Brine For A Pork Loin – Delicious Recipe
The Reason Brining is Different
The best way to ensure your pork tenderloin is not dry is to enhance the flavor with brining as opposed to using a marinade. You pork loin will be flavorful and exceptionally juicy every time. The reason your pork loins may have dried out in the past is that the cut of the meat is extremely lean. Even if you cook your pork a few minutes longer than you should, it can become dry.
When you use a brine for pork loin, you will increase the flavor and the moisture of your meat. This means your pork will be juicier right from the start. You can add flavor to your meat by using a marinade. Unless your marinade has salt, you will not be improving the tenderness of your meat. The key to a good brine formula is the salt. Sodium will tenderize your meat because it helps break it down.
You want to leave your pork loin in the brine for one to two hours. Never leave your meat in brine for more than 24 hours. If there is a label on your pork loin that says enhanced, it means a brining solution has already been injected. Brining is so easy a brine recipe for pork is not necessary. You simply use one tablespoon of salt for every cup of water.
You will need enough brine to cover your entire loin. In most cases, four to six cups of brine should be enough. Even if your recipe for pork tenderloin does not include a brine, do it anyway. Brine will improve the flavor and texture of your pork while seasoning it all of the way through.
The Best Way to Prepare Brine For a Pork Loin
You do not need any special cookware for brining your pork loin. You are simply keeping the moisture in your pork while it is being cooked. The most common types of salt used for brining are kosher and table salt with no iodine. Pro Tip: you can use sea salt but it is expensive and offers the same results.
You need to understand kosher salt and table salt are not the same. One cup of table salt weighs ten ounces. Depending on the brand, one cup of kosher salt weighs five to eight ounces. This means if you use kosher salt you must use more to achieve the same results.
You can offset the salty flavor of the brine with flavorings. You have a wide variety to choose from including:
- Apple juice
- Rice wine vinegar
- Brown sugar
- Apple cider vinegar
- Orange juice
- Japanese rice wine mirin
- Soy sauce
You must refrigerate your meat and brine formula below forty degrees Fahrenheit. A good brine recipe for pork includes the following ingredients.
- One gallon cold water
- One cup of boiling water
- Three-quarters cup granulated sugar
- Three-quarters cup coarse kosher salt
- One tablespoon black pepper
Dissolve your sugar and salt into the boiling water. Add to your cold water and stir in the pepper. Do not add your pork until the brine has chilled in your refrigerator. Salt is essential but you can experiment with different seasonings. Adding a one-half cup of sugar to every two quarts of water will encourage your pork to brown and provide a sweet flavor. We recommend the following seasonings.
- Cinnamon stick
- Hot pepper flakes
- Coriander seed
- Vanilla bean
- Sichuan peppercorns
- Fresh herbs
- Mustard seed
- Juniper berries
- Star anise
You can use a resealable plastic bag, stainless-steel bowl or a heavy-duty plastic tub for your brining container. You must make certain your brine formula completely covers your pork loin. Pro Tip: Use a plate to weigh down your pork to ensure it remains covered by your brine.
You can figure out how much brine you will need by putting your pork line in the container you intend to use. Cover your meat with water, then remove your pork. Now measure the water. After removing your pork for the brine formula, rinse it twice and discard your brine.
Preparing Your Pork Loin
You will need:
- A four or five-pound pork loin with a layer of fat on the top
- One-half cup salt
- Two bay leaves
- Four sprigs of thyme
- Six cups water
- One-half cup dark brown sugar
- One handful of peppercorns
- Two sprigs of rosemary
Combine your water with the salt and brown sugar and bring to a boil. Once the salt and sugar are completely dissolved, add your bay leaves, thyme, peppercorns and rosemary. Simmer for approximately five minutes at low heat. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature. Once your brine formula has cooled completely, place it in a bag with a ziplock. Seal the bag and squeeze out a much of the air as you can.
Place the bag into a large bowl or a pot containing your pork loin. Make certain your prok loin is covered completely by the brine solution. Put the bowl into your refrigerator for a minimum of twelve hours and a maximum of 24 hours.
Cooking the Pork Loin on Your Grill
Once your pork has spent enough time in your brine, it is time to prepare your grill. Since your pork roast is probably quite large, you want it to cook for a longer period of time over indirect heat. This process is a lot like roasting a pork loin in your oven. The difference is the smoke pouches. Make certain you have removed your pork from the refrigerator 45 minutes before you are ready to begin cooking.
Place your pork onto a platter in your kitchen so it has enough time to warm up to room temperature. Now you are ready to start preparing your smoke pouches and your grill. You need to prepare a minimum of two smoke pouches. Soak your wood chips in water for roughly thirty minutes before you add them to the smoke pouches. Use heavy-duty aluminum foil and make certain the edges of your pouches are tightly sealed.
Once your smoke pouches are ready, rinse your pork loin and pat it dry using paper towels. Now take fresh ground black pepper and rub it all over your pork. Light your grill to the highest setting. Once your grill is fully heated, place your smoke pouches on the sides of your grill. This will enable them to begin to smoulder.
You need to sear every side of your pork loin. This will give your pork really nice grill marks. Your pork will not only taste good and be exceptionally juicy, but the grill marks will also make it appear even more appetizing. Once you have finished searing your pork, turn off the center burner or burners of your grill. This will enable you to cook your pork using indirect grilling.
Elevate your pork loin just enough to get a drip pan underneath. If a drip pan will fit beneath your grates, do so. If there is no separate middle grate on your grill, you can use the rack from your roasting pan to elevate your pork. Place your seared pork fat side up on your rack or grate. Ensuring the fat is on the top will keep your pork loin even juicier.
Pro Tip: Do not trust the built-in thermometer on your grill. The only way to make certain your pork loin is cooking at approximately 300 degrees Fahrenheit is to put your meat thermometer directly next to the pork you are cooking on your grill.
Close the lid of your grill but make certain you check your thermometer for about the first twenty minutes. This will make certain your temperature is correct. You can adjust the burners you have on to ensure you are cooking at the right temperature. Watch your smoke in case you need to add more so your smoke keeps going.
After approximately one hour, insert your meat thermometer into your pork loin. You need to place it in the thickest portion of your meat. Now close the lid. Keep cooking until your meat thermometer reads 150 degrees Fahrenheit.
Pro Tip: Always use a good instant-read thermometer as opposed to a metal dial thermometer. The instant-read is accurate, never needs to be calibrated and will last for your entire life. If you have an iPhone, there are reference apps enabling you to look up the correct internal temperature for whatever type of meat you are cooking.
Take your pork loin off of your grill and put it onto a platter. Use aluminum foil to make a tent over your pork. Let your pork loin set for approximately fifteen minutes so the juices have a chance to distribute through your meat. Remove the aluminum foil, carve and enjoy.
The Sensational Flavor
Nothing tastes quite like meat using a brine for a pork loin. We are sure your pork loin will be tender, juicy and extremely flavorful. Remember you can use a brine for tenderizing any type of pork. You are well on your way to becoming a brining expert. So keep cooking and enjoy.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why do you brine pork loin?
Pork loin is a lean cut of meat. Despite the fact that it has a nice fat cap on the top, there is very little intramuscular marbling inside the meat. The brine uses salt to denature the proteins in the meat, allowing it to absorb extra liquid. This helps it from drying out when you cook it.
How long should you brine pork?
Whether you’re brining pork chops or an entire pork loin, you can leave it on the brine for anywhere from 12 to 24 hours. An overnight brine in the refrigerator is the most common way to brine a pork loin. Brining the pork for longer than 24 hours is not recommended, as it can cause the meat to become mushy.
What is the salt to water ratio for a brine?
A basic brine ratio is a quarter cup (4 tablespoons) of salt for every quart (4 cups) of water. You only need enough liquid to cover the meat, so you can scale this ratio up or down depending on the size of the pork loin.
Do you rinse meat after brining?
If you brined your pork loin in a solution that’s very high in salt, you may want to rinse the meat to remove the excess from the surface. Rinsing the meat after it sits in a sugar brine is a good idea because the sugar can burn on the grill. It’s not necessary in a brine that follows the standard ratio and doesn’t contain sugar; you can just pat the meat dry with a paper towel.
How long does it take to cook pork loin on the grill?
We start by searing every side of the pork loin over direct heat on a hot grill, which gives it nice grill marks and locks the juices inside the meat. From there, we move the pork loin to the indirect heat side of the grill and cook it for about an hour, until it reaches 150 degrees Fahrenheit on an instant read meat thermometer.