Basic Pork Brine

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 0 minutes
Servings: 6

Brining pork chops, even for a short time, provides a little wiggle room on doneness. If you cook the meat for a minute or so too long, the brine will help keep the pork moist. After placing the pork in the brine, refrigerate until ready to cook.


  • 6 cups water 
  • 1/4 cup cider vinegar 
  • 1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar 
  • 1 tsp. dried thyme 
  • 1 tsp. juniper berries (optional) 
  • 1/8 tsp. red pepper flakes 
  • 2 Tbs. kosher salt  
  • 1 Tbs. freshly ground black pepper 


In a large bowl, combine the water, vinegar, sugar, thyme, juniper berries, red pepper flakes, salt and black pepper, and stir until the sugar and salt dissolve. Use immediately. Makes about 6 1/2 cups, or enough for 4 to 6 pork chops.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Grill Master, by Fred Thompson (Weldon Owen, 2011).