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Monday, January 7, 2013

Brined Pork Chops.....there's nothing like them!

I know I have blogged about brining before, but the effect it has on pork chops is unbelievable.  Any time I have cooked pork chops, they always seem to come out matter how I cook them!  So, for the longest time, I just avoided them!  I would revert to tenderloin or country-style spare ribs, etc... but no chops! 

I was turned on to brining around Thanksgiving time, when all the talk was about brining your bird.  And, I have to tell you, it made such a huge difference in how moist the turkey came out.  So, I decided to look up brining pork chops, and low and behold it is a tried and true practice for chops that melt in your mouth!  Well, there you go..... I went out and bought a package with high hopes!

I had bought a package of brining spices from Colonel De's that consisted of rosemary, cloves, juniper berries, and a few other spices.  If you have never brined before, follow this recipe:  
  • Scant 2 cups (15 oz.) water
  • 6 tablespoons (3 oz.) kosher salt
  • 1 small brown or white onion, sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, whole but peeled
  • 4 sprigs thyme (you could also use rosemary or sage)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 teaspoons whole black peppercorns, roughly cracked
  • 1 lemon, halved
  • 18 ice cubes (15 oz.)
  • Pork, chicken or turkey
  1. In a medium saucepan, combine water, salt, onion, garlic, thyme, bay, peppercorns and lemon. Bring mixture to a boil over high heat, stirring until the salt has dissolved. Take mixture off of the heat, cover and let steep for 10 minutes.
  2. Add ice to a large bowl. Pour over hot brine and stir until the ice has melted.
  3. I’ve depicted the brine above in a baking dish, but I’ll have to admit, this was just for aesthetics. Normally, I use a large freezer bag. Place pork chops (or chicken or turkey) into a large freezer bag. Add brine and seal tightly. Let sit for 3 hours at room temperature.
  4. Rinse pork chops under cold, running water, pat dry then set aside. Discard brine. Let pork chops rest for 1 hour before cooking or transfer to the refrigerator to use later.
I mixed some flour, onion powder, garlic powder, paprika, and pepper, and coated the chops. Now it's time to brown them....

Heat up a good, heavy fry pan with a little olive oil and butter, and brown on each side for about 5 minutes.  When you are done, pop them in a 375 degree oven for about 10-15 more minutes, just to finish them off.

I had a bag of brussel sprouts in the fridge, so I cut them up, doused them with olive oil, a minty seasoning (savory, mint, thyme, marjoram and parsley), salt and pepper, and roasted them for about 15-20 minutes, stirring every once in a while.

That, along with a batch of brown basmati rice, and you have one delicious meal!

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