This is my favorite simple brine to use. You can brine your chops for as little as 2 hours and as many as 12.
Helpful tools for this recipe:
- OXO Measuring Cups
- Five Two Essential Saucepan
- Food52 x Staub Grill Pan
Test Kitchen Notes
No one likes a dry pork chop. This simple and satisfying brine recipe will come to the rescue each and every time. There's a little planning ahead, as the chops need to marinate overnight, but that makes cooking dinner the next day a breeze with super-minimal cleanup. This brine makes enough for 2 pork chops, but you can obviously double or triple or quadruple the recipe depending on how many of them you plan to serve. There are no fancy ingredients required for this brine—all you need is salt, brown or granulated sugar, thyme sprigs, garlic cloves, a chile (if you want a little bit of a kick, you could also use red pepper flakes), and ice cubes. You do need to cook the ingredients for the brine so it reduces a little bit and for the sugar and salt to dissolve.
Keep in mind that the type of salt you use is important here. With ⅓ cup of salt, if you use a finer grain, your brine could turn out way too salty. We always recommend using Diamond Crystal kosher salt, and also keep in mind that Morton is a finer grain as well. If you're not sure, just start with a couple of tablespoons, taste as you go, and work your way up from there. Trust your instincts as well when you're cooking the pork chops in terms of seasoning. And for the best results, be sure to buy well-raised pork, as in pork that has been raised in a pasture. —The Editors
- Prep time 8 hours 10 minutes
- Cook time 15 minutes
- makes Enough for 2 chops
brown sugar (granulated sugar will work fine, too)
chile de árbol (optional)
pork chops, 1 inch-thick
- In a large saucepan over medium heat, cook the water, brown sugar, salt, chile, if using, garlic, peppercorns, and thyme, stirring occasionally, until the salt and sugar dissolve. Remove from the heat and stir in the ice cubes.
- Once the brine is totally cool, transfer to a zip-top bag. Add the pork chops and turn to coat. Let brine in the refrigerator overnight (about 8 hours).
- Before cooking, pat the pork chops dry and let come to room temperature. Cook or grill as desired.