Brining Pork

Pork does not have to be brined but it will provide juicier and more flavorful meat. Brining (or salting) increases the ability of the meat to hold moisture. Brining solutions will vary from a simple salt and water solution to a sweet brine in which sugar is added. The more salt that is used the less brining time required, but it will also result in the outside layers of meat being very salty. Using a less salty solution and longer brining time will result in a more even seasoning through all layers to the bone. Use enough brining solution to cover the meat, which should be placed in a large pot, tub or resealable bag and then placed in the refrigerator. Be sure the brine covers the entire cut of meat. When using a brining solution made up of ¾ cup of kosher salt, ¾ cup of sugar, 1 cup boiling water, and 1 gallon of cold water, brine chops and roasts for 12 to 24 hours. A whole loin should be brined for 48 to 72 hours. When first brining, it is a good idea to start with the shorter times and then increase the time if you feel it is necessary, because the longer the meat is in the solution the more salt that soaks into the meat. If the meat becomes too salty there is no way to get rid of the saltiness.

Once the pork has soaked for the proper amount of time, take it out of the solution, rinse it off twice and refrigerate until ready to cook. The brined meat does not need salt added when cooking and it will cook faster than unbrined pork, so you need to watch it closely so that it does not overcook. The brining solutions can also contain other flavorings, such as fresh herbs, clove, cinnamon, vanilla, garlic, and hot pepper flakes.


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