How do you achieve a piece of moist, tender, flavorful pork chop that you’ll find in upscale restaurants and eateries? Besides having good quality cut meat, the secret is to brine it.
What is brining? For seasoned home cooks and food aficionados, this term should be no stranger to you. Brining is the process of soaking your meat in a salt and sugar seasoned solution between 4 to 12 hours so that it’ll absorb the liquid and makes the meat juicier, tender and flavorful. The best part is, after removing them from the brine, you could keep them in the refrigerator for several days before cooking. (Attention! They’ll take on the texture and flavor of ham if left to brine for more than 12 hours).
This brining method works well for pork roast, chicken and turkey too! If you really want to get to the bottom of the science behind brining, check out this site.
You could most definitely serve it without any sauce but I like to dress it up with some caramelized onion and a sticky honey mustard glaze.
4 pork chops (preferably bone-in) – approx. 1-inch thickness
½ cup (100 g) kosher salt (if using table salt, reduce amount by half)
¼ cup (60 g) brown sugar
¼ cup (60 ml) maple syrup (substitute with honey or brown sugar if unavailable)
6 cloves garlic – smashed
2 cups (500 ml) water
3 cups (750 ml) ice water
1 tbsp coriander seeds
1 tbsp peppercorn
2 bay leaves
Honey Mustard Sauce:
1 large yellow / red onion – sliced
2 tbsp honey
1 tbsp mustard
1 cup (250 ml) white wine
Recipe source: Epicurious (with modifications)
In a non-reactive pot (stainless steel is fine), add in seasoning and 2 cups of water and bring to boil.
Transfer liquid into a large container or bag and add in 3 cups ice water. The temperature of the liquid should be at room temperature or cold.
Add in pork chops and make sure they are full submerged.
Refrigerate for at least 4 hours and up to 12 hours.
30 mins before cooking, drain out the brining liquid and pat dry the chops with some paper towel. Allow the chops to come to room temperature before grilling.
Heat your skillet or grill pan. Brush some oil on each side of the chops and season with black pepper. (No salt required).
Place the chops on the hot grill or pan and sear for about 1&1/2 min on each side.
Reduce the heat to medium and cook for another 2 mins or until internal temperature reaches 63°C/145°F (use an instant read thermometer to check).
Remove from pan and let it rest for 5 mins before serving.
Glaze the chops with a honey mustard sauce (please see below) or your favorite meat gravy.
Honey Mustard Sauce:
In the same pan, saute the sliced onions until slight browned.
Add in white wine, honey and mustard and bring to boil on high heat.
Keep the heat at high, reduce the sauce until thickened. Pour over the chops and serve.