It's time to bring pork back from its fat-induced exile

Brining meat adds salt so you don't need to add more at the table.
Brining meat adds salt so you don't need to add more at the table. 123rf

PORK is officially out of the naughty corner for those of us who eat meat.

First it was banished because it was too fatty; then they bred the fat (and the flavour) out of it so nobody really enjoyed it any more.

It was so lean back in the '90s that when cooked it became as tough as an old shoe. These days the fat is back; if you are watching your intake, just cut off the visible stuff and discard it after cooking.

Another easy way to make pork juicy and tender is to brine it before cooking.

Simply put, you marinate the meat in a brine solution that helps the muscle fibres relax and holds in the juices. This method works well for other cuts of meat such as chicken breast fillets.

Brined pork chops


1/4 cup cooking salt

1/4 cup sugar

2 cups hot water

2 cups ice water

4 pork chops

2 tbs olive oil

freshly ground black pepper, to taste

12 fresh sage leaves

2 tbs butter.

METHOD: In a large saucepan, combine salt, sugar and hot water; stir over medium heat until salt and sugar are dissolved. Remove from heat. Add ice water to cool brine to room temperature.

Place pork chops in a glass or ceramic bowl or a large resealable plastic bag; add cooled brine. Cover bowl or seal bag. Refrigerate for two hours, turning chops several times.

Remove chops from brine; rinse and pat dry. Discard brine. Brush both sides of pork with oil. Let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes.

Preheat barbecue or grill. Grill chops at medium heat 4-6 minutes on each side - they should still be a little pink inside. Cover with foil and rest for five minutes before serving.

While meat is resting, melt butter in a small frypan and cook sage leaves until crisp, about five minutes, watching them closely so they don't burn. Season pork with freshly ground pepper to taste and serve with crisp sage leaves. Serves 4.

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Topics:  maggie cooper pork recipes weekend cook weekend magazine

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