This post is sponsored by The National Pork Board, Smithfield, and Walmart, but the opinions expressed are my own.
I have a close friend who just refuses to cook pork chops. She says they always end up dry. When I told her she must have been overcooking them, she was skeptical. I told her to grab a digital meat thermometer and to try cooking them to just between 145°F and 160°F. It may seem like a useless gadget to some, but a meat thermometer is one of the most valuable tools when it comes to getting perfectly cooked, juicy, and tender protein – especially pork.
She ended up getting a thermometer and used this recipe and called to tell me these were the best pork chops she’d ever had! Seriously.
The trick is brining. I’ve been brining meat for years. It sounds a little intimidating, but it’s nothing more than soaking meat in a saltwater solution. It adds tons of flavor and helps to keep lean cuts of meat from drying out. The great thing about Smithfield Extra Tender Fresh Pork from Walmart is that it always ends up juicy and tender, so brining it is just the perfect opportunity to adds tons of flavor. Fresh herbs and pork always work so well together, so I created this recipe to highlight just that.
Creating the brine is super simple. You just dissolve salt and sugar in hot water and then adds your flavorings. We add garlic, rosemary, thyme, and parsley. Adding ice cubes brings the temperature of the brine down so we don’t end up cooking our meat with the brine. It should end up being at room temperature or below before adding the pork chops to it. An overnight soak in the delicious liquid is all it takes. Just try not to brine pork chops for any more than 8 hours. I usually pop them in the brine first thing in the morning, and they’re perfect for cooking for supper when I get home. Four to five minutes of grilling on each side is about all you’ll need to do to get your chops to that minimum internal temp of 145°F.
Remember – no matter which pork recipe you choose, don’t overcook it! Grill your pork like a steak to get a tender, juicy product that offers great taste and flavor. Cook pork chops, loin roasts and pork tenderloin to an internal temperature between 145°F and 160°F, followed by a three-minute rest. For ground pork, always cook to an internal temperature of 160°F. For ribs, cook until tender.
For more recipe inspiration and grilling tips and tricks, follow Pork Be inspired, Smithfield, and Walmart on Facebook or visit SmithfieldGetGrilling.com.
Herb-Brined Pork Chops
- 4 Smithfield Extra Tender Fresh porterhouse bone-in loin pork chops (about ¾ inch thick)
- 2 cups water
- 1/3 cup kosher salt
- 1/4 cups sugar
- 3 cloves garlic smashed
- 3 sprigs rosemary
- 3 sprigs thyme
- 3 cups ice
- 2 tablespoons coarsely chopped parsley
- To make the brine, combine water, salt, sugar, garlic, rosemary, and thyme in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir until salt and sugar have dissolved completely. Remove from the heat and stir in the ice cubes. Add the parsley. Once the brine has cooled, place the pork chops in a gallon size zip-top bag or sealable container and pour the brine over them. Seal and refrigerate for at least 2 hours but up to overnight. When ready to grill, heat the grill to medium-high heat. Remove the pork chops from the brine. Discard the brine. Pat the pork chops dry with paper towels. Grill 4 to 5 minutes on each side or until a meat thermometer reads between 145°F and 160°F. Remove from the grill and allow the chops to rest for about 3 minutes before serving.
Nutritional values provided are an estimate and will vary depending on the brands used. If calorie count and other nutritional values are important to you, I recommend grabbing your favorite brands and plugging those ingredients into an online nutritional calculator.
Sounds delicious. My pork chops are always dry so I gave up on them. I don’t have a grill. Can you suggest another way to cook them? Thanks Stacey. Really love your site.
Thanks, Deb! Have you tried brining and grilling to 145°F?
Can I skip the ice and just let it cool. And cook in a cast iron pan?
Yes you can skip the ice cubes but may need to add additional water. Cast iron should work just fine!
This herb brine is also great for sous vide pork chops as well. After removing them from the brine I rinsed them under cold water before patting them dry. Then, seared them in a hot pan with a little lard on each side to form a nice crust then into the freezer for 20 minutes to cool them down. Finally, sous vide them for 1 hour at 140 F. Perfection!
Awesome! Thanks for sharing, Douglas!
Thank you so much for this recipe. I think it the first time my chops were actually tender! Great flavors!
I’m so glad they turned out great for you!
one can use the juice of a lemon and toss in the lemon after it has been juiced and have the same effects as the salt for added flavor add a lime the same way
Great tip! Thanks, Danny!
Is it necessary to use sugar or a sugar substitute? what would need to be changed if you leave out the sugar? we all get more than enough of it slipped into our food, i cannot add more.
Yes, the sugar is an important part of the chemical makeup of the brine.
I have used this recipe many times and am always happy with the results
Love hearing that! Thanks for letting me know, Charity!
These pork chops turned out great! First time I have ever brined pork chops but will do it every time now. Hubby did the grilling and said these were best we’ve had in ages. We were also doing chicken breast so this recipe inspired me to look for a marinade/brine for chicken. Both so tasty!
Wonderful! I’m so glad y’all enjoyed these!
I can’t have any salt. Is there ANY way to “brine” without using salt (or any of the disgusting salt substitutes)?
Brining is a chemical reaction that involves salt. You can certainly make the brine without the salt, but you’ll also need ot leave out the sugar. The herbs will help to give the meat flavor, but you won’t get the full effect of the brine without the salt.
I can’t wait to try this! My chops and chicken are always dry!????
Sure hope you’ll enjoy it!
I love to brine my pork chops, they end up so juicy and flavorful. Thanks for the recipe.
It certainly makes a difference.