Below you'll find step-by-step instructions for how to easily brine your pork chops or pork tenderloins, and for how long.
A brine is essentially just salt and water. It helps prevent moisture loss during cooking, and the salt also helps tenderize the meat from the inside out.
If you want an extra juicy piece of pork, brine it before cooking. You can make an effective brine just with salt and water, but additional seasonings do help.
If you are just looking to brine one (1) pork chop or tenderloin, or up to 4 at a time, a quick ratio of salt to water is 4 cups of water and 3 Tbsp of salt / for 30 minutes up to 4 hours. Below, we'll walk you through the steps — with more seasonings.
Step 1: Heat salted water in pot
- Set a pot over medium heat. Add two (2) cups of water and/or two (2) Tbsp of maple syrup or brown sugar*.
- Next, add 3 Tbsp of kosher salt.
- Stir and let the mixture simmer for 5-8 minutes over medium heat.
*The sugar/maple syrup is not required for a brine, but adds a bit more flavour.
Step 2: Bring off heat
- Once your salt mixture has simmered, bring it off the heat completely and set it down on a heat-resistant surface.
- Next, you may add: 1 Tbsp of whole black peppercorns, 1 clove garlic, 2 sprigs fresh thyme, 1 strip lemon rind*
*Again, these seasonings are not required. They add a lot of flavour, so we recommend using them, but you can successfully make a brine without them.
Step 3: Add ice cold water
- Add two (2) cups of ice cold water to the brine. This is a critical step because you DO NOT add pork to a hot brine.
- Test the water to make sure it is now room temperature. If still hot, leave it to cool down further.
Step 4: Pour brine over pork
- Once your brine has cooled to room temperature, pour it over your pork chop or pork tenderloins in a bowl or oven dish.
- Make sure they are fully submerged.
Step 5: Refrigerate
- Cover your brining pork and refrigerate for 30 minutes up to 4 hours.
Step 6: Pat pork dry
- Once ready, remove your pork from the brine.
- Pat them dry with a paper towel or clean kitchen rag.
And that should be it. Your brined pork is ready to be cooked. You likely don't need to add any more salt to your meat. The brining process already did that for you.
- If you're still stuck, be sure to watch someone brine pork step-by-step in 50 seconds.
- The salt to water ratio discussed (4 cups water to 3 Tbsp of salt) is best used for 1-4 servings of pork chops or pork tenderloins.
- Some people wash their meat after brining. You can do this, but just patting them dry works as well. Personal preference!
- Just remember not to add more salt to your recipe if you brined
While you're here, we've compiled a few of our popular, easy pork recipes:
This article is part of our on-going commitment to make pork cooking information accessible for Ontarians (and the world).
Only quick and easy guides here, no fluff. If you are interested in more how to cook pork information, see here: