Friday, October 1, 2010

Maple Brined Pork Chops

As a devoted follower of Cook's Illustrated I know all about the benefits of brining meats. Brine adds flavor and juiciness to finished dishes. The major issue I have with brining is the time it takes. Some recipes call for meat to spend a few hours, or even overnight, in the salt, sugar, flavoring solution.

One of our favorite pork chop recipes is from Food to Live By. The results are delicious, but the recipe is long and convoluted and takes 2 days to make. (I would still highly recommend this cookbook though, fabulous recipes!) I played with the recipe and significantly simplified it and shorted prep and brining time. Honestly, we could not tell the difference when we bit into the slightly sweet, juicy pork chops.

Buy slightly thinner pork chops for this recipe, with or without the bone. It will shorten the cooking time. In under an hour we had a Fall dinner of pork chops, sweet potato fries and a tomato salad! Can't beat that on a busy school night.

Maple Brined Pork Chops
4 thinly sliced pork chops, with or without the bone
2 cups water
1/2 cup maple syrup (plus a few additional tablespoons for brushing)
2 tablespoons kosher salt (less if using table salt)
2 teaspoons (or more) fresh ground black pepper
1 spring rosemary,
1 tablespoon stone mustard

1. Combine water and all ingredients other than chops into a glass dish or large plastic bag. Stir until combined.
2. Add pork chops and allow to rest for 30 minutes, or up at an hour. If using the glass dish turn chops once in a while so all are marinated.
3. Heat a large skillet over medium- high heat. Remove chops from brine and add to a hot pan. Cook on one side until a dark brown color develops, about 5 minutes. Turn and brush with some additional maple syrup. Cook other side until a browned and the meat is cooked through (about 3-5 minutes).
4. If you want, brush with a little additional maple syrup.


  1. Brining is such a great technique! Kudos for tinkering with the recipe & coming up with a quicker version :) I will be giving this a try for sure! Sounds amazing!

  2. Ooooh, now I know what we're doing with the pork chops in our freezer! Yummy!