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Recipe: Apple Cider Brine For Pork

Elizabeth Karmel says this brine is good for soaking pork chops, pork loin, fresh ham, chicken and turkey. I haven't tried the others, but I can certainly vouch for the pork chops. Be sure you give the ice cubes a stir to help them cool down the hot solution before you pour it over the meat. The recipe is adapted from Elizabeth Karmel's Soaked, Slathered, and Seasoned (Wiley 2009).

Apple Cider Brine For Pork
T. Susan Chang for NPR
Apple Cider Brine For Pork
T. Susan Chang for NPR

Makes 2 quarts, easily enough for 8 chops

2 cups cold water

1 cup kosher salt

1 cup packed light brown sugar

2 teaspoons dried thyme, or 2 sprigs fresh thyme

1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns

1 teaspoon whole cloves

4 cups unfiltered apple cider

2 cups ice cubes

In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, bring the water, salt, sugar, thyme, peppercorns and cloves to a boil. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until the sugar and salt dissolve. Remove from the heat, add the apple cider and ice cubes, and stir well.

Put the meat in a nonreactive pan or extra-large resealable bag and cover with the cooled brine. Cover or tightly close the bag and refrigerate for 6 to 12 hours. If you are using a resealable bag, rotate the pork a few times to make sure all of the meat gets brined. Before roasting, remove the pork and pat dry with paper towels.

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