Tuesday, August 2, 2011


Seldom does a week go by without my seeing a recipe for some protein or another that is brined. I've not yet brought myself to brine my Thanksgiving turkey, but thought that I'd see what all the fuss is about by trying this recipe found in the August/September issue of Fine Cooking.

For the brine:
1 oz Kosher salt
1/4 cup bourbon
3 tbs dark brown sugar
2 tbs unsulfured molasses
2 tsp pure vanilla extract

4 bone-in pork chops (2-3 lbs total)

For the spice rub:
1 tbs sweet Hungarian paprika
1 tbs dark brown sugar
1 tbs Kosher salt
1 tbs freshly ground pepper
2 tsp dried ground sage
1 tsp ground cayenne
1 1/4 tsp dry mustard
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/8 tsp ground cinnamon

Brine the pork chops:  in a large mixing bowl, combine 2 cups warm water with the brine ingredients, stirring until dissolved. Add 1 cup ice to the bowl to quickly cool the brine. Place pork chops in a 9X9 inch baking dish and pour the brine over. They should be submerged. Cover with plastic wrap and put on a tray (in case of spillage). Refrigerate for 3 to 4 hours. Remove the chops from the brine (discard brine) and pat them dry.

Make the spice rub: combine all of the spice rub ingredients in a small bowl or jar. The rub will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 months.

To prepare:
Prepare a gas or charcoal grill for indirect cooking over medium-high heat (400-450 degrees F). Sprinkle 2-3 tbs total of the spice rub generously over all sides of the chops. Grill the chops over direct heat, flipping once, until grill marks form on both sides--about 2 minutes on each side. Once the chops are marked, move them to the indirect heat, cover, and cook until their internal temperature registers 140-145 degrees F on an instant read thermometer, 4-6 minutes more per side. Transfer chops to a serving platter, tent loosely with foil, and let rest for 5 minutes before serving.
Keeping it real, I have to say that in my opinion brining is much ado about nothing. The chops were flavorful, but I found them salty. I will use the rest of the spice rub on unbrined chops and I'm sure they will be much more to our liking. As for brining making the pork juicier, I contend that if you don't overcook your pork, it will be moist and delicious (and not too salty).


  1. All the ingredients in the brine and the rub are intriguing, especially vanilla which I would have never thought of. Oh, well, next time you'll have less work. :)

  2. I have brined the turkey and never saw what the fuss was about. I do like the ingredients listed here - they always say brining does not make the meat saltier - but I, too beg to differ.

  3. Anything with bourbon is fabulous you get a AAA on this one! :)

  4. The spice rub is interesting with the Hungarian paprika and Kosher salt. I bet this one smells so good while it's roasted.

    Philippines Outsourcing

  5. They should have told you to rinse the meat after pulling from the brine.

    I don't brine every time but I do like to when I have the time.


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