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Quest For The Perfect Pork Loin Chop & Lite Brine

thirdeyethirdeye Posts: 7,428
edited 12:15PM in EggHead Forum
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In my quest for the perfect pork loin, I've actually done a reversal on my brining method. The universal standard for brines is 1 cup (about 8 ounces) of salt per gallon of water. My standard flavor brine base has been 6 ounces (or about 3/4 cup) of salt per gallon of water, with optional goodies mixed in. I've had great luck with it. My new brine, which I'm calling my Lite Bine has only 3-1/2 ounces of salt per gallon of water (.875 ounces per quart of water).

I know, I know..... that's supposed to be too weak. I've said it myself for years. Heck, SmokinOkie would most likely call it salt water instead of a brine. Hehee.

So far I have done 4 full loins and 3 batches of loin chops, and I'm really liking the extra moistness I'm seeing. In all fairness I tend to season loins and loin chops more heavily than a pork steak or ribs for that matter, so I can't tell if it helps on flavor delivery like the traditional brines do. The next experiment will be done using an unseasoned chop.

Anyway, here are the Lite Brined Chops from the first turn (top picture) to the first slice.

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Happy Trails
~thirdeye~

Barbecue is not rocket surgery

Comments

  • Grandpas GrubGrandpas Grub Posts: 14,226
     
    Very interesting, thanks for posting. Those sure do look nice.

    Kent
  • FlaPoolmanFlaPoolman Posts: 11,671
    Now I'm hungry again. I've never brined loins guess I might have to give it a try.
  • Great pictures!
    Every time you post, you remind me that I need to work on my photography skills. I bought a nice Pentax camera thinking that would do the trick but there must be a lot of tricks I don't know about.
  • Little ChefLittle Chef Posts: 4,725
    Thirdeye...Love the work you do for the BGE community! You truly go above and beyond. ;) Great looking chops to say the least.
    Just curious...probably on your website...but what internal pull temp do you use on chops and loin? Those look to be in the low 140's after rest. Thanks!
  • Grandpas GrubGrandpas Grub Posts: 14,226
     
    Willy, your Pentax will do a great job, it's a pretty good camera and very decent lenses.

    Kent
  • thirdeyethirdeye Posts: 7,428
    And thank you! These only took a quart of brine and I used that new sea salt.
    Happy Trails
    ~thirdeye~

    Barbecue is not rocket surgery
  • thirdeyethirdeye Posts: 7,428
    Tip #1: Read the manual.

    Tip #2: Take a lot of pictures. On a good day, only about 1 in 10 is a keeper.
    Happy Trails
    ~thirdeye~

    Barbecue is not rocket surgery
  • Grandpas GrubGrandpas Grub Posts: 14,226
     
    Did you notice any difference in the flavor with the salt? I can taste a difference in flavor between that and the sea salt sold at the local grocery store. The Real Salt seem a bit stronger also to me.

     
  • Clay QClay Q Posts: 4,435
    Great lookin chops! :cheer:
  • thirdeyethirdeye Posts: 7,428
    Thanks for the kind words..... I usually pull them at 141° to 145°. If I have a rib end roast, it comes off at 145°. The chop I sliced actually crept up to 150° during the rest. I like to think brining is kind of a cushion just in case I slightly over cook the meat.

    I think the looks of that sliced picture were deceiving. The indoor lighting did make the meat a little pinker than it actually was, and the coloring in the juices was residual from the chili powder and paprika which was in the peppery rub I used.
    Happy Trails
    ~thirdeye~

    Barbecue is not rocket surgery
  • thirdeyethirdeye Posts: 7,428
    Oh yes, I like the flavor. It seems sharper or crisper if that makes sense.
    Happy Trails
    ~thirdeye~

    Barbecue is not rocket surgery
  • Grandpas GrubGrandpas Grub Posts: 14,226
     
    Sharper or crisper, that is a good description. Let me know if you run out, I know where to get it.

    Kent
  • Grandpas GrubGrandpas Grub Posts: 14,226
    NM
  • thirdeyethirdeye Posts: 7,428
    Sorry. Brine time was 2-1/2 hours. Then they were rinsed, dried, seasoned and returned to the fridge for 1 hour.

    Pit temp was around 350°, I started with a raised direct set-up until the internal passed 100°. Then I moved the grate back to the normal position, turned often until the internal temp was mid 140's
    Happy Trails
    ~thirdeye~

    Barbecue is not rocket surgery
  • Grandpas GrubGrandpas Grub Posts: 14,226
     
    Thanks for the further details, my guessing would have been completely different.

    GG
  • HossHoss Posts: 14,600
    ORGASMIC!!!! :whistle: You da BOY BLUE!!! B)
  • JLOCKHART29JLOCKHART29 Posts: 5,897
    Never thought of brining chops before but I will now!! Those look amazing! I like pork loin chops but always a little dry no matter the temp you cook them at. Great cut of meat and good price but just a little dry.
  • thirdeyethirdeye Posts: 7,428
    Right, the boneless whole loins are a great price, lower in fat, easy to cut up, cook pretty quickly, and have a variety of uses. They are an excellent value.

    Even though the bone helps keep a bone-in chop moist, brining them goes one step further. I've actually had folks get slightly suspicious because of all the moisture they will retain.....


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    Happy Trails
    ~thirdeye~

    Barbecue is not rocket surgery
  • krickskricks Posts: 244
    I'll never do chops on the EGG again unless I brine them. Those look MAHVELOUS!
  • bitslammerbitslammer Posts: 818
    While that ratio may appear weak it really comes down to simple chemistry and the fact that even a lighter brine will carry water and flavor into the meat by osmosis so long as there's more salt in the brine than in the meat. May just take longer and not have as much effect.

    I'm a die-hard fan of Wishbone Robusto Italian for my thick chops. While I would say I marinate in it there's certainly some brining taking place given the salt content.

    By coincidence I just did some last night and the judges were unanimous in saying these were some of the best chops ever. I think I got lucky and snagged some real good meat. Once you have that the sky's the limit. When you're unlucky and get "bad" meat to begin with its hard to overcome.

    There were juicy, tasty and tender. The perfect pork trifecta. No plated pic but the leaked all over the plate when cut.


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  • thirdeyethirdeye Posts: 7,428
    Those look great. In addition to the science behind enhancements like marinades, brines etc., you still have to cook them evenly and not overdone.

    With those perfect grill marks, did you start with the grate low, then raise it later?
    Happy Trails
    ~thirdeye~

    Barbecue is not rocket surgery
  • Hey Wayne;
    Those chops look perfect! How long did you brine them for?

    Chris
  • 2Fategghead2Fategghead Posts: 9,623
    thirdeye wrote:
    I started with a raised direct set-up until the internal passed 100°. Then I moved the grate back to the normal position, turned often until the internal temp was mid 140's

    I was trying to understand the reason for this. thanks Tim
  • thirdeyethirdeye Posts: 7,428
    Brine time was 2-1/2 hours. Then they were rinsed, dried, seasoned and returned to the fridge for 1 hour.

    Pit temp was around 350°, I started with a raised direct set-up until the internal passed 100°. Then I moved the grate back to the normal position, turned often until the internal temp was mid 140's
    Happy Trails
    ~thirdeye~

    Barbecue is not rocket surgery
  • Thank you

    Chris
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