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

By Betty Gold
Updated November 06, 2019
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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 with pork or lamb.

Basic Flavor Brine

Ingredients

  • 3 cups water
  • ¼ cup salt
  • ¼ cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 2 cups ice cubes

Directions

  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 or lamb 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.

Caribbean Flavor Brine

Ingredients

  • 2 ½ cups water
  • ½ cup dark rum
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons salt
  • 3 tablespoons dark brown sugar
  • 1 ½ tablespoon molasses
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 cups ice cubes

Directions

  1. Stir together the water (and any other liquid ingredients), 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 or lamb 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.

Kentucky Brine

Ingredients

  • 2 ¾ cups water
  • ¼ cup bourbon
  • ¼ cup salt
  • 3 tablespoons sorghum molasses, Steen’s Pure Cane Syrup, or molasses
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 2 cups ice cubes

Directions:

  1. Stir together the water (and any other liquid ingredients), 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 or lamb 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.

Stout and Malt Brine

Ingredients

  • 2 ½ cups water
  • ½ cup Guinness or other stout
  • ¼ cup salt
  • 3 tablespoons malt syrup or real maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon A.1. Steak Sauce
  • 2 cups ice cubes

Directions

  1. Stir together the water (and any other liquid ingredients), 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 or lamb 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.

Sweet and Spicy Brine

Ingredients

  • 3 cups water
  • ¼ cup salt
  • 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • ¼ cup pomegranate molasses or cherry syrup
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh mint
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • ¼ cup minced onion
  • 2 tablespoons finely grated lemon zest
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 2 cups ice cubes

Directions

  1. Stir together the water (and any other liquid ingredients), 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 or lamb 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.