Brining infuses the flavors of apple and maple syrup in pork chops or pork loin. It also helps tenderize as well as adds moisture. Depending on the cut, you will need to let the pork sit in the brine anywhere from 4 hours to 2 days, so plan ahead.
- 7 cups hot water
- 1/2 cup kosher salt
- 2 cups apple cider
- 1/2 cup maple syrup
- 2 tablespoons cracked black peppercorns
- 6 (1-1/4-inch to 1-1/2-inch thick) center-cut loin pork chops OR see Note below
- Stir the hot water and salt together until the salt is dissolved. Add the apple cider, maple syrup, and peppercorns. Cool to below 45 degrees F. in the refrigerator.
- Trim any excess external fat from the meat. Submerge the pork in the brine in a large bowl or small crock; make sure the meat stays under the surface during curing by using a heavy plate to weight it down. Refrigerate the pork in the cure.
- The chops should take 4-6 hours in the brine; the tenderloin, 6-8 hours; and the loin, 1-2 days. (Bone-in pork can take a day longer in the brine because of the bone, which gives it a larger diameter.) If marinating for a day or longer, stir the brine daily and turn the pork occasionally.
To test the flavor of brined pork, cut a small piece off the meat, pat it dry and pan-fry it. If the meat is sufficiently flavorful, remove it from the brine, let it come to room temperature and grill. If not, leave it in the brine and test again later.
You may substitute 4 pork tenderloins (1 to 1-1/4 pounds each) or 1 (4- to 6-pound) piece of boneless pork loin.
Recipe Source: by Bruce Aidells and Denis Kelly (Houghton Mifflin)
Reprinted with permission.