Pan-Roasted Brined Pork Chop

Photo by Romulo Yanes

Photo by Romulo YanesPhoto by Romulo YanesBy Bon Appétit

Brining these chops makes them moist, tender, and seasoned throughout, and the sugar helps create a dark, caramelized sheen. At Brooklyn's Vinegar Hill House, chef Brian Leth uses heritage pork, which is fattier and more flavorful than ordinary chops; we highly recommend it.

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Pan-Roasted Brined Pork Chop
Recipe by Brian Leth
2 servings

Ingredients 1/2 cup kosher salt
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon juniper berries
1/2 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
1 head of garlic, halved crosswise, plus 2 unpeeled cloves for basting
2 large sprigs thyme
1 2-inch-thick bone-in pork chop (2 ribs; about 1 1/4 lb.)
2 tablespoons grapeseed or vegetable oil
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
Flaky or coarse sea salt

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Preparation
Bring 2 cups water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add kosher salt, sugar, juniper berries, peppercorns, halved head of garlic, and 1 thyme sprig; stir to dissolve salt and sugar. Transfer to a medium bowl and add 5 cups ice cubes. Stir until brine is cool. Add pork chop; cover and chill for at least 8 and up to 12 hours.

Preheat oven to 450°. Set a wire rack inside a rimmed baking sheet. Remove chop from brine; pat dry. Heat oil over medium-high heat in a large cast-iron or other oven-proof skillet. Cook chop until beginning to brown, 3-4 minutes. Turn and cook until second side is beginning to brown, about 2 minutes. Keep turning chop every 2 minutes until both sides are deep golden brown, 10-12 minutes total.

Transfer skillet to oven and roast chop, turning every 2 minutes to prevent it from browning too quickly, until an instant-read thermometer inserted horizontally into center of meat registers 135°, about 14 minutes. (Chop will continue to cook during basting and resting.)

Carefully drain fat from skillet and place over medium heat. Add butter, 2 unpeeled garlic cloves, and remaining thyme sprig; cook until butter is foamy. Carefully tip skillet and, using a large spoon, baste chop repeatedly with butter until butter is brown and smells nutty, 2-3 minutes.

Transfer pork chop to prepared rack and let rest, turning often to ensure juices are evenly distributed, for 15 minutes. Cut pork from bones, slice, and sprinkle with sea salt.

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