Pork is one of the best meats to brine because brine helps pork stay juicy. Overcooking pork is perhaps the main way people err when they prepare it; brining allows a little leeway when cooking the pork. It’s also a way to infuse the meat with flavors—here shallot, lemon, pepper, and sage.
The following brine can be increased or decreased if you want to brine more or fewer chops. Just make sure that the salt level remains at 5 percent. This brine will also work for a boneless pork loin; increase the brining time to 16 to 24 hours. To brine a tenderloin, leave the loin in the brine for about 8 hours.
- 1 1/2 ounces kosher salt, in 30 ounces of water
- 1 large shallot, sliced
- 10 cloves garlic, smashed with the flat side of the knife
- 1 lemon, halved
- 1 packed tablespoon sage leaves, fresh
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 tablespoon black peppercorns, cracked in a mortar with pestle, or on a cutting board with the bottom of a heavy pan
- 4 pork chops, bone-in, about 8 ounces each
To make the brine:
- In a medium saucepan over high heat, combine the salt water, shallot, garlic, lemon, sage, bay leaves, and peppercorns, and bring to a simmer.
- Remove from the heat and allow the brine to come to room temperature.
- Refrigerate the brine uncovered until cold.
- Submerge the pork chops in the brine and refrigerate for 6 to 8 hours.
- Remove the chops from the brine, discarding the brine. Rinse the chops and pat dry with paper towels.
Let them sit at room temperature for about 1 hour before you cook them. They can be sautéed, breaded and panfried, pan-roasted, or grilled/barbecued. I think they’re best panfried.