Monday, August 8, 2011

Molasses-Brined Pork Chops – More Similar to "The Sopranos" Than You Think

I was so happy with how my Carolina barbecue sauce experiment went, I almost forgot I'd filmed the molasses brined pork chop I slathered all that sauce on. So, I figured I better get cracking and post this before grilling season turns into hockey season.

Brining pork chops is like upgrading to premium cable, once you do it, you can’t go back to basic. You hear people say HBO wins all those awards because they have the big advantage of using the profanity and casual nudity that the network competition can't.

When it comes to brining, the F-bombs and low-cut blouses are the flavor and extra moisture that the sweet, salty solution brings. When compared to your standard grilled pork chops, these brined beauties will surely get better reviews.

Other than having to wait a few hours for all that sexy, semipermeable membrane-on-membrane action to take place, this recipe is incredibly easy. Dissolve salt and molasses in water, toss in the chops, and wait. And what do you get from such little effort? A pork chop that's seasoned from the inside out, with a firm, but very moist texture.

I brined mine for about 6 hours, but according many osmotic experts, as little as one hour per pound of pork chop is adequate. For me, that would have been about 45 minutes, but since I learned this trick from a chef that used to leave these overnight, I can’t bring myself to brine them any less.

Whether you cover these with a Carolina barbecue sauce, or some other shiny glaze, I hope you decide to upgrade to premium pork chops soon. Enjoy!


Ingredients:
4 thick double-cut loin pork chops
For the brine:
1/2 cup kosher salt (only use 1/4 cup is using fine table salt)
1/2 cup molasses
4-5 whole cloves
1 cup boiling water to dissolve salt
7 cups cold water

View the complete recipe

19 comments:

philogaia said...

You don't specify the type of molasses to use but it looks like blackstrap in the video. Is this the case? It looks great and I'm ready to give it a go.

Chef John said...

I used the brand "Grandma's Molasses" Here is the link. It's dark, but it doesn't say "blackstrap"

http://www.grandmasmolasses.com/grandmas/grandmas_products.asp

Alicia A said...

Will the brine work on 1 inch supermarket chop? Will the brine be too much for a smaller cut? Thanks Chef John.

Also, I went to Home in SF and it was great. Thanks again.

Chef John said...

Yes, it will! But, I'd only brine it for 1-2 hr max.

Anonymous said...

Chef John, why do you dry off the meat before putting it on the grill? Wouldn't the high heat instantly evaporate the little bit of moisture?

Thanks for all the inspiring videos!

Chef John said...

It cools down the grates and causes sticking, not to mention can "steam" thinner pieces of meat.

Maria said...

Brined pork is amazing! One of the guys at work brines boneless pork loin roasts then cooks them in a countertop rotisserie. You would never guess how juicy it keeps the meat. Love you Chef John.....

Anonymous said...

Hi chef, i've got a couple of question. Can i substitute molasses with some brown sugar? If so, how many cups should i use? What type of cuts of beef do you recommend for this brine. I live in Indonesia and a lot of people don't eat pork and molasses are kind of hard to find here. Thanks Chef.

bdwilcox said...

OK, I'm totally confused on how brining works. Since the pork chops are submerged in a highly concentrated saline solution, I would think osmotic pressure would cause fluid to leak out of the pork chop and into the brining solution in order to dilute its salinity. Yet, it seems to do the opposite. Anyone know why?

Ojos Azules said...

Chef John,
is it OK to use honey instead of molasses for brining ?
There's no molasses in stores in my part of the globe, not even in fancy bio/organic/natural ones.

Chef John said...

Any sugar would work, brown, honey, etc.

Also, you don't see beef being brined. If you can't use pork, try chicken.

bdwilcox, check this out... http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&source=web&cd=3&sqi=2&ved=0CDQQFjAC&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.cooksillustrated.com%2Fimages%2Fdocument%2Fhowto%2FND01_ISBriningbasics.pdf&rct=j&q=brining&ei=o0RBToOIMMzTiALf5IGcBQ&usg=AFQjCNFc9uxatoWMJulRGvDnT9jGsnxTbQ&sig2=AtuuAkmCjnwUOQ3JDTWkWg&cad=rja

Kurt said...

Made these last night and they were great. I could only find the regular thin cut chops. My local grocery store (Kroeger) will not cut anything special. If it's not out on the shelf, then your not going to get it. But the thin chops were fine, only brined them for two hours. Thanks John, and congrats on your acquisition.

Scruff said...

Really Tasty thank you

Steven K. said...

I'm giving a thumbs (way) up on this recipe/technique. I've never brined pork chops before and these came out delicious. I even slightly overcooked them and they were still juicer and better than the one time I tried making pork chops sous vide. I think I'm going to try this same brining mix on a pork tenderloin tomorrow.

ldorris74 said...

Hi Chef John, first post but not my first visit. First, I would like to thank you for this wonderful blog that you have, I've been a big fan for the last 3 or 4 years. The truffle potato gratin recipe was amazing, unfortunately both times I made it (different ovens) both malfunctioned halfway through baking and the sauce didn't quite come together. It separated, but still tasted great. I'm sure the sottocenere had nothing to do with it. :) Anyways, I made these molasses brined pork chops tonight with white truffle mashed potatoes and grilled asparagus. Amazingly simple and unbelievably delicious chops. Thank you again. They pair excellent with truffles, but what doesn't? Please keep up this amazing site.

EasilyEnthused said...

Chef John - THANK YOU. I have struggled cooking pork my entire cooking career and YOU, SIR, are the best for pork products, hands down.

I just want to say to anyone who might come across this recipe and wonder if it does anything - IT DOES.

Two nights ago I was supposed to make pork chops for guests, but plans changed and I ended up with a bunch of bone-in pork chops with no one to eat it - so I cooked one with just some salt and pepper and was thoroughly unimpressed with the flavor and texture.

After dinner, I looked up this recipe and threw together this brine, the next morning before leaving for work, I dropped the pork in. When I got home 10 hours later, I dried off the pork chops and cooked them the same way that I did the previous night.

Let me tell you - WORLD. OF. DIFFERENCE. Although I couldn't really "taste" the molasses flavor, the texture and aroma was superb.

Another winning recipe, Chef John!

EasilyEnthused said...

Chef John - THANK YOU. I have struggled cooking pork my entire cooking career and YOU, SIR, are the best for pork products, hands down.

I just want to say to anyone who might come across this recipe and wonder if it does anything - IT DOES.

Two nights ago I was supposed to make pork chops for guests, but plans changed and I ended up with a bunch of bone-in pork chops with no one to eat it - so I cooked one with just some salt and pepper and was thoroughly unimpressed with the flavor and texture.

After dinner, I looked up this recipe and threw together this brine, the next morning before leaving for work, I dropped the pork in. When I got home 10 hours later, I dried off the pork chops and cooked them the same way that I did the previous night.

Let me tell you - WORLD. OF. DIFFERENCE. Although I couldn't really "taste" the molasses flavor, the texture and aroma was superb.

Another winning recipe, Chef John!

philogaia said...

I just noticed that my last comment on this was August 2011 when I stated interest in this recipe. Wow does time fly. I did finally make this recipe yesterday evening. I keep a really nice brand of blackstrap molasses, Aunt Patty's, made in Oregon. So that is what I used and it turned out fantastic.

Damon Brown said...

Yes this is the 3rd recipe of yours I've tried this week...and NO I am not a stalker :^). But love the good food and techniques. My favorite local grocery chain here, Publix, had the thick cut chops on the shelf already. I have a Jaccard 45 knife meat tenderizer ( http://www.bedbathandbeyond.com/store/product/jaccard-45-knife-meat-tenderizer/1014327576?skuId=14327576&registryId=6513723)
which I used and soaked them for only 3 hours. Chops came out great but I did want to ask your opinion on these types of tenderizers. Are there any drawbacks? Their claim is they cut down on cooking time, marinating time etc. I've enjoyed it but don't want to poke holes in things I shouldn't. Your thoughts?