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Beer Brined Pork Chops

2010 October 31
by Mrs. FoodieLawyer
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Brining pork is a good way to take a lean (and more healthy) cut of meat and cook it such that it stays juicy and delicious.   Using beer in the brine adds a subtle layer of flavor — Dan says it’s a hoppy flavor, but his palate is way more sophisticated than mine.  Beer-brining is a good way to cook pork that you may want to use later in the week in a different dish.  It’s flavorful, without being tied to any particular flavor profile (e.g., Asian, BBQ, etc.)

The easiest way to make the sugar and salt dissolve in the water (about 2 cups of water) is to boil all these ingredients (with the bay leaf) together for about 5 minutes.

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These giant pork chops have some extra fat that needs to be trimmed off with a sharp knife.

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Pork chops trimmed (with fat on the side).

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Brine ingredients boiling.

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Add the water/salt/sugar mixture to a container large enough to also accommodate the pork chops, the beer, and lots of ice.

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Add the ice to the brine before you add the pork, so that the pork doesn’t start cooking in the warm brine.  Otherwise, food poisoning would most likely put a damper on your week.

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Once the brine is iced down, add the pork and put the container in the fridge.  The pork should brine in the fridge for about 6-8 hours.

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After you take the pork out of the brine, pat it dry with some paper towels.

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One of our favorite commenters (Hi Aunt Lynne!) recently said that she used some of our leftover quick red sauce as a makeshift sauce for pork, and we were inspired.  We picked up this “meat sauce” at our local Central Market a couple of weeks ago and decided to glaze the pork chops with it while they were grilling.  This sauce is mustard-based and really good.  Other steak sauces would probably also work well.

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As an additional layer of flavor, Dan made a quick spice rub to put on the pork chops before they went on the grill.  Rub ingredients are cayenne pepper, granulated garlic, hungarian paprika and salt.

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As we’ve said before, Dan doesn’t really like to measure, so just throw a bunch of those ingredients together – maybe a little more cayenne if you like spicy food; but definitely not too much salt, since the pork is already salty after being in the brine.  (Sorry if it’s too vague.  I really have tried to get Dan to measure stuff for purposes of recipes here, but he’ll be cooking, and I’ll be taking a TV break from taking photos (Real Housewives, anyone?), then next thing I know — the rub is already made.  The good news is that other than too much salt or spice, imprecise measurements with this rub are okay — you really can’t screw it up).

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Rub the rub on the pork.  Then wash your hands.  Then wash them again.

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Pork chops on the grill.  (Still getting used to different lighting conditions for photos as Fall descends on Texas).

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Depending on the thickness of the chop, flip the pork over after 4-6 minutes.  During those 4-6 minutes, you may want to rotate the chop 90 degrees (without flipping it over) if you want good grill marks (who doesn’t?)

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Adding the sauce  (and still working on the darker-than-usual photos).

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Dan is fast with the silicone sauce brush!

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After applying the sauce, cook the chops over indirect medium heat for about 10 minutes.

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Because these were giant pork chops, Dan cut out the bones before plating them.  We try to practice portion control, so no need to place a huge Flintstone-style slab of pork on your plate for dinner.  Instead, I had one of the smaller filets and Dan had one of the strip sides.  We will use the leftovers for a meal later in the week (stay tuned!)

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