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Brining-I'm in need of improvement

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 

I'm a newbie to brining so I downloaded a recipe on line and started small.

Item: 4 Pork Chops, bone-in, 3/4 inch thick. Brined for 18 hours

Method: BBQ grill, Medium Hot, direct heat for 20 minutes turned once and added Stubbs rub before cooking and Stubbs BBQ sauce at the end.

Result: too salty, little dry and semi tuff.


Where'd I go wrong

post #2 of 8

What brine recipe did you use? For pork chops I use 3/4 cup kosher salt, 3/4 cup sugar, and 1 quart of water. I typically brine pork chops between two hours and four hours max. If you brine meat too long it can mess with the texture of the meat.


Did you rinse off the chops after you brined them. I find meat can be too salty if I don't rinse them off. 


The saltiness could also have come from the Stubbs rub. Since the chops have been salted using the brine, any additional salt could make the meat too salty. 



post #3 of 8
Thread Starter 


I think you nailed it with the added rub. Here is the recipe I used to brine (my first brine) :



I appreciate your input and I'm going for a pork loin next time.


Keep em smokin




post #4 of 8

Too long in brine or too high of salt content in solution, plus added salts in the rub and sauce are the most likely reasons for being too salty. Never use added salts in rub or any other treatmentments when using a brine or brine/cure. Too long of brining time can also result in mushy meats, in some cases.


Being too dry is generally attributed to being over-cooked, with some causes being preperation before cooking....you can't cook meats by time, even if a recipe calls for it. The recipe was likely written by someone who used a different cooker than you have, and uses it often enough to know it very well. Temps with grills can only be estimated by holding the palm of your hand above the grate, viewing the flame of a gas grill burner or viewing the coal-bed in a charcoal grill, but the hand-hold is generally the best approach.


With most cuts of small meat (excluding chicken), I use a very hot grill...somewhere in the neighborhood of 700* grate temp. This will give a nice sear by the time it's ready to flip. I only flip the meat one time...I check color byslightlylifting the edge(s) so as to not dump those juices over the side. If it's not seared to my liking, I give it another minute and take another look before you flip. I sear over the hottest area of the grill I can find, then after flipping it over and searing the opposite side, if I find the meat seared too quickly (not often the case) I can simply move it to a cooler area of the grill (or warming rack) to finish to my desired temp.


Being tough is likely from over-cooking as well. With the addition of sauce, you won't have any reference as too how done they really are. Maybe the KISS method would be in order. Sounds like alot going on, many flavor and appearance changing processes, and it's too easy to over-cook even without all that going on.


I consider chops to be more difficult to cook than cut-up chicken, as they are generally too thin to probe for internal temps, so I cook by look and feel. I like to see a small puddle of juices formed on top before I flip the first time, then allow the juices to puddle again before removing from heat. You can make a small slit into the meat beofre removing for a quick look inside at color. Let them rest a couple minutes before cutting into the chop to redistribute thejuices as the meat begins to cool. If done to medium well (160* minimum for pork), they should be just slightly pink and loaded with juices.


At any rate, I never go by time when cooking meats, regardless of who says that's the way they did it...it just doesn't work for me.




post #5 of 8


so far I am batting  500 on smoking chops. 1 great 1 horrible. no middle ground it seems. 3rd try tomorrow. 


chops are butcher fresh and about 1 to 1.25" thick. they cut thicker on request.


brine 12 hrs max. I use sea salt and half the recommended 1 cup per gallon ratio. I also try to use bottled water.the process  use:


1.add sea salt to water 1/2 cup per gallon.

2.bring to a boil.

3.as cooling down add spices and liquids: garlic clove(or minced in a pinch),1/2 tsp or rosemary, 2 bay leaves, un-cracked peppercorns (medley mix usually).1 cup apple juice

4.once cool add pork and brine 12 hrs:

5. rise off and pat dry. add light dusting of rub. Little goes a long way for Chops IMO

6. smoke at 225- 250. At least an hour in my case. I use hickory,apple,cherry mix

7. spritz with apple juice to keep moist

8. pull before it get dry. Wrap in foil and return to smoker

9, check every 10 min when it hits finish temp and pull from heat.



I am still experimenting but I think maybe getting down to 200 might be even better option for a more deeper smoke flavor and not so dry.


post #6 of 8
Thread Starter 

My thanks to all for the great brine insight. I'll try and do your advice proud.



post #7 of 8

It sounds like they have you covered.


The only thing I would add would be the longer in the brine the saltier the meat will get.


You may want to soak it for an hour in fresh water to get some of the salt out.


The other thing is with the new USDA guidelines pork is considered safe at 145 degrees, which IMHO is much juicier than pork at 160.


To me your chops sound like they were overcooked.

post #8 of 8
Thread Starter 

Thanks for ther hand. And you are right I'm sure about the over cook. I try not to decimate the food to the point where its unedible. Your tip will go into my food locker. Thanks

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