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Brine Baby Brine!

The best way to cook a thick cut of meat, like a pork chop, is simple: brine then cook slowly.

 

Brining was originally used as a means of preserving meats and other perishables. Since the advent of refrigeration, such preservation techniques have become unnecessary. But brining is now popular for another reason entirely: increasing the succulence of meat or bird cuts that lack fat or flavor. A proper brine contains just enough salt to help the food retain its moisture content. Flavors may be added using cider, beer, wine, vinegars or other liquids, and sometimes spices or sugars (I like rosemary and sage).

 

A brine is simply a salt solution. For a basic brine, use 1 cup salt for each gallon of liquid. For each cup of salt used, boil 2 cups of water. Add the salt and any spices to the boiling water and stir to dissolve. Add the remaining (cold) liquid to chill the brine then pour the liquid into a container deep enough to submerge themeat or poultry entirely. Place the meat or bird in the cool brine and, if necessary, weigh it down with a plate to keep it submerged. Refrigerate or place in a suitably cool place. Generally, I like to keep it there overnight, but not a full 24 hours. Rinse the meat twice before cooking, and discard brine.

 

After rinsing the chops and patting them dry, season the meat aggressively on both sides. Dredge them in flour and sauté to get a nice crust. You can’t overestimate the importance of the browning phase and of achieving color. That’s going to create the rich intensity of flavor.

 

Click here to make the perfect pork chop weeknight meal!