Cider and Beer Brined Chops

As promised, this post is all about my most recent experiment with brining; combining cider and beer.

First, you all know that I love to brine. And if you’re eating pork or poultry, my opinion is always to brine that baby first.

I’ve done cider brines and I’ve done beer brines, but I have not combined them.

Last Sunday I decided to do just that.  I had some cider that needed used up and I had a fall inspired pecan beer that would pair well with the cider.

I used up the last of the cider so I don’t know exactly how much was left but I’m going to guess about two cups or thereabouts.

Andrea’s Cider and Beer Brined Chops

  • 2 Thick cut, bone-in pork loin chops (Blues Creek)
  • 2C Apple Cider (get fresh and local!)
  • 1 12oz Bottle of Abita Pecan Harvest Ale + 1/4C (more if you make gravy)
  • 1/4C Brown Sugar
  • Slightly more than 1/4C Kosher Salt
  • 2 Jalapenos, sliced in half
  • 1/2 Small onion, + 1/4 Small Onion, sliced
  • 2 Garlic Cloves
  • Red pepper flakes
  • Chili powder
  • Garlic Powder
  • Smoked Paprika

*As much as you want of the seasonings

In a large bowl combine the cider, 12oz beer, salt, and sugar.  Stir until the sugar and salt are dissolved.  Add in the other seasonings, garlic, 1/2 onion, and jalapenoes and stir.  Add in the chops. Top mixture off with more water until the chops are completely submerged.  Quick stir and place in fridge.

Let brine in fridge for at least 5 hours.

Remove from brine, gently rinse chops under cold water and pat dry.  Sprinkle with garlic powder, chili powder, and smoked paprika on both sides.  Allow to rest for at least a half an hour to take the chill off the chops.

Preheat oven to 400.

In a sautee pan, drizzle in a little olive oil and heat over medium heat.  Add in chops and sear chops on each side.  Add the 1/4 of an onion, and about 1/2C of Pecan Ale.  Place in oven and roast until cooked through.  About 15-20 minutes.

Remove from oven and let chops rest for about 5 minutes before serving.

I also made a quick pan gravy for the chops.  In a blender, I blended up the beer and onions that were in the skillet with the chops.  I then added that mixture to a roux of olive oil, butter, and flour.  I added in more chicken stock and another 1/2C of beer to create the gravy.  A little pinch of salt and pepper brought it all together.

These chops turned out really well.  Leaving the bone in meats is automatically going to guarantee you more flavor and a juicier bite, by adding a brine to that makes those attributes even more prominent.

Both Scott and I were really pleased with the way these turned out and the chops were so HUGE that neither of us could finish our portions.  Scott had the leftovers the next day for dinner.

They are also flavorful enough on their own that you don’t need gravy but well, it was a gravy kind of day so I went for it.  It was my first time making gravy with beer and it didn’t turn out too shabby.

These would be great for grilling too.  Add in some hickory chips for extra umph!

What are your thoughts on brining? What is your favorite brine?

Have fun guys, and remember, always play with your food! Enjoy!

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