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6 Easy Brine Recipes

Marinating meat in a salt water solution leads to juicy, flavorful results.

Pork Chops With Sautéed Apples and PolentaCon Poulos

Want to lock in moisture and add deep, complex flavor to your meats? Experiment with brining, a simple technique that involves marinating your ingredients in a mixture of salt, water, and oftentimes other spices or flavoring agents. To get started, read these tips and tricks on how to brine properly. Then, try the recipes below for pork and lamb.

Basic Flavor Brine

Courtesy of The Great Meat Cookbook by Bruce Aidells ($40,
Makes enough for 4 pork chops; for larger cuts, such as pork loin roasts, double or triple the recipe


  • 3 cups water
  • ¼ cup salt (I use Diamond Crystal kosher salt)
  • ¼ cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 2 cups ice cubes


  1. Stir together the water, salt, and sugar until dissolved. Stir in the ice and any other flavorings and cool the brine to 45°F or lower.
  2. Place 4 pork chops in a zipper-lock bag. Pour in the flavor brine and seal the bag. Place the bag in a bowl in case it leaks and refrigerate for 2 to 6 hours, depending on the thickness of the chops. Remove the chops, discard the flavor brine, and pat the chops dry. Proceed with the recipe, or wrap the chops in plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to cook, up to 2 days.

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Quick Tip


Broccolini is a cross between conventional broccoli and Chinese broccoli. It’s slightly sweeter and more tender than its relatives. If you substitute conventional broccoli in this recipe, cut it into long spears before cooking.