Have you had it with tasteless, juiceless pork chops? Let me tell you the secret that all great chefs know--take the time to brine!


Brining meats is all the rage in professional kitchens and high-end cooking magazines. Most cooking experts agree that brined poultry and meat are more flavorful and succulent. The results are particularly apparent when the meat is cooked in the smoky heat of a covered barbecue, because the brine helps to mask bitter components in smoke that can make foods taste unpleasantly acrid.


Top reasons to use the brining method for pork and poultry of all varieties:

  • Brining is very easy, economical, and requires no special cookware.
  • Brining is like a marinade as it keeps food moist and tender. Brining or salting is a way of increasing the moisture holding capacity of the meat resulting in a moister product when it is cooked.
  • Most brines start with water and salt - traditionally, 3/4 pound of salt per gallon of water, but since we're not concerned with the brine as a preservative, you can cut back on the salt. In my recipe, I just used cup of Kosher salt and it's great!
  • You can add flavor in all sorts of forms such as herbs and spices. Use brown sugar, honey or molasses in place of the sugar (some sweetness tends to offset a saltiness the brine might otherwise impart). You can use apple juice, cider, orange juice, beer, wine, rice wine vinegar, apple cider vinegar, stock, tea, or other liquids to replace some or all of the water. You can also put together decidedly Oriental flavorings with soy sauce or the Japanese rice wine mirin.

This recipe developed from an abundance of dried goods that have been sitting in my pantry. I swear, lentils have a way of multiplying themselves. Well, here is a new way to use some that might be sitting in your pantry. 


Miso Brined Pork Loin and Plant Protein Pilaf



-1 whole pork loin, about 1 pound

-4 peeled garlic cloves, divided

-10 black peppercorns (or a few sprinkles of black pepper)

- cup molasses

- cup Kosher salt

- cup miso paste

-1 cup farro

- cup red quinoa

- cup green or brown lentils

-4 cups water or chicken broth

-1 bunch of collard greens

-2 cups sugar snap peas 



The night a large pot filled with water,  place 3 peeled garlic cloves, 10 black pepper corns (or a few sprinkles of black pepper), cup molasses, cup Kosher salt and cup of miso paste. Bring the water temperature up, but don't let it boil. Remove from heat, allow the mixture to cool and add your pork loin. Allow the meat to brine in the liquid overnight in the refrigerator until you are ready to grill. Dump the liquid and pat it dry. The meat is seasoned and does not require anything in addition.


To grill, fill a large chimney starter with natural lump charcoal and light. Once the charcoal is ashy and white, approximately 30 minutes, dump the hot charcoal onto the lowest grate of the grill and spread into an even layer using extra-long tongs. Place the cooking grate back on the grill and cover with the lid; heat the grate to medium heat for 2 to 3 minutes.


Brush the grill with vegetable oil.  Place tenderloin in the center of grate. Cover and cook for 12 to 15 minutes, turning every 1 1/2 to 2 minutes, until the tenderloin reaches an internal temperature of 140 degrees F.


In a large pot, combine farro (or hard wheat berries), red quinoa, lentils and 4 cups of water or chicken broth. Bring to a boil and cook at a simmer for 20 to 25 minutes. Test drive a bite and make sure everything is tender, but not to the point of mushy.


Meanwhile, cut the hard ribs of the collard greens out of the vegetable and discard. Then chop the leaves into roughly 1 inch squares. Wash and set aside. Wash the snap peas and then cut in half.


When the pork is almost finished grilling, add scallion and garlic into a skillet with a dash of oil. Sautee for 3 minutes. Add chicken stock to the pan, stir then add the greens, peas and 3 cups of the cooked grain mixture. Stir until the liquid has been absorbed almost completely, about another 10 minutes.


Serve 1 cup of the mixture with the grilled pork. Serves 6. 

Kelly Bowlin
Kelly Bowlin
Administration Director & BAC Foodie :) 
Bay Athletic Club
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