Brown Sugar Brine Is All You Need For Perfectly Flavored Pork Chops

Made up of a golden ration of salt and water, a brine is a surefire way to bring flavor and juicy texture to your grilling and roasting endeavors. Take the classic method of brining chicken or turkey. While chicken breasts and other white meat can become overly dry during the cooking process, one long rest in a salty brine helps ensure they retain moisture. And this technique works on more than just birds — it's useful for lean pork cuts as well. With this in mind, perhaps you should consider making a brown sugar brine for your next batch of pork chops. 

This step of brining will help seal in the juiciness of your pork, as the salt in the brine helps relax the networks of protein, trapping water in their large web. Beyond that, the salt and other ingredients help season the exterior of the meat. But the true secret to this brine lies in the brown sugar. Rich with molasses, brown sugar is used to aid the pork chop in getting a delectable caramelized crust. Let's take a closer look at how to make a proper brown sugar brine for your next batch of chops.

The best way to get seasoned, caramelized pork

A brine begins with a mix of salt and water, usually a quarter cup of salt to 1 quart of water. To this basic brine mix, you'll add a half cup of dark or light brown sugar. Other seasonings would also be welcome at this point, including rosemary, peppercorns, fennel seeds, mustard seeds, and garlic. After adding in your aromatics, you'll bring this mix to a boil on the stove, making sure to dissolve both the salt and the sugar into the water.

Once you have a homogenous brine, you'll let it cool completely (add a few ice cubes to speed up the process) and then add in your pork chops. Thin pork chops should sit in the brine in the refrigerator for four to six hours. For thick pork chops, the brining time will be longer, as you need to give the liquid a spell to penetrate the thicker meat, usually six to 12 hours. After this generous soak, there's little else for you to do besides properly dry the surface of the pork chops so that it has the ability to get a crisp, golden crust. The superior flavor and moisture are already locked in, waiting for your first bite.