The latest recipe in our “Weeknight Dinners” series comes from Geneva resident Edith Tarter, a regular contributor at Go West Young Mom. I will confess that I have never “brined” a cut of meat, but she makes it seem easy enough that I might just have to give it a try! — Tara
Brining a turkey is a major challenge, usually reserved for big holidays. Brining smaller cuts of poultry or pork is easy enough for a weeknight meal and allows you to use inexpensive cuts of meat. Brining meat before cooking yields a tender and juicy entrée (that shouldn’t taste salty).
A brine usually consists of water, salt and sugar, but additional spices can be added, depending on what you want as an outcome. My recipe details a basic brine, but try add-ins like bay leaves, peppercorns, brown mustard … the choices are endless! Try brining boneless chicken breasts; you’ll be amazed at the flavor boost a quick brine bath will give the chicken. My kids are especially fond of brined chops that are patted dry, then rubbed with brown sugar, cumin, allspice and black pepper before cooking. Around our house, that combination is fondly known as “Mama’s Good Pork Chops.”
Brined Pork Chops
3 lbs pork chops or country ribs
1/3 cup table salt
1/3 cup sugar
Directions: Mix salt and sugar with enough warm water to dissolve, add the chops and cover with cold water. Brine the meat for 30-60 minutes (longer brining on thin cuts makes meat tough). Drain and pat dry. Pan fry or broil on both sides until done (8-10 min depending on thickness).