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Maple Brined Pork Chop

I love maple syrup. It's like liquid sugar, but ... better! (Un)fortunately, a low carb way of eating doesn't really support the idea of liquid sugar. However, (un)fortunately, there are alternatives with varying degrees of synthesis. I keep adding the "(un)", because I can see both sides of these particular coins. Pure natural maple syrup is natural, but ... floods the blood with sugars. The good with the bad. Then, synthetic maple flavors with often synthetic sweeteners replicate the taste and texture of a maple syrup, but ... who really knows what's in that stuff.

I often eat these things and tend to believe they're ok, as long as most of your foods are whole, largely unprocessed and natural. The occasional dip on the synthetic side may not be optimal, but it keeps me sane. The jury is still out on that last statement. ;)

Pork loins have virtually no fat in them. They DO have a nice layer of fat on the outside, but pork loins still tend to be a bit on the dry side. Brining them in advance REALLY makes for a beautiful, delicious and extremely moist and clean cut of meat. The maple flavor really just brings these flavors home.

Yum.

Note: Pork chops vary in size and the brine is mostly thrown away. I'm not really sure how to handle the nutrition on this one, so I'm just going to set the amounts to zero for everything.
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Total Time6 hrs 40 mins
Servings: 4 Servings
Calories: 626.08kcal
Author: DJ Foodie

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1/2 cup sugar free maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup kosher salt (or 2 tbsp table salt)
  • 4 each garlic cloves crushed
  • 1/2 each small onion chopped
  • 1 each bay leaves
  • 1 sprig fresh thyme
  • 1/2 tbsp fresh cracked black pepper
  • 2 1/2 cups ice water
  • 4 each thick cut pork chops (double cut with bone-in preferably)
  • salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste

Instructions

  • In a large pot (large enough for a gallon of liquid), bring your 1 1/2 cups of water to a boil.
  • Add the salt and whisk the water, until the salt dissolves.
  • Remove the water from the heat and add the remaining ingredients, except the ice water and pork.
  • Allow it to sit for about 15 minutes, to cool.
  • Add the ice water and stir. Make sure the brine is cold.
  • Add the pork. Make sure the pork is completely submerged. If it's not, you can weigh the pork down, or add a little more ice water.
  • Brine the pork for between 2 and 10 hours. Any brining is good, even an hour. Longer is better, up to 12 hours. After 12 hours, the pork starts to deteriorate.
  • When the pork has been brined, remove it from the brine and wash thoroughly under cold water.
  • Discard the brine. It cannot be re-used.
  • Dry the pork well.
  • Here's where this recipe breaks down a little bit. Season the pork with a touch of salt and pepper. Then use your favorite cooking method for the pork chops. A grill is a great way to go. You can also bake them, or sear them in a hot sauté pan, then bake in the oven. In most cases, because of the thickness of the pork, I'd recommend having a pre-heated oven (to 425° F). Whether you grill, bake or sauté, you should probably finish the cooking process inside a hot oven.
  • Once the internal temperature of the pork reaches 140° F, remove from the oven. Cover the pork with foil and allow it to rest for 10 minutes, before serving.
  • Serve with a healthy drizzle of fake maple syrup!

Nutrition

Serving: 4g | Calories: 626.08kcal | Protein: 34.89g | Fat: 52.82g