Brine dining: Soak pork in seasoned salt water to make it moist, flavorful

  • By Jim Romanoff, Associated Press
  • Tuesday, September 7, 2010 5:04pm
  • Life

If you grill meat regularly, it’s worth considering ways to cut the fat but keep the flavor.

Though the marbling of many meats can’t be cut away (and to keep things flavorful, you wouldn’t want to), trimming any visible fat from the exterior of the meat is an easy way to reduce your intake.

With poultry, the same effect is achieved by removing the skin, which contains a large percentage of the bird’s fat.

Now that you’ve cut the fat, it’s time to add flavor. Brines (salt water with seasonings) not only boost flavor, they also help keep meat moist (a problem with lean cuts) by drawing water into it.

A basic brine can be made by dissolving 1/3 cup kosher salt and 1/3 cup sugar (white or brown) in a quart of water. Additional flavorings, such as herbs, spices or even juice, can be added.

Always be sure your brine is ice cold (below 37 degrees) before adding the meat, then refrigerate everything during the soak.

This process does make meats and poultry more salty, but not necessarily as much as you think.

Tests done by Cook’s Illustrated magazine have shown that meats and poultry brined for up to an hour absorb about 250 to 350 milligrams of sodium (about 1/8 teaspoon) per serving.

If you’re watching your sodium intake, you can put less salt in the brine. And in all instances the meat should be rinsed (which washes away some salt) and dried before grilling. And, of course, there’s no need to season with any additional salt.

These juicy, grilled pork chops with peach-jalapeno glaze get a quick flavor brine in a simple kosher salt and brown sugar solution. Be sure to brush the chops with the glaze only during the final minutes of grilling. Otherwise, the glaze will burn.

Grilled pork chops with peach-japaleno glaze

1/4cup kosher salt

1/4cup firmly packed light brown sugar

2cups boiling water

3cups ice cubes

2teaspoons chili powder

2teaspoons ground cumin

1/2cup peach preserves

2tablespoons lime juice

1large or 2 small jalapenos, minced but not seeded

1pound boneless center cut pork loin chops, trimmed of fat (4 chops)

1/4teaspoon ground black pepper, or to taste

In a medium bowl, combine the salt and brown sugar. Add the boiling water and stir to dissolve. Add the ice cubes and stir to cool. Add the pork chops, cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or up to an hour.

Meanwhile, make the glaze. In a small saucepan over low, stir the chili powder and cumin until lightly toasted and fragrant, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a small bowl.

Add the peach preserves, lime juice and jalapenos. Stir well, then set aside.

Heat a gas grill to medium or prepare a charcoal fire. Oil the grill grates.

Remove the pork chops from the brine, rinse well and blot dry with paper towels. Season both sides of the pork with ground black pepper.

Grill the pork chops, turning once, until and instant thermometer inserted at the center registers 145 degrees, 2 to 4 minutes per side. Brush both sides of the chops with the reserved glaze and grill, turning once, for 90 seconds more. Serve with additional peach-jalapeno glaze on the side.

Makes 4 servings. Per serving: 298 calories; 97 calories from fat; 11 g fat (4 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 58 mg cholesterol; 30 g carbohydrate; 21 g protein; 0 g fiber; 927 mg sodium.

Talk to us

More in Life

Jeff Barnett, owner of Salish Sea-Boathouse during the soft opening in Edmonds on November 24, 2021. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
Salish Sea sets sail at second location in Edmonds

In honor of the nearby waterfront, The Boathouse has a decidedly nautical feel — and it’s more of a taproom and brewhouse than its sibling brewpub up the street.

Jacob Akers in his replica Dude sweater from The Big Leboswki on Tuesday, Nov. 23, 2021 in Everett, Wa. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Dude, you’re knitting some bodacious ‘Big Lebowski’ sweaters

Jacob Akers, 29, a Costco shelf stocker, knits cardigans made famous by the 1998 cult classic guy flick.

Bill Howell, a plant pathologist from Prosser, created the Lucy Rose apple variety as a cross between the Honeycrisp and an Airlie Red variety. They are notable for their red centers.(Jennifer Bardsley)
Sweet treats for the holiday season direct from Washington growers

Washington State farmers survived a difficult year. The fruits of their labor deserve admiration.

Roger Fisher pauses while jamming in the garden at his Monroe home.
Monroe resident Roger Fisher reflects on his time with Heart

He was a co-founder of the Seattle group that rose to worldwide fame in the 1970s. He left the band when his romance with Nancy Wilson went south.

This Jewish chef puts a Mexican twist on her latkes

Patti Jinich serves them with a crunchy, citrusy Mexican crema made with fresh squeezed lime juice and zest and finely diced fennel.

The Pacific Ice rink under construction at Port of Everett on Friday, Nov. 26, 2021 in Everett, Wa. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Port of Everett unveils seasonal ice rink on the waterfront

The outdoor rink will be open through the end of January. The port plans for it to return annually.

The 2022 Mini Cooper is available in two-door or four-door hardtop models. A two-door soft-top convertible model is also offered. (Manufacturer photo)
2022 Mini Cooper reinforces the brand’s reputation for fun

An exterior freshening, new 8.8-inch touchscreen and value-driven Oxford Edition model are highlights.

Don Sarver, left, and Kyle James, right, snowshoe on the Skyline Lake Trail on Saturday, Jan. 26, 2019 in Leavenworth, Wa. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Don Sarver, left, and Kyle James, right, snowshoe on the Skyline Lake Trail on Jan. 26, 2019, in Leavenworth. (Olivia Vanni / Herald file)
Outdoors classes and activities around Snohomish County

The listings include Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest updates and REI Lynnwood workshops.

Baden-Baden: Getting naked with strangers

Relaxing at the spa resort of Baden-Baden in southern Germany’s Black Forest,… Continue reading

Where have all the workers gone?

Many of us wonder why there are so many vacancies in so… Continue reading

Book-related events in Snohomish County.
Author events and poetry readings around Snohomish County

The listings include Third Place Books, Everett Public Library and Neverending Bookshop events.

Lady Gaga in "House of Gucci." (Courtesy of Metro Goldwyn Mayer Pictures Inc./TNS)
A stone-cold Lady Gaga brings down the ‘House of Gucci’

Ridley Scott’s movie dives into a luxury brand and a family laid low by greed and infighting.