Forage

whole food ~ well made

Brined grilled pork chop recipe at lynnecurry.com.

Brining Pork Chops for Grilling with Italian Salsa Verde

Is it time to fire up your grill for something other than burgers and dogs? Thought so!

There’s a whole summer of grilling ahead, so this post is a switch up from the standard steaks to a some brined and grilled pork chops. I’m serving them with the Italian parsley-caper sauce known as salsa verde {not to be confused with this salsa verde}.

Plus, there’s two sides: sautéed chard and grilled asparagus drizzled with balsamic vinaigrette. That makes for a whole lot of green in this relaxed summery dinner.

It’s all quick to maximize your outdoor time. Just add a bottle of rosé and a few friends.

Brining Pork Chops & Other Meats

Why bother brining, anyway?

Brining adds flavor and moisture to meats. This is especially helpful for lean meats, like chicken and pork, that can dry out during cooking, especially when grilled over high heat.

I buy local pasture-raised pork that has more fats with rosy colored flesh that’s super tasting on its own. But the thing is that brining even makes this pork better! I don’t even need to salt it before grilling.

The brine delivers just enough salt to the meat’s interior along with added moisture. For anyone who wants to understand the technical aspects of brining meats, I recommend reading this post–you’ll learn a lot.

And truth be told, it’s so simple! I’m going to share a basic brine that you can use for brining chicken, pork or fish prior to grilling.

Brined grilled pork chop recipe at lynnecurry.com.
Brining pork chops is simple and fast, and you can make it your way.

A brine ratio

The basic brine contains equal parts of salt and sugar combined with water. That’s a brine!

Since few of us are dealing with large quantities of meat, I use 1 quart of cold water combined with 3 tablespoons kosher salt and 3 tablespoons brown sugar.

Then, you can customize your brine with any herbs, spices or seasonings you like. For this pork chop, I added 1 tablespoon pickling spices as a short cut because peppercorns, mustard seed and coriander are all great with pork. {I’d use this for chicken, too.)

Did I mention the whiskey? Yes, you should definitely play around with your brine!

If you browse around, you’re going to find countless brine ratios and variations, many with highfalutin claims. But the truth is, there are lots of ways to brine, some with more salt and others with no sugar or more.

It’s a matter of giving it a try and figuring out what you like.

How long to brine

Again, a brine is so customizable. You can brine small cuts in less than an hour. A good rule of thumb is that smaller cuts of meat need less time, while whole roasts, like a pork shoulder or turkey can be brined for several days.

A lot of people wonder about over-brining, which could make the meat mushy since brining changes the structures of the meat proteins. However, it isn’t very likely, since it takes a lot time for that brine to penetrate into the meat.

Here are some trustworthy brining time guidelines to follow from Cook’s Illustrated.

Brined grilled pork chop recipe at lynnecurry.com.
A summer dinner of grilled pork chops with Italian salsa verde, sauteed chard and grilled asparagus.

Or skip the wet brine and dry brine

Yes, you don’t need to submerge your pork chops into a wet brine. Instead, you can make a dry mixture of the salt, sugar and optionally ground spices and rub it directly on the meat, covering it generously.

This works like a rub. Use about 1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon of the seasoning mixture per chop {don’t forget the fat and edges}, and you’ll have some leftover that you can store in an airtight container for next time.

It starts working in an hour. It’s even better if you put the chops on a rack in the refrigerator for 4-8 hours. Again, for those who want to get technical on this, here’s a good read all about how dry rubs work.

The point is: built-in seasoning that leads to better-tasting meats with just a little effort?

Worth it? I think so!

Grilling Pork Chops

Then, you get to spend the rest of the cooking time outside at your grill. Never grilled pork chops before?

No worries. It’s no harder than cooking a burger and easier than chicken.

All you need is a hot grill–any type will do. The recipe will walk you through it. Let’s go!

What’s your favorite grilling technique? Let me know what you’re making in the comments below or tag a photo #lynnesforage on Instagram or Facebook.

Subscribe

and become a forager

Brined & Grilled Pork Chops with Italian Salsa Verde

For something different for summertime, this recipe is a guide to brining pork chops in advance of grilling. This step is optional but produces great results. The piquant sauce, Italian salsa verde, is a puree of parsley and caper. It's another uncooked green sauce that's great with all types of grilled meats and vegetables.

Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Brining time 1 hour
Total Time 20 minutes
Author Lynne Curry

Ingredients

For the brine:

  • 3 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon pickling spice
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 tablespoons whiskey optional
  • 4 1-inch thick pork chops, bone in pastured

For the salsa verde:

  • 1 bunch Italian parsley, stemmed (about 2 cups)
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 tablespoons capers
  • 2 anchovies, rinsed optional
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • pinch fine sea salt
  • black pepper

Instructions

To brine the pork:

  1. To make the brine, dissolve the salt and sugar in 1 cup hot water in a 2-quart, or larger, container. Add the pickling spices, bay leaves and the whiskey, if using, and let steep for about 10 minutes. Add ice cubes and enough water to make 1 quart cold brine (40 degrees F or below).

  2. Submerge the pork into the brine for about 1 hour at room temperature. Or, you can brine the pork chops for up to 4 hours in the refrigerator. Rinse them and pat them dry before grilling.

To make the salsa verde:

  1. While the pork is brining, pulse the parsley, garlic, capers, anchovies (if using) and lemon juice in the a food processor. Scrape down the bowl and replace the top. 

  2. With the machine running, add the olive oil in a steady stream to make a thick puree. Taste for seasoning, adding a pinch of salt and pepper to suit your taste. Transfer to a serving bowl.

To grill the pork:

  1. Prepare a charcoal or gas grill for high heat (425° to 475°F), scrape the grate clean, and oil it lightly.

  2. Grill the pork chops over the hottest area of the grill for 4 1/2 to 5 minutes per side or until an instant-read thermometer registers 140 degrees F). Transfer them to a cutting board to finish cooking and rest for about 10 minutes.

  3. These pork chops can feed from 4 (1 chop per person on each plate) to 8 people (boned and sliced and serve on a platter). Either way, spoon a dollop of the salsa verde onto the meat and pass the bowl around the table.

share your thoughts

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *