Sweet Tea-Brined Grilled Pork Chops


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
Serves: <br>
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
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.