Always Brine Pork Steaks Before They Hit The Oven For More Flavor

Although chops are often the go-to cut for quick pork preparation, pork steaks are a delicious alternative. Derived from the shoulder, this marbled cut packs in flavor and a juicy interior, which makes it easier to cook to perfection. Plus, its thicker consistency lends a meatier experience while eating.

So, what's the best technique for nailing a perfectly prepared pork steak? It's all in the brine. The introduction of salt breaks down proteins, which causes the meat to trap in more water, leading to a more tender result. Plus, the cooking method is a great way to infuse with further flavors, too.

There are two options to choose from: dry and wet brining. The former is easier; simply generously sprinkle the cuts with salt and let them rest in the fridge overnight. Although it won't affect the taste of the meat, such a method is best to attain a delicious crispy crust without adding the risk of mushiness. Or, craft a liquid-based brine to infuse the steaks with additional flavor. Especially in an oven, this method is less prone to mushiness.

Brining pork steaks flavors and tenderizes the meat

Salt is the most crucial component of a brine, so select with care. Especially in a dry brine, larger flaked salts — like kosher — are the perfect choice. Their broader shape will cover more of the meat, soaking in its moisture and reducing the risk of oversalting. In a dry brine, ingredients must be kept dry. However, feel free to incorporate spices like black pepper, cayenne, and other pepper powders.

Wet brines are much more malleable in nature — it's all about infusing flavors into a salted water base. Frequently, such a process is done over a stove to melt all additions. Flavoring options include sugar, and herbs like thyme or rosemary, garlic, and ginger, as well as a range of spices like allspice, bay leaves, peppercorns, and more. For a more intense flavor, the water can be substituted with a different liquid, such as apple juice. Just make sure to brine for no longer than four hours, or else the result will be too watery. Done just right, the resultant pork chop will be hard to beat in taste.