This 8-hour brine will ensure juicier chops, with the tangy addition of mustard balanced by the sweetness of honey. Thyme or marjoram can be used in this recipe depending on availability and personal taste.
A Rioja with lively acidity is recommended below as a foil to that spiciness the mustard brings, keeping any inadvertent bitterness at bay.
- 3 tablespoons whole-grain mustard
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 2 tablespoons kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 4 sprigs fresh marjoram or thyme
- 2 thinly sliced shallots
- 2 cups water
- 2 cups ice cubes
In small pot, combine whole-grain mustard, honey, kosher salt, black pepper, marjoram (or thyme), sliced shallots and water. Simmer over medium heat, stirring to dissolve salt. Remove from heat. Stir in 2 cups ice cubes until melted.
Place pork chops in large, resealable bag and pour in brine. Seal tightly and refrigerate from 8 hours to overnight. Discard brine. Pat chops dry and rub with oil. Cook chops according to instructions.
Cheron Cowan, wine director of Harold’s Meat + 3 in New York City, suggests a wine that highlights the sweetness of the shallots. “One has to be careful with the combination of red wine and spice, because too little acidity or overly aggressive tannins can contribute to a bitter finish,” she says. She recommends R. López de Heredia’s 2004 Vina Todonia (Rioja) from Spain. “The vibrant acidity, restrained tannins and nuanced baking spices, along with the caramelized smokiness of the oak, complement the grilled, sweet and spicy aspects of the dish. Try putting a slight chill on the wine, at just under 50˚F.”