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Do heritage bone-in pork chops need a brine?

I have two beautiful Red Wattle pork chops, about 1 1/4 inch thick, that I'm hoping to cook in a cast iron skillet tomorrow night. I have a little time to put them in a brine (or add flavor with a garlic/olive oil/thyme marinade, since that's what I have around). But I'm not sure they need it? I have never had this kind of chop before.


asked by LindsayC77 almost 3 years ago
6 answers 2565 views
added almost 3 years ago

Do they need to be brined? No. But they will certainly benefit from the process.

added almost 3 years ago

Thanks! I'll put it on now so they can brine overnight.

Amanda Hesser

Amanda is a co-founder of Food52.

added almost 3 years ago

No brine is necessary -- try doing one next time, when you have more time to experiment.

added almost 3 years ago

For a chop this size a quick 30 min to 2 hour brine will do wonders. I do it every week, a porkchop just speaks to me. Dissolve 1/4 cup each of sugar and kosher salt in 1cup of water. After dissolved add 3 more cups ice water, and chill the solution. I rarely do more than an hour, its a very big impact, surprisingly so.

added almost 3 years ago

I am not a fan of brining everything. It adds salt and sugar and pork is a very sweet tasting meat to begin with.

added almost 3 years ago

The sugar isn't necessary for brining, you can leave it out if you prefer. As for adding salt, that's normally a good thing. Yes, there are exceptions to that rule medically speaking, but not the way Mayor Bloomberg believes. Culinarily speaking, brining produces a more tender, more flavorful and juicier chop while reducing the damage if you happen to overcook it. (And, technically, the outermost surfaces of a pork chop are always overcooked aren't they?)