You may have never thought to brine meat in your favorite Southern sipper, but sweet tea infuses this pork with flavor and moisture.
Sweet Tea-Brined Grilled Pork Chops
Makes 4 servings
- 4 cups water
- 3 family-size tea bags
- 1½ cups firmly packed light brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 2 lemons, quartered
- 1 orange, quartered
- 1 cup thinly sliced sweet onion
- 4 cloves garlic, crushed
- 3 sprigs fresh thyme
- 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
- 4 cups ice
- 4 (1½-inch-thick) bone-in pork loin chops
- Grilled orange and lemon, to serve
- Garnish: fresh rosemary
- In a small cast-iron Dutch oven, bring 4 cups water to a boil. Add tea bags; remove from heat. Cover and let stand for 10 minutes. Discard tea bags.
- In an 8-quart container, stir together hot tea, brown sugar, salt, and pepper until sugar dissolves. Squeeze juice from lemons and orange quarters into tea mixture; stir in lemon and orange quarters, onion, garlic, thyme, and rosemary. Stir in ice until melted and tea mixture is cold. Reserve 2 cups tea mixture; cover and refrigerate. Add pork to remaining tea mixture; cover and refrigerate for 24 hours.
- Remove pork chops from tea mixture, discarding liquid and fruit. Let chops stand at room temperature for 30 minutes. Pat chops dry with paper towels.
- Meanwhile, in a small cast-iron Dutch oven, bring reserved 2 cups tea mixture to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat, and simmer until liquid is reduced to 1 cup, about 15 minutes. Keep warm.
- Spray a cast-iron grill pan with cooking spray. Heat grill pan over medium heat. Grill pork, covered with foil and turning every 6 to 8 minutes, until an instant-read thermometer inserted in thickest portion of chops registers 165°, about 20 minutes. Brush reduced sauce onto pork chops; cook for 1 minute. Turn chops; brush with sauce, and cook 1 minute more. Serve chops with remaining sauce and grilled orange and lemon. Garnish with rosemary, if desired.
KITCHEN TIP-You can also brine and grill bone-in chicken breasts this way.