Busted pork chop dinner, how to fix it?

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schlotz

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Jan 13, 2015
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Wanted some grilled pork chops last night. Picked up two pretty thick ~ 2" ones and decided to follow a Bon Appetite recipe to marinate them in soy sauce, rice vinegar (1/4C each) and 2 TBS of brown sugar and let sit in the fridge for 5 hours. (turned a couple of times) Then on to the grill at medium heat (~375º) and basted with a reserved portion of the marinade until the IT was 148-150º. They looked perfect but turned out dry and mostly devoid of any flavor imparted from the marinade. Definitely a busted dinner. Best I can think at this point was the marinade was not strong enough to provide sufficient moisture or flavor. Maybe better to go back to a more standard brine of water, salt, molasses etc and let 'em go for 15 hours or more. What do you think would be a better approach to yield very moist & flavorful chops off the grill?

IMG_0253.JPG
 
They look good, I usually just use the salt and water brine for a few hours then add what flavor I want while grilling them.
 
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decided to follow a Bon Appetite recipe to marinate them in soy sauce, rice vinegar (1/4C each) and 2 TBS of brown sugar
My first thought is you didn't have the actual salt to cause the reaction needed .
What do you think would be a better approach to yield very moist & flavorful chops off the grill?
Dry brine .
I use a Canadian steak seasoning I get from GFS . Trade east is the brand .
This is a pork cushion roast ( comes from the shoulder area ) that was dry brined with the steak seasoning .
The IT temp of this was 185 . Juicy and tender .
20220410_184304.jpg

Your chops look fantastic . I don't like the brine you used .
From my experience , I think you have to watch the vinegar and acidic stuff , because I feel it starts the cooking to some extent . Easy to over cook from that point on , and it needs the salt content to transfer the flavors and add moisture . I know the soy brings some , but I don't think it works in the idea of pulling the moisture out of the meat , mixing with what's one the surface , then reabsorbing .
 
My first thought is you didn't have the actual salt to cause the reaction needed .

Dry brine .
I use a Canadian steak seasoning I get from GFS . Trade east is the brand .
This is a pork cushion roast ( comes from the shoulder area ) that was dry brined with the steak seasoning .
The IT temp of this was 185 . Juicy and tender .
View attachment 692146

Your chops look fantastic . I don't like the brine you used .
From my experience , I think you have to watch the vinegar and acidic stuff , because I feel it starts the cooking to some extent . Easy to over cook from that point on , and it needs the salt content to transfer the flavors and add moisture . I know the soy brings some , but I don't think it works in the idea of pulling the moisture out of the meat , mixing with what's one the surface , then reabsorbing .
Kind of what I've been sitting here thinking some more about as well Rich. Chops are so lean that in order to get some moisture in them its going to take a decent salt based brine. Curious, how long did you dry brine that pork cushion?
 
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Looks fantastic but sorry if turned out that way. Not a fan of salty "hot" brines where you risk oversalting to speed up the results but it can work. I prefer doing a longer brine. I say 24hrs MIN. For those thicker chops, I would say 3-4 days to a week. I would also go a little lower IT on those. Pull around 135F with carryonver to 140ish IT will also help. You simply _MUST_ run some chops using CSS chopsaw chopsaw . Total high end restaurant effect. Just ran some loin dry brined a week on some. Used oak in the Smokefire.

20240316_185706(0)_resized.jpg
 
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Matt . I'll go overnight , sometimes under vacuum , or 3 maybe 4 hours before . Key is giving it time to let the salt pull the moisture out of the meat , liquify , and be reabsorbed .
Don't be afraid to let it warm up on the counter after holding in the fridge , before going on the grill . You have plenty of salt on the surface , and your cook time will be short . So even 30 minutes on the counter plus cooking won't pass 4 hours .
Loin chops after holding with seasoning for a few hours . You can see the juice on the surface . That tells me the surface moisture and the internal moisture have equalled out .
20180520_154820.jpg
 
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Your target temp is way too high.
In my opinion, a marinade is a waste of time.
I use a phosphate brine and over brining/over salting is not an issue.
Grill or smoke to an IT of 140 MAX. Carryover will get you where you want to be.
 
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I've been using the SV for thick chops then searing them off in a CI skillet. Predictable results every time. If there is something on the planet I hate worse than Canada goose crap all over the place, it's a dry pork chop.
 
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For me I prefer my pork chops with salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Straight from the store, seasoned and on the grill. I pretty much know they are done by "look"...usually about the time little puddles of liquid start to form on the meat. Then its one flip and onto the plate covered with foil for a few minutes until its time to eat. Or just eat right away. Now those are normal sized cut kroger style with the bone. Thin cut much less time. Yours look like a thick cut. Not enough to be a double chop but thicker than I usually pick up.

Those are a little tougher to gauge. Probably a little less time on the grill and a little more covered rest time imo. I've done them multiple ways but you shouldn't need to marinade to get moisture in there, just flavor. So if no flavor, and dry as well, something might have been off with the marinade? FWIW I usually just get a store bought bottle of marinade and use that if I am marinating, but I prefer them without.
 
That sucks, they look great though.
:emoji_disappointed:

If at all possible I always wet brine pork.
A thorough wet brine makes lean pork much more forgiving of a little overlooking, i.e. going over 145° IT.

And for lean cuts such as loins and chops try hard not to go over 140°-145° IT.
135°-140° IT for a chop, and the only rest it needs is from the grill to the plate.
 
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Matt , the 185 temp I mention is the target for sliceable pork roast shoulder cuts .
There's plenty of people that like their pork chops toward the high / more well done temps .
My opinion is anything from 140 to 150 should still be tender IF prepped right before cooking .
Like said above it gives you some insurance when cooking to higher temps .
Carry over should be considered in the higher temp cooks , so if you pulled at 148 / 150 the carry over probably took you another 5 degrees or so .
That's part of it , but I still think the soy / vinegar in the beginning was the start of it .
 
Loads of great advice here, and those chops look pretty darned good, tho overcooking happens, then it's too late. Best thing to do when pork comes out a little overcooked and dry? Open up a jar of applesauce for your plate, that stuff does wonders for overcooked dead pig meat, helps out lamb chops that got a little carried away too. RAY
 
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My first thought is you didn't have the actual salt to cause the reaction needed .

Dry brine .
I use a Canadian steak seasoning I get from GFS . Trade east is the brand .
This is a pork cushion roast ( comes from the shoulder area ) that was dry brined with the steak seasoning .
The IT temp of this was 185 . Juicy and tender .
View attachment 692146

Your chops look fantastic . I don't like the brine you used .
From my experience , I think you have to watch the vinegar and acidic stuff , because I feel it starts the cooking to some extent . Easy to over cook from that point on , and it needs the salt content to transfer the flavors and add moisture . I know the soy brings some , but I don't think it works in the idea of pulling the moisture out of the meat , mixing with what's one the surface , then reabsorbing .
I came here to basically say what Chopsaw said in a less articulate way. Brines require salt.

Just my 2 cents.

Brad
 
Looks fantastic but sorry if turned out that way. Not a fan of salty "hot" brines where you risk oversalting to speed up the results but it can work. I prefer doing a longer brine. I say 24hrs MIN. For those thicker chops, I would say 3-4 days to a week. I would also go a little lower IT on those. Pull around 135F with carryonver to 140ish IT will also help. You simply _MUST_ run some chops using CSS chopsaw chopsaw . Total high end restaurant effect. Just ran some loin dry brined a week on some. Used oak in the Smokefire.
I'll have to look for CSS. Think we have a GFS in the next town.

Matt . I'll go overnight , sometimes under vacuum , or 3 maybe 4 hours before . Key is giving it time to let the salt pull the moisture out of the meat , liquify , and be reabsorbed .
Don't be afraid to let it warm up on the counter after holding in the fridge , before going on the grill . You have plenty of salt on the surface , and your cook time will be short . So even 30 minutes on the counter plus cooking won't pass 4 hours .
Loin chops after holding with seasoning for a few hours . You can see the juice on the surface . That tells me the surface moisture and the internal moisture have equalled out .
Good advice Rich, thanks!

Your target temp is way too high.
In my opinion, a marinade is a waste of time.
I use a phosphate brine and over brining/over salting is not an issue.
Grill or smoke to an IT of 140 MAX. Carryover will get you where you want to be.
Yup, really looks like I went too far on the IT before pulling which definitely made 'em dry.

Overcooked. With carryover the final IT was probably close to 155-160.
Agreed!
I've been using the SV for thick chops then searing them off in a CI skillet. Predictable results every time. If there is something on the planet I hate worse than Canada goose crap all over the place, it's a dry pork chop.
Yup that kinda spelled out we we ended up with.

For me I prefer my pork chops with salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Straight from the store, seasoned and on the grill. I pretty much know they are done by "look"...usually about the time little puddles of liquid start to form on the meat. Then its one flip and onto the plate covered with foil for a few minutes until its time to eat. Or just eat right away. Now those are normal sized cut kroger style with the bone. Thin cut much less time. Yours look like a thick cut. Not enough to be a double chop but thicker than I usually pick up.

Those are a little tougher to gauge. Probably a little less time on the grill and a little more covered rest time imo. I've done them multiple ways but you shouldn't need to marinade to get moisture in there, just flavor. So if no flavor, and dry as well, something might have been off with the marinade? FWIW I usually just get a store bought bottle of marinade and use that if I am marinating, but I prefer them without.
There is something to getting them done correctly at this thickness. No problem with CSRs since there is fat involved but lean chops on the grill are tough for me to get right and still moist. Then of course there's getting some flavor out of them.

I think the finish temp is the key as other said. Pull at 130-135 and rest for finish temp of 140.
Definitely in my notes to pull in that range next time, regardless of prep method. Thanks Jeff!
That sucks, they look great though.
:emoji_disappointed:

If at all possible I always wet brine pork.
A thorough wet brine makes lean pork much more forgiving of a little overlooking, i.e. going over 145° IT.

And for lean cuts such as loins and chops try hard not to go over 140°-145° IT.
135°-140° IT for a chop, and the only rest it needs is from the grill to the plate.
Yeah John, I'm leaning towards a 5% gradient brine for 3-5 hours for the next attempt and definitely pulling in the 135-140º range. Thanks!

Loads of great advice here, and those chops look pretty darned good, tho overcooking happens, then it's too late. Best thing to do when pork comes out a little overcooked and dry? Open up a jar of applesauce for your plate, that stuff does wonders for overcooked dead pig meat, helps out lamb chops that got a little carried away too. RAY
Ah, the old stand by applesauce to the rescue trick! Why didn't I think of that? Just was too ticked off about botching a dinner I guess. Thanks for reminding me though, Ray!
 
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