- 2 quarts water
- 1/3 cup kosher salt
- 3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar or maple sugar
- 4 packed tablespoons fresh sage leaves
- 1 Tablespoon Juniper berries, crushed with the side of a knife
- 2 garlic cloves, lightly smashed with the side of a knife (we choose to substitute 1 stick of cinnamon)
- 1 Tablespoon ground black pepper
- Four 1 1/2 -inch bone-in pork chops, 12 ounces each (or 1 bone-in pork loin, 2 shoulder steaks, or fresh ham steak. We also brine our shoulders before smoking for pulled pork)
- Combine all the brine ingredients in a pot large enough to hold the pork and bring to a simmer, stirring to dissolve the salt and sugar. Remove from heat and let cool completely, then refrigerate until cold.
- Add the pork to the brine and refrigerate for 2 hours. (If brining a larger piece of pork, increase the brine time to 6 hours for thick chops and 12 hours for roasts.)
- Remove the pork from the brine, rinse under cold water, and pat dry with paper towels. Refrigerate, uncovered, for at least an hour, or up to a day.
- To grill the chops: Prepare a hot fire in one side of a grill. Sear the chops over the hot coals on both sides, then move them to the side away from the coals, cover the grill, and finish cooking over indirect heat to an internal temperature of 145 to 150 degrees F. about 10 more minutes.
To pan-roast the chops: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Heat an oven-proof sauté pan over high heat, add a film of our lard or canola oil, and sear both sides of the chops. Place the pan in the hot oven and roast until the chops reach an internal temperature of 145 to 150 degrees F which is about 14 to 15 minutes.
Regardless of the cooking method, let the pork rest for 5 minutes before serving.