Apple Cider Brined Pork Chops (Paleo, Whole30)
Succulent, tender grilled apple cider brined pork chops with a delicately sweet note that is only enhanced by the aromatic fall spices and sultry smokiness. Every bite is a burst of juicy flavor that can only be accomplished with this sweet and earthy brine. This Paleo and Whole30 friendly recipe is sure to satisfy that craving for the perfect pork chop and goes great with homemade applesauce!
If you’re like me, busy with work and keeping up with an active family, it can be easy to fall into dinner patterns of eating the same dishes on repeat, I know I am so guilty of this! Insert this brine recipe: an easy way and tasty way to enhance the flavors of your pork chops. Taking a little time to brine these babies before hitting the grill makes all the difference between a mouthwatering bite and one that is dry and tough. Trust me, you will forever want to brine your pork chops after having these!
Why Pasture Raised vs. Conventional Pork
What does it mean to source humanely raised animal products verses conventional ones? Humanely raised animals such as pigs, chickens, and cows, are raised on pastures where they are able to forage and eat a diet that is natural and healthy for them. Healthy animals yield healthy products, increasing the nutrients themselves and the nutrient density of what you are eating. Conventional sources of animal products are from animals that are raised in harsh conditions, often in warehouses where the animals are locked in, confined without sunlight, and unable to eat their natural diets yielding products that are less nutritious and potentially inflammatory.
Pasture raised pork is higher in nutrients and is better for the environment. Let’s talk about nutrition first.
- Antioxidants: Pasture raised pork is higher in antioxidants, specifically vitamin E. This essential fat-soluble vitamin is a powerful antioxidant that plays a role in reducing oxidative stress by neutralizing free radicals that may result in illness or disease. Vitamin E is essential in vision health, skin health, and reproductive health .
- Vitamins and Minerals: Pasture raised pork is higher in vitamin D, a fat-soluble vitamin that plays a role in bone health, calcium absorption, immune function, and more. A majority of Americans are deficient in vitamin D and the most bioavailable form is not from supplements, but from real food like pasture raised pork. Selenium is a mineral that is essential in thyroid health, detoxification and helps to make DNA  and pasture raised pork has higher levels than conventional.
- Omega-3s: With the Standard American Diet (SAD) being full of omega-6 fatty acids, most Americans are consuming an unbalanced ratio of omega-6 to omega-3. Due to the way the food industry raises animals, most of the animal proteins that we consume no longer have the omega-3s like pasture raised animals do, the way nature intended. Omega-3s are essential in reducing inflammation, cellular health, and vessel health.
Essential Amino Acids
The nine essential amino acids found in pork and their roles are :
- Histidine: necessary for the production of histamine and also plays a role in nervous system health
- Valine: necessary in energy production as well as muscle growth and repair
- Phenylalanine: building block for neurotransmitters like dopamine and epinephrine (adrenaline), and in the production of other amino acids.
- Leucine: necessary in stimulating wound healing, muscle repair, and blood sugar regulation.
- Isoleucine: necessary in immune function and energy regulation.
- Tryptophan: necessary building block for serotonin.
- Methionine: necessary in detoxification, metabolism, and in your body’s ability to absorb selenium (supports thyroid health) and zinc (necessary in production of HCl in your stomach).
- Threonine: necessary in skin and connective tissue health.
- Lysine: necessary in hormone production and your body’s ability to absorb calcium (bone, heart, muscle and nerve health.)
Vitamins and Minerals
- Vitamins: Pasture raised pork is rich in B vitamins: B1 (thaimine), B3 (niacin), B6, and B12.
- Minerals: Pasture raised pork is rich in iron, phosphorus, selenium, and zinc.
So grab some pasture raised pork and let’s get cooking!
Apple Cider Brined Pork Chops Ingredients
5-6 Bone in Pork Rib or Loin Chops, 1.5”-2” thick
1/4 cup Coarse Sea Salt
3 cups Fresh Organic Apple Cider
1/4 cup Fresh Lemon Juice
1 tsp Whole Black Peppercorns
2” Ginger, thinly sliced
3 Cloves Garlic, thinly sliced
1 tsp Whole Allspice Berries
1 Orange, sliced
1/3 cup Fresh Sage Leaves
1-2 sprigs Fresh Rosemary
6 cups Ice
How to Make Apple Cider Brined Pork Chops
1. In a medium saucepan, combine all of the ingredients except the pork chops and ice.
2. Bring to a low simmer over medium heat, stirring to dissolve the salt.
3. Simmer for 5-7 minutes for all the aromatics to infuse the apple cider.
4. Add the ice cubes to a large bowl and pour the brine into the bowl, stirring to melt the ice cubes.
5. Refrigerate the brine for 60-90 minutes until it has completely cooled down.
6. Add the pork chops and submerge them as much as possible into the brine, refrigerate 4-6 hours.
7. Preheat the grill to 425 degrees.
8. Remove the chops from brine and pat dry with clean paper towels.
9. Grill the chops for 4-5 minutes per side, if you want a crosshatch, flip the chops 90-degrees at the halfway point, for each side.
10. Rest for 5-10 minutes and serve with The Best Homemade Applesauce!
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Q: Can I brine the chops overnight in the refrigerator?
A: Over brining the meat can lead to your pork chops being too salty.
Q: Can I make the brine a day or two ahead of brining the pork chops?
A: Yes, I do this all the time to save time!
Q: Can I season the pork chops after brining them?
A: Yes, you can add other spices and seasoning, I would avoid more salt or spices that contain more salt.
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I am a holistic nutritionist with an auto-immune disorder, a love of cooking, and a passion for holistic health.
Sharing what I make and eat with all of you…in hopes that you find inspiration here to fuel your body and feel your best with nutrient dense whole foods and clean eating.