never gave brining a shot is because I imagined it to be a complicated, time-consuming process. I had visions of needing to start my food prep the night before, and I wanted no part of that. The opposite was true for my quick jaunt, and for smaller cuts, brining can be effective in relatively short periods of time. From thekitchn.com:
Brines work by breaking down some of the muscle tissue and helping the meat to draw in moisture. On large cuts like Faith’s corned beef, this process can take several hours or days. But on small cuts, even a short brine while you prepare the rest of the meal will improve the flavor and tenderness of the meat!
Obviously, brining is but a single step on the path to badass pork chops. Here’s what worked for me:
Step 1: Brine your bone-in pork chops. Add of 1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) salt to 1 quart of water. Stir well. Throw your chops in a dish and completely submerge in the salt water mixture. Sprinkle rosemary and black peppercorns in the water. Let sit for 30 minutes.
Step 2: Remove from water, pat dry and season. I used olive oil, salt and pepper.
Step 3: Sear your chops in a screaming hot, oven safe skillet for 3 minutes on one side.
Step 4: Flip your chops. Then throw the skillet in a preheated, 400 degree oven for 7-9 minutes.
Step 6: Serve and enjoy.
A few days back, we discussed occasions to celebrate. Successfully executed pork chops are a better reason for a party hat than ½ the holidays on the calendar.