I have a close friend who just refuses to cook pork chops. She says they always end up dry. When I told her she must have been overcooking them, she was skeptical. I told her to grab a digital meat thermometer and to try cooking them to just between 145 and 160 degrees. It may seem like a useless gadget to some, but a meat thermometer is one of the most valuable tools when it comes to getting perfectly cooked, juicy and tender protein – especially pork.
She ended up getting a thermometer and used this recipe and called to tell me these were the best pork chops she’d ever had! Seriously.
The trick is brining. I’ve been brining meat for years. It sounds a little intimidating, but it’s nothing more than soaking meat in a saltwater solution. It adds tons of flavor and helps to keep lean cuts of meat from drying out. Brining is just the perfect opportunity to adds tons of flavor. Fresh herbs and pork always work so well together, so I created this recipe to highlight just that.
Creating the brine is super simple. Just dissolve salt and sugar in hot water and then add your flavorings. We add garlic, rosemary, thyme and parsley. Adding ice cubes brings the temperature of the brine down so we don’t end up cooking our meat with the brine. It should end up being at room temperature or below before adding the pork chops to it. An overnight soak in the delicious liquid is all it takes. Just try not to brine pork chops for any more than 8 hours. I usually pop them in the brine first thing in the morning, and they’re perfect for cooking for supper when I get home. Four to five minutes of grilling on each side is about all you’ll need to do to get your chops to that minimum internal temperature of 145 degrees.
Remember – no matter which pork recipe you choose, don’t overcook it. Grill your pork like a steak to get a tender, juicy product that offers great taste and flavor. Cook pork chops, loin roasts and pork tenderloin to an internal temperature between 145°F and 160°F, followed by a three-minute rest. For ground pork, always cook to an internal temperature of 160 degrees. For ribs, cook until tender.
Herb-brined Pork Chops
Cook time: 5 minutes
Total time: 5 minutes
Serves 4 chops
4 porterhouse (bone-in loin) pork chops (about ¾ inch thick)
- 2 cups water
- ⅓ cup kosher salt
- ¼ cups sugar
- 3 cloves garlic, smashed
- 3 sprigs rosemary
- 3 sprigs thyme
- 3 cups ice
- 2 tablespoons coarsely chopped parsley
- To make the brine, combine water, salt, sugar, garlic, rosemary and thyme in a medium saucepan over medium heat.
- Stir until salt and sugar have dissolved completely. Remove from the heat and stir in the ice cubes.
- Add the parsley.
- Once the brine has cooled, place the pork chops in a 1-gallon zip-top bag or sealable container and pour the brine over them.
- Seal and refrigerate for at least 2 hours but up to overnight.
- When ready to grill, heat the grill to medium-high heat.
- Remove the pork chops from the brine.
- Discard the brine.
- Pat the pork chops dry with paper towels.
- Grill 4 to 5 minutes on each side or until a meat thermometer reads between 145 degrees and 160 degrees.
- Remove from the grill and allow the chops to rest for about 3 minutes before serving.