Grilled-Brined Pork Chops with Vinegary Onions

grilled brined pork chops with vinegary onions

Right now, we want to be barefoot in the grass. We won’t come inside for dinner, and a quick grill is about all the cooking we can do--don’t interrupt our summer lazin’ around! Brining is the secret to a succulent grilled pork chop. We've paired ours with bracing, vinegary onions, and the two balance each other out for a perfect bite in each forkful. We use small, fresh onions with their stems and buds, but any white onion will work.

Serves 4


Grilled-Brined Pork Chops

  • 2tablespoons fine sea salt
  • 1tablespoon raw sugar
  • 12teaspoon celery seed
  • 1bunch cilantro stems
  • 14teaspoon freshly ground peppercorn
  • 1clove garlic, sliced
  • 12cup hot water
  • 4thick bone-in pork loin chops (about 10 ounces per chop)
  • oil for grilling
  • In a 9x13-inch baking pan combine the first 7 ingredients together. Stir to dissolve sugar and salt. Add 1 ½ cups cold water and submerge the pork chops. If the liquid does not cover the chops, add more water. Cover and refrigerate for 4 hours or overnight.
  • 2
  • Heat the grill to medium high. Remove pork chops from brine, discard liquid. Pat chops dry. Brush with oil. (Do not season them!)
  • 3
  • If you’re using a charcoal grill, bank the coals against one side of the grill. Regardless of whether you’re using charcoal or gas, grill chops indirectly, about 4 minutes per side, until the internal temperature reaches 135 degrees. Let the meat rest on a platter for 10 minutes before tucking in!

Vinegary Onions

When we made these, we used onions with their flower buds. The buds grow out of the top of fresh onions and make the elegant shapes that we love to look at on the plate. They taste good, too! If you can’t find onions with their buds, just go ahead without plain white onions. The Vinegary Onions will still turn out beautifully.

  • 6small white spring onions, peeled and halved
  • 4cloves garlic
  • 12teaspoon celery seed
  • 12bunch cilantro
  • 11-inch piece of cinnamon stick
  • 1whole clove
  • 2bay leaves
  • 5whole peppercorns
  • 12-inch piece of ginger, peeled and quartered
  • 12teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 2tablespoons sugar
  • 12teaspoon sea salt
  • 112cups white vinegar
  • Place all ingredients in a medium saucepan. Cover and bring to simmer over high heat. Let simmer for about 7 minutes, until onions have softened a bit but still hold some crunch. Remove pan from heat, let cool for 10 minutes, covered. Serve alongside Grilled Brined Pork Chops.