The Best Pork Chop Marinade
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The BEST Pork Chop Marinade is a quick and easy marinade made with pantry staples! It will make your pork chops extra juicy, full of flavor and delicious. This pork marinade works great if you are grilling outside or if you are inside using a grill pan!
This post is sponsored by the Iowa Pork Producers Association. All text and opinions are my own.
Theres nothing like firing up the grill on a summer evening and throwing some pork chops on it along with my favorite Grilled Asparagus and Grilled Baked Potatoes! It is an entire meal all prepared on the grill with minimal clean up in the kitchen. This is something I can get behind!
My eyes light up when my hubs says hes going to make pork chops on the grill with this marinade because its the best marinade ever!
Imagine biting into a tender, juicy and delicious pork chop thats been marinaded for an amazing flavor.
Got ya, didnt I?
You know what else I can get behind? Supporting my favorite farmers! Especially my friends over in Iowa that produce amazing pork.
As many of you know, I grew up on a family farm and my family still owns and operates it today. We have moved on from raising livestock, but we used to raise pork, sheep and cattle. Today the farm is ran as a grain farm.
Thats why Im excited to share with you a little about the Iowa Pork Producers today!
Family farms are the key to pork production across Iowa.
Brining Pork Chops For Frying
For thick-cut, bone-in pork chops, fry in olive oil in a cast iron skillet for about 7-8 minutes per side. They should develop a really nice crust and color on both sides and reach an internal temperature of 145°F. Smaller pork chops will cook faster, so using an instant-read thermometer is the best way to know when your meat is done.
Should You Brine Pork Chops
As we mentioned, pork chops are relatively small when compared to a 12-pound turkey or a 9-pound pork shoulder. So is the brining process really worth it?
We think so. The meat will still benefit from the moisture retention that the brine provides. Whats more, pork chops are cut from the loin, which is a naturally lean primal located along the animals back. As such, the chops dont have a lot of flavor on their own, so theyre a great candidate for brining.
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What Type Of Pork Chops Should Be Brined
All types of pork chops can benefit from a brine, but not allmust bebrined.
ALWAYS BRINE: pork loin chops and cutlets, rib chops, ham steaks, sirloin chops regardless of how thick and whether bone-in or boneless. Basically any pork chop that contains lean meat and has little or no fat, or fat only near the periphery.
BRINE IF YOU CAN: pork shoulder chops, collar pork chops and particularly fatty, bone-in ribeye pork chops. These cuts are naturally endowed with fat marbling that melts and moistens the meat as it cooks. Depending on the method of preparation you have in mind for them you can skip the brining.
However, we recommend that you use a brine if you have the time and especially if you will be baking or smoking these cuts.
What Does Brine Mean
The modern day meaning of the verb to brine is to soak a food in a saline solution in order to increase its moisture content, improve its texture and flavor it before cooking.
The place of origin of the practice is said to be Scandinavia where in the past sea water was used to preserve meats.
At its most basic, a brine is a saline solution with 3 to 6 % salt by weight. Sugar is frequently added to brines to balance the saltiness and uplift the overall flavor.
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Ingredients For Pork Chop Brine Recipe
This is just a quick overview of the simple ingredients that you’ll need for the best pork chop brine recipe. As always, specific measurements and step-by-step instructions are included in the printable recipe box at the bottom of the post.
- Water: the liquid base of the brine.
- Kosher salt: do not use table salt, which will make the brine much too salty.
- Brown sugar: for a hint of sweetness that balances the salty brine, which also helps the outside of the pork chops brown.
- Black pepper: or use whole peppercorns if you’ve got them. Feel free to add other spices, if you like, such as cayenne , juniper berries, or whole cloves.
- Fresh rosemary and fresh thyme: you can’t beat the bright flavor of fresh herbs! Feel free to throw in others as well, such as parsley, basil, or oregano.
- Garlic: no need to mince the cloves — just smash them with the side of a big knife and remove the peels.
- Bay leaf: for a hint of more complex, savory flavor in the background.
Ingredients For The Brine:
- ½ cup of salt
- ½ cup of brown sugar
- 2 Bone in Pork Chops
- ½ T whole peppercorns
- 1 cup of boiling hot microwaved apple cider vinegar
- ½ lb of ice cubes
Alton Brown usually has some incredible ideas when it comes to cooking so I decided to search for an Alton Brown pork chop brine.
I found a quick and easy two hour mustard brine that he uses for his stuffed pork chop recipe.
I didnt want to stuff the chops this time so I just snagged his brine to soften up the pork and to provide some flavor.
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Can Pork Chops Be A Little Pink Inside
A Little Pink Is OK: USDA Revises Cooking Temperature For Pork : The Two-Way The U.S. Department of Agriculture lowered the recommended cooking temperature of pork to 145 degrees Fahrenheit. That, it says, may leave some pork looking pink, but the meat is still safe to eat.
How Does A Pork Brine Work
When pork is completely submerged into a brine the immersion has two main effects.
First, the salt that makes its way into the meat through diffusion. It partially dissolves the proteins supporting the muscle filaments and even the filaments themselves. It also shortens them. The result is meat that is a bit more tender to the bite once cooked.
Second, the loosening of the meats structure allows it to absorb and hold more of the brine. A brined pork chop can increase its weight by up to 10 % due to liquid absorption. When subjected to heat the meat can lose almost 20 % of its moisture, but this is partially offset by the absorbed brine. In the end pork chops finish juicier than if not brined.
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How To Brine Pork Chops With Brown Sugar
The rich sweetness of brown sugar takes center stage in this marinade recipe. For this reason, we would recommend browning these chops on the stovetop, then transferring them to the oven. Otherwise, the sugar might burn. If you have your heart set on grilling, consider scaling back on the amount of sugar you use.
Easy Grilled Pork Chops
It only takes a few minutes of grilling over high heat on each side of thin pork chops for them to get maximum flavor and for them to be perfectly cooked.
What are thin pork chops? They’re typically about 1/4-inch thick, boneless or bone-in. Pork labeled as cutlets are also known as thin pork chops – look for ones cut from the tenderloin which will be the least tough.
1. Marinate the Pork Chops
Season pork chops and marinate for 1 hour at room temperature.
2. Prepare a Grill for Medium Heat
Preheat a clean gas or charcoal grill for medium heat. You can also use a grill pan on the stove. If youre using a grill pan, cook the pork chops in batches, as there needs to be at least one inch between each chop so that the chops dont steam.
3. Drain and Season the Pork Chops
Drain the pork chops and season with salt and pepper.
4. Grill the Pork Chops on One Side for 4 Minutes
Brush the grill with oil. Place chops on grill grate and let them cook until they easily release without sticking, about 4 minutes.
5. Flip and Cook On the Second Side for 3 minutes
Its difficult to use a thermometer to take an internal temperature on a thin pork chop so you just need to trust the timing. If you do take a temperature, you want it to be 145 degrees F.
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How Long To Brine Pork Chops
Time is the second most important variable in relation to brining .
Below are recommended soaking times based on thickness and size. You want to make sure that the brine has a chance to reach deep into the meat.
Thin pork chops: 2 to 6 hoursThick cut pork chops: 6 to 12 hoursDouble cut pork chops: 12 to 24 hours
TIP: If you only had 30 minutes you should still brine your pork. A brine works from the outside in, or in other words from the parts of the chop most likely to dry out during cooking towards the center. Therefore even a brief soak can make a difference.
What Is The Ratio Of Salt To Water To Brine Pork Chops
When brining pork chops, you should use a ratio of 1 tablespoon of kosher salt for each cup of water. That means that if youre mixing up a gallon of brine, youll need to add 1 cup of salt.
We should point out that you probably wont need that much brine when dealing with smaller cuts. Unless youre making a huge batch of chops for a party, a few cups of brine should be sufficient. Try mixing 4 cups of water with 1/4 cup of kosher salt. This should be enough to submerge 4 to 6 pork chops, depending on their size.
Make sure all the salt has fully dissolved before adding ingredients to a brine. For some recipes, youll achieve this by bringing the ingredients to a low simmer, then stirring well. Youll need to wait until the brine has cooled completely before adding the pork chops, so plan accordingly.
You can add other ingredients to a brine in order to boost the flavor. Try substituting water, apple juice or cider, beer, or apple cider vinegar for some of the water in a recipe. Brown sugar, whole peppercorns, sprigs of fresh herbs, handfuls of aromatic vegetables, and cloves of raw garlic are all popular additions.
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Why Americans Used To Overcook Pork
When I was a kid, there was all kinds of hubbub about eating undercooked pork. As in, dont do it. You may remember trichinosis, a parasitic worm, which sent every homemaker scurrying back to the stove to cook the hell out of their familys pork chop dinner.
Nowadays, we dont hear much about this affliction. The number of cases has decreased because of legislation prohibiting the feeding of raw meat garbage to hogs, increased commercial and home freezing of pork, and the public awareness of the danger of eating raw or undercooked pork products .
Why do I mention this? Because for years, the hysteria surrounding trichinosis left us all with dry, mealy, gristly chops and roasts . No amount of gravy could hide the uninspired, overcooked meat.
Thats why Alice from the Brady Bunch served her pork chops with apple sauce, otherwise it was like chewing shoe leather.
Which brings me to todays post. Im very happy to report that I havent had a dry pork chop since I discovered brining. Its hardly a new concept, but for certain cuts of pork and chicken and turkey, it truly makes all the difference. The simplest brines, made of a water and salt solution, permeate the flesh and hydrates the individual cells and also imparts mild flavor. The result is a tender, juicy and flavorful cut. Seriously, if you havent brined your chicken or pork before, you must, must, must try it now!
Whats The Best Way To Cook Pork Chops On The Grill
Grill over direct heat: grill over direct heat for around 6-8 minutes on each side and until the internal temperature reaches at least 140ÂºF or 150ÂºF . Let rest: let pork chops rest for 5-10 minutes to allow the internal temperature to rise 5 more degrees. Enjoy!
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Why Should I Brine My Pork Chops
There are 3 main reasons why you should brine your pork chops before cooking.
Youll notice that typically only leaner cuts of meat such as turkey, chicken, or pork chops and this is because of their low fat content. Brining truly does help your lean cuts of meat come out nice and moist!
Heres What Youll Need To Make Juicy Grilled Pork Chops
- Pork chops
- Spices: salt, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, cumin, ground mustard, pepper, chili powder
- Brown sugar
Cook Time: Total Time:
Pork chops are soaked in a salty brine, then seasoned with a dry rub and grilled to perfection. Unbelievably tender and juicy every time!
- 4 pork chops, about 1 inch thick
- 2 cups water
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
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Best Pork Chops For Grilling
A rib chop, sometimes called a center-cut rib chop, is my go-to cut. It has a bone that runs along one side and a border of fat. On the grill, the fat melts and the marrow in the bone caramelizes, which translates to a whole lot of good feelings that ensue as we dig in!
I prefer a cut that is 2 inches thick. Any thinner, it is more likely to dry out on the grill or get too salty in the brine.
Boneless chops, although pricier, are an option if you’re looking for an all-around leaner cut of meat. They are basically rib chops with the bone and some of the fat trimmed off. My family isnt shy about a generous ribbon of fat, so I hardly trim any off. Leave at least a 1/8-inch layer of it on since fat adds flavor as it renders on the grill.
What Should I Put On Pork Chops Before Cooking
Tip #2:Season the chops with salt half an hour before cooking. This way, the salt has a chance to improve the flavor and texture of the meat. Pork chops are pretty lean, so seasoning with salt before cooking is essential for making the most flavorful chops.
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How Should I Marinade Pork Chops
After a hour the pork chops will already benefit from the marinating. I prefer to let them marinate for at least 8 hours and up to 24 hours to get the most out of the marinade!
I love throwing my pork chops in the marinade so when I come home they are ready to go and I can have dinner in about ten minutes!
Brined Pork Chops Are Juicier
Pork is a lean meat that can become notoriously bone-dry when cooked. Brining pumps them full of moisture, preventing them from drying out. Even a quick dip, about 30 minutes, in the brine will help your pork stay juicy and tender.
The brine I recommend for these pork chops is quite simple to prepare, and it works wonders. It guarantees the meat remains juicy until you sink your teeth into them. While I’m ashamed to admit that I tapped out before I could finish both of my pork chops, I am proud that even when I reheated them, they didn’t dry out.
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Cooking Temperature Of Pork
You can achieve chop perfection when you cook your pork chops like a steak and use a digital thermometer to ensure the proper range of doneness. The National Pork Board recommends that you cook chops to an internal temperature to 145°F , followed by a three-minute rest.
After the pork chops were done cooking I topped them with some fresh herbed butter for even more amazing flavor.
How To Serve And Store Leftovers
Side dishes are always hard to choose. I suggest vegetables like Grilled Mixed Vegetables or Grilled Asparagus make an excellent side dish. We like to have potatoes of some type like Grilled Baby Potatoes.
The common cold dishes like potato salad, broccoli salad, macaroni salad, or a fresh garden salad goes with everything grilled.
Brown Sugar Cinnamon Glazed Grilled Pineapple is a great dessert served with ice cream. Or a simple fruit salad.
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Why Are My Pork Chops Always Tough And Dry
Undercooked pork carries the risk of food-borne illness, and overcooked pork can be dried-out, tough, and chewy. Cook your chop until its around 135 degrees, and then transfer it to a cutting boardâthe residual heat will bring it to the USDAs recommended 145 degrees.