Buttermilk Brined Pork Chops

Buttermilk Brined Pork Chops

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If you’re looking for a tender and juicy pork chop recipe, then you’ve found it! These pork chops are marinated in buttermilk for a zesty, flavorful brine that infuses tenderness and flavor. I’ve learned that buttermilk is the ideal brine for pork, chicken, and turkey. Because a buttermilk marinade helps tenderize the meat, keeps it moist during cooking, and seasons the pork. Get this simple pork chop recipe and cook these delicious, buttermilk brined pork chops tonight!

A platter of buttermilk brine pork chops.

Soaking Meat in Buttermilk

What’s so great about buttermilk? Well, it’s the perfect base for a brine or marinade. The acidity and calcium in buttermilk helps break down the proteins in meat.

So, soaking meat in buttermilk makes meat more tender.

Since meat contains a lot of water and very little salt, brining is a reverse osmosis process (see chart below). Over time, the brining allows a natural shifting of moisture in the meat, making it more tender.

You can learn how and why brining works here.

To recap, the effects of brining are:

  • Pork chops marinated or brined in buttermilk are more flavorful, tender, and juicy.
  • The buttermilk infuses flavor, while the acidity and calcium break down the protein rendering it more tender.
  • The reserve osmosis process by the brine keeps the meat juicy.

Brine Pork Chops Overnight

As you can imagine, brining is a long process. Ideally, brine pork chops overnight for the best results.

Due to the osmosis process during brining, it takes about 8 hours. Although you don’t want to over-brine your meats, 8 to 24 hours is ideal.

A chart showing the osmosis process that occurs when soaking meat in buttermilk brine.
From: https://stellaculinary.com/cooking-videos/food-science-101/fs-002-science-behind-brining-four-part-video-lecture

Buttermilk Brine Pork Chops Ingredients

The buttermilk brine pork chops ingredients are simple and easy. In fact, most of them are already in your pantry:

  • buttermilk
  • brown sugar
  • olive oil
  • garlic
  • bay leaves
  • hot sauce (or red pepper flakes)
  • bone in pork chops
  • salt and pepper (or all purpose seasoning)
A package of pork chops and the ingredients to make buttermilk brined pork chops. A bowl of buttermilk, olive oil, and spices.

This buttermilk pork chop recipe is very adaptable, like most brines and marinades.

You can use any type of buttermilk, including non-fat. It’s the acidity, calcium, and sodium that do the work.

TFN Tip: Did you know that you can freeze buttermilk (and other dairy like milk, cheese, and butter)? Since I don’t use buttermilk very often, I freeze it in 1/2 cup measurements. Once it’s frozen solid, I keep frozen buttermilk in a Ziplock bag in the freezer. It keeps for up to 3 months in the freezer.

I recommend bone in pork chops for this buttermilk pork chop recipe. Although my preference is center cut, bone in pork chops, other bone in cuts will work well, too.

While testing this recipe, I tried different cuts of pork chops including boneless. However, boneless loin chops did not come out nearly as tender and juicy as the bone in pork chops.

Typically, boneless chops are leaner without the fat marbling that bone-in chops have. So, the cut of meat (pork) is important here.

To learn more about the different cuts of pork chops, read this.

Pork Chops Marinated in Buttermilk Brine

To get started with these pork chops marinated in buttermilk, let’s make the brine. It is a simple, and easy recipe. And, it takes less than 5 minutes to make.

First, mix the seasonings in a small bowl to combine. Then mix the liquid ingredients and seasonings for the brine right in the container you plan to use to marinade the pork chops.

Add pork chops and let marinate overnight, covered, in the refrigerator. As a minimum, marinate the pork chops in the brine for at least 8 hours.

A shallow bowl of pork chops soaking in buttermilk brine with a package of pork chops and measuring spoons in the background.

The Best Cooking Methods for Marinated Pork Chops

There are many ways to cook tender and juicy pork chops. Our preferred method is grilling, but you can get equally great results from frying and baking, too.

First prepare your pork chops by brining

  • Remove pork chops from the brine, and discard brine.
  • Rinse off the pork chops and dry with paper towels.
  • Coat with a thin layer of olive oil.
  • Season with salt and pepper or all purpose seasoning (whatever is your preference).
  • Let rest at room temperature for 30 minutes.

Then, you are ready to fry, air fry, make, or grill the pork chops. Get the directions below for these different cooking methods.

Buttermilk Fried Pork Chops

Doesn’t everyone love fried pork chops? Once you know how to marinate pork chops for frying, I doubt you will prepare them any other way! Since these fried pork chops are flour free, they are perfect for those keto or low carb.

Here’s how to make the best buttermilk fried pork chops:

First, preheat your skillet (cast iron is perfect for this) on medium high heat. Add 1/4″ of cooking oil and allow to heat until the oil is shimmering on the surface.

Then, gently add your pork chops to the skillet without overcrowding them. If your skillet is small, fry them in batches. Cook for 4-5 minutes per side.

Use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature of the meat. Pork chops are done when they reach an internal temperature of 145º.

Buttermilk Pork Chops in Air Fryer

Yes, you can air fry pork chops! Here’s how to make buttermilk pork chops in air fryer:

First, preheat your air fryer to 400º for 5 minutes. Then, place the pork chops in the air fryer basket or an oven-safe baking sheet.

Cook pork chops in air fryer at 400 degrees for 5 minutes, then flip and cook for another 5 minutes.

Use a meat thermometer to measure the internal temperature of the meat. Pork chops are done when they reach an internal temperature of 145º.

Baked Buttermilk Pork Chops

When you’re busy in the kitchen, baking pork chops is the perfect fix it and forget it method. After all, baking leaves you free to focus on the other parts of your dinner.

To make easy baked buttermilk pork chops:

First, preheat the oven to 375º. Then, place the pork chops in an oven safe dish and bake for 15 minutes.

Use a meat thermometer, take the internal temperature of the largest pork chop. Pork is done when it reaches an internal temperature of 145º.

To give the pork chops a golden, seared look, place them under a broiler for 2-3 minutes.

A platter of seasoned pork chops ready to grill, fry, air fry, or bake. In the background is an instant read thermometer.

Grilled Pork Chops

Our favorite way of preparing pork chops is on the grill. We are able to grill year-round here in California.

Here’s how to make the best grilled pork chops:

First, preheat grill to medium high heat (about 375º) and lightly brush the grates with vegetable oil.

Then add the pork chops to the grill. Grill over direct heat for 7 minutes per side.

Use a meat thermometer to measure the internal temperature of the meat. Pork chops are done when they reach an internal temperature of 145º.

What side dishes go well with pork?

Of course, you want to the perfect side dishes that go well with your tender and tasty pork chops! Here are some recipes to create the perfect dinner:

Serve your pork chops with loaded potato casserole, easy drop biscuits, and roasted green beans. And, a fruit cobbler would be the perfect dessert.

Frequently Asked Questions

Will my pork chops have a buttermilk taste?

No, the pork chops will not taste like buttermilk. Rather, the buttermilk gives the pork chops a rich, tangy taste.

Can I use this brine for chicken, turkey, or a pork loin?

Yes, you can use this buttermilk brine recipe for other meats like chicken, turkey, or pork loin/roasts. I love brining whole turkeys and chickens in this buttermilk marinade.

Does buttermilk tenderize the pork?

The acidity and calcium in the buttermilk helps breakdown the proteins, and tenderize the pork.

How long do you marinate pork chops in buttermilk?

Marinate the pork chops in buttermilk for at least 8 hours, and up to 24 hours.

How can I tell if my pork chops are done?

Use an instant read thermometer to check the internal temperature of the pork chops. If the temperature is 145º they’re ready to serve after a 3 minute rest. This temperature is in line with USDA recommendations on cooking meat https://www.usda.gov/media/blog/2011/05/25/cooking-meat-check-new-recommended-temperatures.

A platter of grilled pork chops, make from the Buttermilk Pork Chop recipe.

Buttermilk Pork Chop Recipe

Buttermilk Brined Pork Chops
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5 from 1 vote

Buttermilk Brined Pork Chops

This simple, easy brine recipe uses buttermilk for the most tender, juicy pork chops. Buttermilk helps tenderize the pork, keep the pork chops moist, and gives them a zesty, flavorful taste.
Course Dinner, Main Course
Cuisine American
Keyword 30 minute meals, Dinner, Easy Dinner, gluten-free, Main Course, Make Ahead
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
resting time 5 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Calories 415kcal

Equipment

  • Grill, Broiling Pan, or Skillet

Ingredients

  • 1.5 cups buttermilk
  • 2 Tbsp brown sugar, packed
  • 4 Tbsp olive oil, divided
  • 4 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 2 dried bay leaves
  • 2 tsp hot sauce (or 1 tsp red pepper flakes + 1 tsp vinegar)
  • 4 bone in, center cut pork chops
  • Kosher salt (or all purpose seasoning)
  • ground pepper

Instructions

Brine the Pork Chops

  • Make the brine: mix spices in a small bowl. Add buttermilk, brown sugar, 2 Tablespoons olive oil, garlic, hot sauce, and spice mixture to a large shallow bowl.
  • Add the pork chops to the brine, ensuring they are completely submerged. Cover the bowl and refrigerate for at least 8 to 24 hours.
  • Remove the pork chops from the brine. Discard the brine. Rinse the pork chops and dry with paper towels.
  • Rub or brush pork chops with 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Season with salt and pepper or all purpose seasoning. Let meat sit at room temperature for 30 minutes.

To fry pork chops:

  • Preheat your skillet (cast iron is perfect for this!) on medium high heat and add 1/4" of cooking oil. Gently add pork chops to the skillet without overcrowding them. If your skillet is too small, fry them in batches.
  • Cook for 4-5 minutes per side. Use a meat thermometer to measure the internal temperature of the meat. Pork chops are done when they reach an internal temperature of 145º

To air fry pork chops:

  • Preheat your air fryer to 400º for 5 minutes. Cook pork chops in air fryer at 400 degrees for 5 minutes, then flip and cook for another 5 minutes.
  • Use a meat thermometer to measure the internal temperature of the meat. Pork chops are done when they reach an internal temperature of 145º

To bake pork chops:

  • Preheat the oven to 375º. Place the pork chops in an oven safe dish and bake for 15 minutes.
  • Use a meat thermometer, take the internal temperature of the largest pork chop. Pork is done when it reaches an internal temperature of 145º.
    To give the pork chops a golden, seared look, place them under a broiler for 2-3 minutes.

To grill pork chops:

  • Preheat grill to medium high heat (about 375º) and lightly brush the grates with vegetable oil. Grill pork chops for 7 minutes per side over direct heat.
  • Use a meat thermometer to take the internal temperature of the largest pork chop. Pork is done when it reaches an internal temperature of 145º.

Serving Instructions

  • Let pork rest for 5 minutes before serving.

Nutrition

Serving: 1pork chop | Calories: 415kcal | Carbohydrates: 11g | Protein: 32g | Fat: 26g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Cholesterol: 100mg | Sodium: 237mg | Potassium: 633mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 10g | Vitamin A: 149IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 123mg | Iron: 1mg

Buttermilk Marinated Pork Chops

Now you know how to make the best tender, juicy, pork chops marinated in buttermilk. And, how brining brings out the best in pork and poultry.

With this easy, make ahead process to brine pork chops overnight, dinner is ready in less than 30 minutes.

Get more simple, easy pork recipes:

Instant Pot Sour Cream Pork Chops

Sheet Pan Pork Tenderloin

Pork Carnitas (Pulled Pork) Recipe

Brine your turkey this Thanksgiving! Get the recipe:

https://thefeatherednester.com/thanksgiving-dinner-top-5-recipes/

Have you made a The Feathered Nester recipe?

We’d love to see it!

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