When it comes to cooking grass fed beef and other pasture-raised meats like pork chops, one technique that can greatly enhance their flavor and texture is brining. Brining involves using salt to help these leaner cuts retain moisture and tenderness during cooking. It’s especially beneficial for grass-fed and pasture-raised meats as they tend to be leaner and can easily dry out if not cooked properly. By brining your pork chops, you’ll not only infuse them with delicious flavors but also ensure they remain juicy and tender throughout the cooking process. In this article, we’ll explore the wonderful world of brining and how it can elevate the taste and quality of your grass-fed and pasture-raised pork chops.
Simple Dry Brine
There are a couple of brining methods I use when I’m grilling our grass fed steaks and Pork Chops.
Both dry brining and marinating can enhance the flavor and tenderness of pasture raised meat, so it depends on your personal preference and the flavors you’re looking to achieve.
Dry brining involves coating the pork chops with a mixture of salt and other desired seasonings and letting them sit in the refrigerator for a few hours or overnight. The salt draws out moisture from the meat, which then gets reabsorbed along with the flavors of the seasonings, resulting in a more flavorful and juicy chop. Dry brining is a great option if you prefer a simpler approach and want to enhance the natural taste of the pork.
Marinating, on the other hand, involves soaking the pork chops in a liquid mixture, typically containing an acid (such as vinegar, citrus juice, or yogurt) along with herbs, spices, and other flavorings. The marinade helps to tenderize the meat and infuse it with the flavors of the ingredients. Marinating is a good choice if you want to introduce specific flavors or if you’re working with lean cuts that could benefit from the extra moisture and tenderness.
I use a simple salt-only dry brine almost exclusively when grilling our TPF pasture raised steaks and chops, but both dry brine or marinating can yield great results. You can experiment with different flavor profiles and cooking techniques to find the one that suits your taste preferences. Remember to adjust the cooking time and temperature based on the thickness of the pork chops and ensure they reach a safe internal temperature for consumption. but there also many great recipes like this one:
Boneless Local Pork Chop
Here’s a simple and delicious dry brine recipe for boneless pork chops that can be prepared on the grill:
- 4 boneless pork chops
- 2 tablespoons kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
- In a small bowl, mix together the kosher salt, brown sugar, black pepper, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, dried thyme, dried rosemary, and cayenne pepper (if using).
- Pat the pork chops dry with paper towels and place them on a plate or baking sheet.
- Sprinkle the dry brine mixture evenly over both sides of the pork chops, pressing it gently to adhere.
- Place the brined pork chops in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour, or up to overnight. This allows the flavors to penetrate the meat and the salt to work its magic.
- When ready to grill, preheat your grill to medium-high heat.
- Remove the pork chops from the refrigerator and let them sit at room temperature for about 20 minutes to take the chill off.
- Lightly oil the grill grates to prevent sticking.
- Grill the pork chops for about 4-5 minutes per side, or until they reach an internal temperature of 145°F (63°C) for medium doneness.
- Remove the pork chops from the grill and let them rest for a few minutes before serving.
Feel free to adjust the seasoning quantities to suit your taste preferences. You can also add other herbs or spices to customize the dry brine according to your liking. Happy grilling!