These buttermilk pork chops are brined for tenderness and flavor. They’re perfect for a quick weeknight dinner or Sunday dinner. So, make our buttermilk brined pork chop recipe tonight!
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Why Use a Buttermilk Brine?
I’ve learned that buttermilk is the ideal brine for pork, chicken, and turkey.
It helps tenderize pork, keeps it moist during cooking, and seasons the meat. The acidity and calcium in buttermilk help break down the proteins in meat. That makes the meat tender.
Since pork contain a lot of water and little salt, using a salty brine creates a reverse osmosis process (see the chart below). Over time, it allows a natural shifting of moisture in the meat.
Learn how it works in this brining article, and why:
- Marinated/brined pork and poultry are more flavorful, tender, and juicy.
- It infuses flavor, while the acidity and calcium break down the protein rendering it more tender.
- The reserve osmosis process keeps the meat juicy.
How Long Should I Brine Pork?
As you can imagine, brining is a long process. So, I recommend overnight for the best results or all day.
The reverse osmosis process takes about 8 hours. Although you don’t want to overbrine your meats, so 8 to 24 hours is ideal.
Ingredients for this Recipe
The ingredients for this recipe are simple. In fact, most of them are already in your pantry or fridge:
- brown sugar
- olive oil
- bay leaves
- hot sauce (or red pepper flakes)
- bone-in pork chops
- salt and pepper (or all-purpose seasoning)
- optional: peppercorns for the marinade
This buttermilk brined pork chops recipe is adaptable, like most brines and marinades are. 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 (as well as milk, cheese, and butter)? Since I don’t use buttermilk very often, I freeze it an ice cube tray Once frozen, I pop the cubes out and store then in a Ziplock bag for up to 3 months in the freezer.
What Pork CUt Should I use?
I recommend using bone-in pork chops for this buttermilk brine recipe. Although my preference is center-cut, bone-in, other cuts will work, too. Look for well marbled cuts for the best results.
While testing this recipe, I tried different cuts of pork, including boneless. However, boneless loin chops were not quite as tender and juicy as the bone-in.
Typically, boneless chops are leaner with less fat marbling than bone-in chops. So, the cut of meat (pork) is important here.
To learn more about the differences, read this post on cuts of pork.
Prepare the Brine and Marinate
To get started, let’s make the buttermilk brine. It is simple and easy, and it takes less than 5 minutes to make.
First, mix together the ingredients for the brine marinade.
Add pork chops and let them marinate overnight, covered, in the refrigerator for 8-24 hours.
Cooking Methods for Brined Pork
There are several different cooking methods that work with this recipe. Our preferred method is grilling, but you can also get equally great results from frying and baking.
- Remove meat from the brine, and discard the brine.
- Rinse off the chops and dry them 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 15- 30 minutes before cooking.
Then, you are ready to fry, air fry, make, or grill the pork chops. Get the full directions for these different cooking methods in the recipe below.
Fry them for a delicious low-carb and keto pork dinner. I love using my cast iron skillet or Dutch oven! Have them ready to serve in just 20 minutes or so.
Did you know you can air-fry a juicy pork chop in less than 10 minutes? Talk about the the ideal quick weeknight dinner!
When you’re busy in the kitchen, baking is the perfect fix-it-and-forget-it method. After all, baking frees you up to focus on the other parts of your dinner.
Grilling is our favorite way of preparing meat. There’s nothing like cutting into a perfectly grilled pork chop with those hallmark grill marks with that smoky grilled taste.
What Shound I serve with this recipe?
Of course, you want the perfect side dishes that go well with your tender, tasty pork chop! Here are some recipes to create the perfect dinner:
Frequently Asked Questions
No, the pork chops will not taste like buttermilk. Rather, the buttermilk gives the pork chops a rich, tangy taste.
The acidity and calcium in the buttermilk help breakdown the proteins, and tenderize the pork.
Marinate the pork chops in buttermilk for at least 8 hours, and up to 24 hours.
Use an instant-read thermometer to check the internal temperature of the pork chops. If the temperature is 145ºF they’re ready to serve after a 3-minute rest. This temperature is in line with USDA recommendations on cooking meat.
Buttermilk Marinated Pork Chops
Now you know how to make the best tender, juicy buttermilk pork chops. And how brining brings out the best in pork and poultry.
With this easy, make-ahead process to brine your meat, dinner is ready in less than 30 minutes.
Buttermilk Brined Pork Chop Recipe
Buttermilk Brined Pork Chops
- Grill, Broiling Pan, or Skillet
- 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 (or peppercorns)
Brine the Pork Chops
- Make the buttermilk brine: Mix buttermilk, brown sugar, 2 tablespoons olive oil, garlic, bay leaves, and hot sauce together in a large shallow bowl or ziplock bag.
- Add the pork chops to the brine, ensuring they are completely submerged. If using a bowl, cover it. Refrigerate pork chops in brine for at least 8 hours and up 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 two tablespoons of olive oil then season with salt and pepper or all-purpose seasoning. Let the meat sit at room temperature for 15 – 30 minutes.
To pan 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 o 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.
- Let pork rest for 5 minutes before serving. Garnish with parsley, if desired.
Brine your turkey this Thanksgiving! With this simple, Brined Turkey Breast recipe!