Brined Pork Chops with Thyme – GFCFSF

June 29, 2014

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Brined Pork Chops with Thyme - GFCFSF

1/2 cup kosher salt
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon juniper berries (or black peppercorns)
1 head of garlic, halved crosswise, plus 2 unpeeled cloves for basting
2 large sprigs thyme
1 2-inch-thick bone-in pork chop (2 ribs; about 1 1/4 lb.)
2 tablespoons sunflower, canola or safflower oil
3 tablespoons Earth Balance Soy-Free Natural Buttery Spread
Flaky or coarse sea salt

Bring 2 cups water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add kosher salt, sugar, juniper berries, peppercorns, halved head of garlic, and 1 thyme sprig; stir to dissolve salt and sugar. Transfer to a medium bowl and add 5 cups ice cubes. Stir until brine is cool. Add pork chop; cover and chill for at least 8 and up to 12 hours.

Remove chop from brine; pat dry. Heat oil over medium-high heat in a large cast-iron or other oven-proof skillet. Cook chop until beginning to brown, 3-4 minutes. Turn and cook until second side is beginning to brown, about 2 minutes. Keep turning chop every 2 minutes until both sides are deep golden brown, 10-12 minutes total or until an instant-read thermometer inserted horizontally into center of meat registers 135°. (Chop will continue to cook during basting and resting.)

Add margarine, 2 unpeeled garlic cloves, and remaining thyme sprig; cook until margarine is foamy. Carefully tip skillet and, using a large spoon, baste chop repeatedly with margarine until margarine is brown and smells nutty, 2-3 minutes. Transfer pork chop to plate and let rest for 15 minutes.

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Chops in brine
Chops in brine