Pork Chop Brine – This easy pork chop brine recipe is the easiest way to add flavor and to get your next pork chops tender and juicy. By using a few kitchen staples, you’ll quickly find out that brining provides the most bang for your buck when it comes to time spent and juiciness experienced.
The Best Pork Chop Brine
There’s nothing quite like a perfectly flavored, savory, and tender piece of meat. And one of our favorite ways to quickly achieve all three is with this simple brine for pork chops. Whether you plan to baked, pan-fry, grill or smoke your pork chops, this brine recipe guarantees juiciness through and through with minimal effort, making it a perfect method to incorporate into your busy weeknight meal prep.
What You Will Need
- pork chops – A versatile, lean, and mild protein that easily absorbs flavors.
- water – The base of this simple but tasty brine.
- kosher salt – This is the magic ingredient, which allows for the liquid to be absorbed into the meat.
- onion – Its complex flavors ranging from spicy to sweet, add texture and depth.
- peppercorns – The perfect pairing to any savory recipe, with woody and warm flavors.
- apple – The subtle sweetness levels out the savory flavors, giving this brine a robust flavor profile.
- fresh thyme, rosemary, & bay leaf – Essential herbs to bring out notes of citrus, pepper, and mint throughout.
What is a Pork Chop Brine
A pork chop brine is a combination of salt and water along with aromatics and citrus. As the pork sits in the brine it soaks up extra moisture and flavor.
Why Should I Brine My Pork Chops
After sitting in the brine the pork chops will be extra juicy and packed with flavor. It is a great way to elevate any pork chop recipe!
What Kind of Pork Chop Should I Use
We recommend approximately 1 inch thick pork chops that are bone-in. You can definitely use boneless pork chops if you want though and if you thinner or thicker pork chops just adjust the cook time accordingly.
How Long To Brine Pork Chops
After some trial and error, we have found 30-45 minutes to be the minimum and 2 hours to be the maximum amount of time to yield the best tasting pork chops. Brining for too long can result in mushy meat and brining for too short of time doesn’t allow enough time for the liquid to absorb thoroughly.
Pork Chop Marinade Vs. Pork Chop Brine
Brining is an effective and efficient way to add juiciness to lean proteins like pork or poultry, which easily absorb moisture and flavors from a quality brine. Marinades on the other hand are primarily about flavor and don’t guarantee the same type of juiciness that you can expect from a brine. If you want to get adventurous with flavor, check out our four easy pork chop marinades.
Read more: we also have a great Pork Chop Seasoning that you should checkout!
Dry Brine vs. Wet Brine
A wet brine (like we are using here) consists of a submerging the meat in a water/salt mixture. A dry brine consists of rubbing salt and herbs directly into the meat and letting it refrigerate for a period of time.
How To Brine Pork Chops
Prep and measure your ingredients and set to the side.
Add one cup of water and salt to a small sauce pan, bring to medium heat, and stir to dissolve the salt. Once the salt is dissolved, remove from heat and let cool completely.
Meanwhile, place pork chops on a plate and pat dry with a clean paper towel. If you are using a thicker pork chop feel free to score the fat so the pork chops don’t start curving or buckling during the the cooking process. Next, place pork chops in a food safe container.
Pour the cooled salt mixture over the pork chops.
Next, add the remaining ingredients into the same container (onion, peppercorns, apple, thyme, rosemary and bay leaf). Stir to fully combine and to ensure pork chops are fully submerged. Cover and place in refrigerator for a minimum of 30-45 minutes or up to 2 hours. After brining, remove the pork chops, pat dry, and cook as you’d like. Lastly, discard the brine.
Can I Brine My Pork Chops Too Long
Yes, if you brine your pork chops too long they can end up a little mushy – we have found the 30 minutes to 2 hours works great!
Should I Season My Pork Chops After Brining
You do not have to season your pork chops after brining, but you certainly can! Just remember that the pork will retain some of the saltiness from the brine so maybe adjust your seasoning accordingly (we have Notes on this in the recipe card).
How to Cook Pork Chops After Brining
- Smoked: we love smoking our pork chops at 225 degrees F. for approximately an hour and then right before they are fully cooked – sear on both sides (on a grill or cast iron skillet) – find our Smoked Pork Chop recipe here!
- Grilled: grilling pork chops on high heat for 10-13 minutes – check out our Grilled Pork Chop recipe here!
- Baked: place on a baking sheet and bake at 425 degrees F. for approximately 15 minutes – check out our Baked Pork Chop recipe here!
- Pan-Fried: sear in a cast iron skillet and then keep cooking (at a lower heat) for about 13 minutes – check out our Cast Iron Pork Chops (Pan Fried) recipe here!
If you plan on making your brine ahead of time to use at a later date, store in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. Any longer and the flavors will start to fade. Do not keep any leftover brine after it’s been used, as leftover meat particles will contaminate it for future use.
Pork Chop Side Dishes
Because pork is such a mild protein, it pairs with a handful of tasty side dishes. If you’re going for those cozy meal vibes, add our sweet apple cinnamon yam bake to the menu or an easy oven baked potato for a more classic route. For a pop of color and crunchiness, add a salad to the table like this easy strawberry spinach salad.
Made this recipe and loved it?! We would love it if you would take a minute and leave a star rating and review – it is also helpful if you made any substitutions or changes to the recipe to share that as well. THANK YOU!
Pork Chop Brine Recipe – learn how to brine pork chops with this easy pork chop brine recipe!! Pork chops turn out JUICY and delicious!
- 4 1-inch thick pork chops
- 4 cups water
- 1/4 cup kosher salt
- 2–3 slices onion
- 5–6 whole peppercorns
- 1 apple, sliced
- 2–3 sprigs fresh thyme
- 1–2 sprigs fresh rosemary
- 1 bay leaf
- Take a small saucepan and add 1 cup water and salt (you will use the rest of the water later).
- Place on stovetop and bring to medium heat. Stir until the salt has dissolved (the water shouldn’t need to get TOO warm to do accomplish this). Remove from heat and let cool completely.
- Meanwhile, place pork chops on a plate and pat dry with a clean paper towel. If you are using a thicker pork chop feel free to score the fat so the pork chops don’t start curving or buckling during the the cooking process.
- Place the pork chops in a food-safe container (a reusable silicone bag, casserole dish or mixing bowl will work).
- Pour the cooled salt mixture over the pork chops and then add the remaining ingredients into the same container (remaining water, onion, peppercorns, apple, thyme, rosemary and bay leaf). Stir to fully combine and to ensure pork chops are fully submerged.
- Cover and place in refrigerator for a minimum of 30-45 minutes or up to 2 hours.
- Remove and pat dry. Discard the brine.
- Feel free to season as you wish (there will be residual salt from the brine so you might want to consider reducing any salt in your seasonings) and then cook your favorite way (we love baked, grilled or smoked).
- Mix it up: feel free to use different herbs depending upon what you have on hand.
- Bone-in or boneless: feel free to use boneless or bone in pork chops!
- Ways to cook pork chops after brining: there are so many ways to cook your pork chops after brining, but we love: baked, grilled, smoked and pan-fried!
Keywords: pork chop brine recipe