Monday, January 11, 2010

Ad Hoc pork brine

I was given a couple of cook books for Christmas, Thomas Keller's Ad Hoc and Michael Ruhlman's Ratio. I was very excited to dig into both of them, Ratio seems like an easy way to remember how to cook just about anything whereas Ad Hoc just seemed to have some great recipes.

My plan is to post more about these books as I use them, but I did already use the pork bring recipe from Ad Hoc. I wanted to make Rory and I something nice to eat before heading out New Year's Eve and found some nice bone-in pork chop at the store.

My luck with pork brines in the past had been hit or miss but mostly miss. I really hadn't cared for the flavor or didn't really notice it enough to care with some past recipes I had tried. This one was different though.

1/4 cup plus 2 TBLS honey
12 bay leaves
3 large rosemary sprigs
1/2 bunch thyme
1/2 cup of garlic cloves, crushed
2 TBLS black peppercorns
1 cup of kosher sale
8 cups of water

The cookbook recipe call for combining all ingredients in a large pit and bring to a boil and then cooling. I did that, but only added half the water., As soon as the salt and everything was dissolved I added the remaining cold water. You don't have to wait as long to add the meat this way. Also, I hadn't planned well so I needed to get the chops in there sooner rather than later.

I decided to do this last minute so I didn't have any rosemary and used dried thyme. I bring the chops for about seven hours and the results were spectacular. They had a great flavor and were really juicy. You probably don't want to bring them for much longer than eight hours, according tot he book.

I seared the chops in a hot cast iron pan and then put them in a 350 degree oven for another 15 minutes to finding cooking. These chops were pretty thick so if you get thinner ones you might not have to finish in the oven.

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