A Mess-Free Way to Brine Your Pork Chops

updated May 1, 2019
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(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

While we’re big fans of a classic wet brine to produce perfectly cooked pork chops, we’ll be the first to admit that the whole process can get a little messy sometimes, with all that salt water sloshing around. Luckily, there’s an even better alternative.

Enter: the dry brine, the method that produces equally tender and juicy results with a whole lot less mess. Which is exactly why it’s an easy win!

Why You Should Dry Brine Your Pork Chops

Since a dry brine helps tenderize pork chops just as much as a wet brine, there’s no reason not to embrace the technique. It involves rubbing salt and seasonings directly onto the chops and letting them rest in the refrigerator for a bit before cooking. The salt draws out the meat juices through osmosis and then it dissolves into the juices, basically turning into a “natural” brine even though there isn’t any liquid added. This brine is reabsorbed into the meat, which then breaks down tough muscle proteins to help achieve pork chop perfection.

How to Dry Brine Pork Chops

It couldn’t be easier to do. For two pork chops (3/4-inch to 1-inch thick, about 1 pound each), mix together 2 tablespoons of kosher salt, 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, and, if you’d like, about 1 teaspoon of dried herbs like thyme, sage, rosemary, or a blend.

Pat the pork chops dry with a paper towel, rub the salt mixture evenly on all sides, and transfer them to a wire rack set in a rimmed baking sheet. Refrigerate the chops, uncovered, for eight to 24 hours. When you’re ready to cook them, follow whatever cooking method you normally use, whether that’s roasting them in the oven or grilling them.

Do you brine your pork chops before cooking? How do you do it?