Peppercorn Brined Pork Chops
- 4 quarts water
- 1/2 Cup coarse salt
- 1/2 Cup sugar
- 1/4 Cup whole black peppercorns
- 1 dried habanero pepper
- 8 boneless 1 1/2-inch-thick pork chops*
- Thyme sprigs, for garnish
Who doesn’t love a big, juicy, grilled pork chop? This recipe is so simple and takes only minutes in the kitchen. We like to brine our pork chops for 24 hours, so we make the brine a day ahead of time. We are enamored of European pork, which tends to have a higher fat content than its American counterpart, but the brine adds moisture that your pork might otherwise lack. If you can get locally raised, free-range pork from a farm stand or butcher, you will be rewarded with some of the most succulent pig you have ever sunk your teeth into.
In a pot, bring the water to a rolling boil over high heat. Add the salt, sugar, peppercorns, and habanero. Cover and boil for 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool to room temperature.
When the brine is cool, place the pork chops in the brine. Make sure that they are completely submerged. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
When you’re ready to cook the pork chops, preheat the grill for at least 10 minutes so it will be hot enough to sear the meat. Pat the pork chops dry with paper towels and grill them until a meat thermometer reads 150 degrees, 4-5 minutes on each side. Let rest for 3 minutes before serving.
*Note: We usually use boneless pork chops for even cooking times. In our childhood, everyone, including our mothers, teachers, and the media, warned against eating undercooked pork. The beauty about brining pork chops is that the salt kills most of the bacteria so you don’t have to overcook the meat until it is dry and inedible. Brined meats remain moist, juicy, and, most of all, delicious.