Please Pass the Recipe

from one generation to the next

Why Brine Pork Chops?

succulent brined pork cutlet

succulent brined pork cutlet

“to brine or not to brine that is the question…”

Blogging about food has opened my eyes to a wide divergence of tastes and ideas about food. Cultural influences are overt, personal tastes less so.  Being part of an embracing Blogger community has opened the way to a more detailed scrutiny of food culture than travel would ever allow and it’s offered me a much more varied view than my regular social circle.

I’ve long been intrigued by recipes of American origin that advocated the brining of poultry before roasting although I confess I’ve never tried it myself. I remain convinced that a free range ethically raised bird cooked with care will always be moist and tender, but pork, that’s a different matter.

I’d all but given up cooking and eating pork chops. Because of the lack of fat marbling in the muscle structure of the loin, it errs toward dryness and that diminishes my enjoyment. After eating an amazingly succulent pork cutlet in a pub in Brisbane’s burbs a while ago  I trialled a pre cook brine bath for pork chops and it made an incredible difference.

It’s hard to describe exactly how a pan fried or grilled, thick cut, lean portion of pork usually sweet and tasty but a little dry can become incredibly juicy simply by immersing it in a bowl of salted water for a few hours, but in a nutshell, it’s about osmosis.

The brine needs to be a little saltier than the meat’s natural state so that it’s absorbed, forcing moisture around the muscle fibres. The salts will then change the structure of the proteins resulting in beautiful moist and tender meat. A  low concentration of salt will make a positive change, but if you use too much it will make your meat tough.

When I began experimenting with brining pork chops I used a simple salt solution with no added aromatics, then I began to I play around with adding cloves, bayleaf, allspice, juniper, peppercorns and fresh herbs, I even tried a brine solution of coffee.

There is nothing sophisticated in this process, but it elevates the humble pork chop to a sweet and juicy finger licking meal.

My Basic Everyday Brining Solution

250mls boiling water

4 tablespoons sea salt flakes

750mls iced water

2 boneless, thick cut mid loin pork cutlets

Dissolve the salt in the boiling water then make the volume up to 1 litre with iced water or even ice cubes.

Once the brine is cold, add the chops and allow to soak for a period of 1/2 hr or up to 4 hours in the refrigerator.

Drain the meat,  pat the meat dry with paper towels and proceed with your recipe.

About ladyredspecs

I live in sunny Brisbane, Australia. My love of good food drives me as a cook, a reader, a traveller, an artist and but mostly as an eater. I cooked professionally for many years but have no formal training. Simply guided by a love of eating good food, respect for ingredients and an abhorrence of artificial additives, I cook instinctively applying the technical know how acquired by experience. I hope you enjoy what I share Sandra AKA ladyredspecs

21 comments on “Why Brine Pork Chops?

  1. Glenda
    April 23, 2017

    Hi Sandra. I have never tried it before either but I will now. Thanks for the info.

    Like

  2. Lisa @ cheergerm
    April 23, 2017

    I am definitely going to try brining pork loin next time too. Great informative post!

    Like

  3. Debi @ My Kitchen Witch
    April 22, 2017

    You have intrigued me now. What was the coffee brine like? I also agree that pork chops tend to be dry and your solution (both meanings!) is right. I think that they tend to brine turkey in the US since it is also a dry meat – particularly the breast meat. I can see my future includes experimenting with brine!

    Like

    • ladyredspecs
      April 22, 2017

      Ok, although the coffee seemed a bit pointless in the end. I wanted it to be much more than it was. The difference the brine makes to pork chops is amazing, not a step I will skip in the future

      Like

  4. Tracey O'Brien
    April 21, 2017

    What a great post – so interesting. I’ve never brined a pork chop before! Very keen to give it a go now.

    Like

  5. Eha
    April 21, 2017

    A worthwhile lesson from both you and Stefan . . . trying to keep my salt intake down have never attempted the methodology about which I have read from a number of sources – well, I use most of my pork in Asian dishes but when next serving pork chops shall surely try! Am glad for Stefan’s maths as I would not have been as careful about the amount of salt: this makes a lot of sense 🙂 !

    Like

    • ladyredspecs
      April 21, 2017

      Thanks Eha, I’d all but given up on pork chops, but they are so succulent when brined first they are like different beast.

      Like

  6. StefanGourmet
    April 21, 2017

    PS dry salting will give you a similar result as using a brine, without diluting the pork’s natural juices

    Liked by 1 person

  7. StefanGourmet
    April 21, 2017

    For accurate results I’d calculate the salt for an equilibrium brine and weigh the salt. For instance: 500 grams pork plus 1 litre water = 1500 grams. If you put in 15 grams of salt, the initial salt concentration in the brine will be 1.5%. The salt will diffuse into the pork, until both pork and brine are 1% salt. Then the diffusion will stop by itself. It doesn’t matter if you leave the pork in the brine for a longer time. If you put more salt in the brine than the equilibrium amount, you need to take the pork out before it becomes too salty.

    Like

  8. katechiconi
    April 21, 2017

    I’m a convert to the point that I find turkey inedible without brining. It follows that pork would benefit! I reckon loin fillet would be improved by this treatment too, as it can be a little dry due to lack of natural fat.

    Like

    • ladyredspecs
      April 21, 2017

      The consensus seems to be that it worth brining turkey, add pork loin to the list, it can be consistently succulent too

      Like

  9. Beck @ Goldenpudding
    April 20, 2017

    I used to wonder about brining too Sandra, but have now brined our Xmas turkey the last two years and am a complete convert 🙂 I haven’t tried other meat though, but I have to say that pork looks fabulous!

    Like

  10. marcellinaincucina
    April 20, 2017

    I have never used a brine but have been reading about it’s advantages. It appears that almost any meat could use this treatment. What a great idea. I will definitely try this!

    Like

  11. Linda Duffin
    April 20, 2017

    Interesting, it’s never occurred to me to brine pork chops but I can see it working well. We brined our turkey at Christmas and even though it was a lovely, free range bird, it did make a difference. It made the meat firmer, while still tender, and easier to carve in elegant slices. Lx

    Like

    • ladyredspecs
      April 21, 2017

      It seems the general consensus is that turkey benefits from a brine bath too, I’ll have to try it out. I’m amazed by the difference it makes to the pork loin cutlets

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Information

This entry was posted on April 20, 2017 by in Cooking, FODMAP diet, Food, Gluten Free, Main Meals, Pork and veal, recipes and tagged , , , .

Navigation

%d bloggers like this: