A Brine in Time…Saves Dinner

Grrrr! Don’t you hate it when you have this easy, quick dinner of pork chops planned, but then they end up dry as a bone? I’ve totally done this and been so disappointed that I just want to throw the whole meal in the garbage can.

Well, one thing has saved me from a complete meltdown and it’s this: a quick brine. Brining always sounds like a great idea but, seriously, who has the time on a weeknight? Usually, it involves a gazillion ingredients and a minimum of 12 hours in the fridge…sheesh!

Well, this (hopefully) will bring you out of your dinner despair. It’s a quick and easy brine that can be customized to whatever your tastes and time allow.

pork-chop-chicken-breast-brine-recipe-lola-rugulaHere’s the basic recipe:

Quick Pork Chop Brine Recipe

  • 4 cups water
  • 3 tablespoons kosher salt

Mix salt and water in a bowl and stir well, until salt has dissolved. Cover pork chops completely with brine and let sit for 1 to 3 hours. Remove from brine, pat dry and cook as usual.

What? Where you expecting something more difficult? This is seriously all you need to do to ensure your pork chops are tender. Well, alright, you still can’t cook them to death, but this will help.

I tend to add a few variations to this, depending on:

  • My time
  • My mood
  • My recipe

But here are some suggestions to add:

  • Crushed or minced garlic
  • Minced onion or shallot
  • Chopped herbs – either dry or fresh
  • Spices

Also, feel free to mix up the liquid; instead of water, add beer or stock for a little more flavor.

Keep in mind that thinner cuts of pork can sit an hour or so, but for thicker cuts, 2 to 3 hours will probably give you better results.

This is a fantastic recipe for the grill too. It won’t save you from extended over-cooking but it’s pretty forgiving if you have a tendency to leave your chops on the heat for a little longer than needed. Try this with chicken too – I think you’ll be amazed at the results.

Happy cooking!

21 thoughts on “A Brine in Time…Saves Dinner

  1. I have been brining chops for years. I’m going to try your recipe since sometimes mine goes over the top on salty. (hard to control) Thanks.

  2. Unless I know I’ve got heritage pork on my hands, I always brine chops before cooking. Otherwise, why bother? Good to let people know it isn’t as hard as they might think. Ken

  3. Difficult to comment or like recipes with meat (vegetarian). Just passing this on so you don’t think I’ve been ignoring you Lola. enjoy the week! Eddie

  4. I am going to have to try this! Recently they are selling a new pork cut at our local groceries: Pork T-bones. They are thick and very tasty and I think that I will try this brine next time I make them! Be well – ^..^

  5. OK – I have the brine going! I am going to bake them as I normally would and I am keeping my fingers crossed! I did the brine with garlic and thyme!

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