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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.

Thanks!

asked by LindsayC77 over 2 years ago
6 answers 2317 views
A9f88177-5a41-4b63-8669-9e72eb277c1a--waffle3
added over 2 years ago


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

273b86b9-dc4c-4479-bbeb-f5dca0deab76--lindsay_tries_the_trockenbeeren
added over 2 years ago

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

397bc6d3-46e8-4d02-8a39-ce4a087eb481--2015-0609_amanda-portrait-135
Amanda Hesser

Amanda is a co-founder of Food52.

added over 2 years ago

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

23b88974-7a89-4ef5-a567-d442bb75da04--avatar
added over 2 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.

1d0d675a-5598-44a5-865e-32730d2a1273--186003_1004761561_1198459_n
added over 2 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.

A9f88177-5a41-4b63-8669-9e72eb277c1a--waffle3
added over 2 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?)