Brined pork chops: tender, tasty and TOO salty!

I cook pork chops probably at least monthly; prior to tonight, I’d season them with some assorted herbs, salt and pepper; melt a couple TBSP of butter in a large skillet; sear the chops for about 4min on each side; finish in a 325 oven while making a pan gravy in the pan I seared them in.

The past few weeks, though, I’ve seen at least two, and maybe three, cooking shows where they brined the chops before cooking. So tonight, I determined to try that. I made a brine thus:
1C each salt and brown sugar
1/4C white vinegar
1C water
1TBSP each whole black peppercorns and dried mustard

Dissolve solids in boiling water/vinegar; cool the whole mess with a half-tray of ice cubes; pour brine all over chops, brine for one hour. Dry chops with paper towels, cook as usual.

I ended up with pork chops that were amazingly juicy, tender and delicious, but just too damned salty. Hubby and I agree that I should try the brining thing again, but I can see a couple of ways to reduce the saltiness. One is to rinse the chops in cold running water before drying (prior to searing); the other is to not add any surface salt when seasoning the chops to go in the pan; a third option would be to do both of the above.

What think the Dopers?

You should first make sure that your pork hasn’t been brined by the meat packager. Hormel and others brine the pork themselves, so if you brine it too, then it’s going to be way too salty.

If the pork you’re buying isn’t pre-brined, then I would try brining and then not salting the surface. It already has salt all through it, it doesn’t need more salt on the top.

This is a good thought, but, no. The chops were cut, by the butcher at the market, from a fresh whole pork loin.

Don’t salt after brining. That should do it.

Well, you need to rinse the chops after you take them out if the brine. You want the liquid in the meat, not clinging to the surface.

Also, your proportions are a bit off. Try cutting both the sugar and the salt in half.

OK, as far as the proportions go, well, proportion would mean 1:1 on the salt and sugar, right? So if I halve both of them, I still have the same proportions, right? Or am I misunderstanding you? And I was just following the recipes I found online. I did dry the chops with paper towels (otherwise they wouldn’t have seared properly), but I certainly could rinse them next time. The recipes I looked up didn’t mention that, but then again, they may assume that I already know that part. Just like recipes assume that when they say “grease the bottom of a 9X9 pan”, they don’t mean 'grease the bottom of a 9X9 pan"! :wink:

D_Odds, yeah, I’ll definitely skip the surface salt next time!

Sorry about that. I meant the salt:water and the sugar:water ratio. Try 1/2 or 1/4 cup of each per cup of water.

1 cup of salt to 1 cup of water. :eek:
Not nearly enough liquid to the amount of salt. or in other words way too much salt.
My standard brine is 1 cup of salt to 1 gallon of liquid.
Try 1/4 cup salt
1/8 cup sugar
to 1 quart of liquid

My thoughts exactly. I was wondering if I had misread that. The basic ratio, as you state, is one cup salt for one GALLON water. Some people do it stronger, 1/2 cup salt to 1 quart water, (especially for a short one-hour brine) but I’ve never heard of anyone doing four cups to one quart. Equal parts salt and water is holyjesuswaytoomuch salt. Frankly, I’m surprised it was edible.

Here’s the Cooks Illustrated PDF on brining. Read through this, norinew, and you should be golden. What websites did you find that proportion on? Or was it just a typo?

There was nothing wrong with that food! The salt level was 10% less than a lethal dose.

pulykamel, I’ve closed down the recipe I was working from, so I’m not sure what website it was. But I do understand now what everyone is saying about proportion of salt to water. Now I know how to fix the problem! :slight_smile:

But it definitely was edible, though I did mention to mr. norinew that it’s a good thing none of us have high blood pressure! :wink:

Knock it up a notch! BAM!

Absolutely! I could have added a bunch of salt to the pan gravy! :smiley:

I shouldn’t have gone back for seconds!

All we have left is capers and salt… and here it is!