Brining Pork

Brining pork or other meat is a fancy term for soaking meat in salt water.

It is common with turkey and other poultry. It is also common with deer and other wild game. It takes out some of the gamey or strong flavor in the meat and also improves the texture.

I have brined poulty and deer before, but I had never thought to brine my pork until recently.

I was talking to a friend about our pork and how I like to cook it. She asked if I had ever soaked it in salt water before cooking it. And I said no, I had never thought to try it with pork. She said she almost always soaked her pork in salt water and they loved it that way.

I was a bit fascinated with the idea and was anxious to give it a try. I looked through a few pork cookbooks that I had, and brining was mentioned in several recipes. I also looked online and found a few interesting things.

Many of the recipes called for not only salt in the water, but quite a few spices and other ingredients. I decided to keep it simple and just try using salt and brown sugar in the water. I let it soak for about 8 hours and I cooked it like normal.

After the roast was done, I was amazed at the difference brining made. It was so much better.

I even tried it again with another recipe and had the same delicious results. I have cooked a lot of pork over the last few years of raising hogs, and I am amazed at the difference brining has made. I don’t think I will ever go back to not brining my pork roasts.

I can’t wait to try it with some pork chops. Our pork is so lean, that our pork chops are often a little dry and I am sure brining will make them even better.

A few tips though.

You want your brining liquid completely cooled. You do not want to start cooking the meat as it brines, so plan ahead on this part. I know a lot of people don’t heat the salt water, in fact in a Cook’s Illustrated article I found they did not heat the water, but I find that it helps the salt dissolve better, so I don’t skip that step.

The amount of water and salt may vary, but you basically need enough to cover your roast/meat completely.

Have you every brined pork or any other meat? I am curious what your thoughts are about it.

 

Lynn's Kitchen Adventures

Comments

  1. I’ve brined turkey before. It was delicious!

    When I cook my pork (for BBQ pulled sandwiches) I use Coke as the cooking liquid in my crock-pot. Do you think brining ahead of time would make a difference even when cooking with such strong flavors as Coke and onion?

  2. What about when marinading? Would you still brine, then marinate? Or, skip brining?

    • I would say it would depend on the marinade and the time. If it was a long marinade I might skip the brining, if it was just a few hrs, I would brine first than marinade. You might just have to try a few things and see what works best for it.

  3. I always brine my turkey. It is so good. Makes the meet so juicy and tender.

  4. I’m all about brining pork chops!

    It makes such a huge difference and can even make a lower grade cut of meat taste much, much better.
    Last night we had maple brined pork chops with apples, which is one of my ‘greatest hits’ recipes for our family: http://www.momstoolbox.com/blog/maple-brined-pork-chops-with-apples/

    You can also brine seafood to give it a juicier, less fishy flavor.

    • I really can not believe how much difference it makes in the pork. I can’t wait to try it with pork chops. I saw quite a few brines that contained apple juice, so I will have to give that a try.

      And seafood! I never thought to try it for that. Thanks for the tip.

  5. I do the brining for cuts of meat but haven’t done anything with roasts. I will have to try that too. My brine has only been with salt – will have to try the salt/sugar combination.

    It (brining) seems to be a great cooking “secret” that isn’t very secret anymore

  6. Today’s over-lean pork can really use a moisture boost, and often a flavor one too. This is great!

  7. Hi Lynn, I was wondering if brining meat affects the sodium levels in the final product?

    • I am not sure what the sodium levels are after brining, but the meat does not taste salty or saltier. If you are wanting to know for health reasons/low sodium diet, you might need to do some research on that. Sorry I can not help more.

      • I made the oven pork chops today after brining and they seemed VERY salty. DH says, don’t do that again. I think you may want to eliminate all the other salt from any recipe that you use brined meat in.

  8. Lauren Clark says:

    I have brined a turkey, twice. It was Sandra Lee’s ‘Cider Glazed Turkey’ and I have made it the last two years for Christmas dinner. The first year, the meat was incredible. It was so moist and had just the right amount of apple cider in each bite. This past year, however, I edited the recipe because I used a much bigger turkey and… ooops. Everyone said it was great, but I found it way too salty!

  9. I have a lot of 1/2 inch thick chops in the freezer that I got on sale. I tried barbequing them, pan frying them and both times they came out so tough, even the dog had a hard time…LOL Would brining them help to soften the meat.
    I don’t want to waste them, as they are very big…

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