Brined Pork Chops with Grilled Pineapple

These brined pork chops are juicy and tender because of the brine they sit in for 1 to 6 hours before being grilled. The spice rub gives them a great flavor and the pineapple makes them a perfect summer dish.

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Brining is a perfect way to infuse seasoning and flavor into pork and poultry while also ensuring that the meat remains moist. It works similarly to a marinade and uses the rule of osmosis to allow flavors to penetrate the meat, rather than just seasoning the outside surface. You basically make a very salty solution and allow the meat to sit in that solution for a period of time – allow it to marinate. The dictionary definition of osmosis is “the movement of water or other solvent through a plasma membrane from a region of low solute concentration to a region of high solute concentration.” This means that if the water outside the meat is higher in sodium than the water in the meat, moisture will be drawn out of the meat in order to dilute the exterior solution. Then,    at some point the water in the meat will be higher in sodium than the solution the meat is sitting in and the reverse will happen – water will start to be drawn into the meat, along with al the flavors that you’ve put into your brine. (If you’re not a science-lover, or just don’t care why brining works, ignore that paragraph except for the first sentence!)

Pork chops sitting in a shallow dish of brine.

The important thing to remember when you do brine meats, is that you rinse the brine off after it has marinated, dry it well and do NOT season the meat again with salt. In this recipe, we rub a spice blend on the pork instead.

Pork chops on a parchment-lined quarter sheet pan with a spice rub.

The pork chops can sit out for about an hour or so to come to room temperature before you grill. This will allow the chops to cook faster on the grill and it gives you the necessary time to get the grill ready, especially if you are cooking on a charcoal grill like I do. 

Spice rubbed pork chops on a charcoal grill grate.

How long you need to cook the chops depends entirely on how thick they are. Chops that are roughly 1-inch thick with the bone still in will take about 5 minutes per side, give or take a minute. You can mark your chops with cross-hatch marks on the grill if you choose to, but it’s not necessary. A single set of grill marks is just fine.

Pork chops on a charcoal grill.

You’ll know the chops are cooked through because they should feel firm to the touch with just a little give when you press on them with your finger. You can also check the internal temperature of the chops with an instant read thermometer – the temperature should be 150ºF. The next step is critical – the pork chops must rest. Remove them to a plate and cover them loosely with foil while you grill the pineapple. 

Pineapple slices on a charcoal grill grate.

The pineapple should only take about 5 minutes, which is perfect for the chops to rest. All you have left to do is serve everything to your guests.

Grilled brined pork chops on a wooden board with pineapple slices and parsley.

Brined Pork Chops with Grilled Pineapple

  • Prep Time: 15 m
  • Cook Time: 15 m
  • Brining Time: 6 h
  • Servings:
    4

Ingredients

Brine:
  • 4 cups water
  • ¼ cup kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 4 cloves garlic smashed
  • 2 tablespoons grated fresh gingerroot
  • 4 cloves
  • ½ to 1 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes
  • 2 cups ice cubes
Dry Rub:
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • ½ teaspoon dry mustard powder
  • 1 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
  • 4 bone-in pork chops 1-inch thick
  • 4 slices fresh pineapple cut in half and core removed
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper

Instructions

  1. Make the brine by bringing all the brine ingredients except the ice cubes to a boil in a saucepan. After the brine boils and the salt and sugar have dissolved, add the ice cubes to help cool the liquid. Once the brine is cool, place the pork chops in a shallow baker or a zipper sealable plastic bag and pour the brine over the top. Let the pork chops sit in the brine in the refrigerator for 1 to 6 hours.
  2. Remove the pork chops from the brine, rinse them under cold water and pat them very dry with clean kitchen towels. Combine the spice rub ingredients and rub the mix into both sides of the pork chops. Let the chops rest at room temperature for 30 minutes while you pre-heat the grill to medium-high heat.
  3. Combine the maple syrup, brown sugar and black pepper in a bowl and set aside.
  4. Grill the chops for 4 to 6 minutes per side, rotating the chops to get cross-hatch grill marks. Grill until the internal temperature of the pork reaches 150˚F on an instant read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the chop. Remove the chops from the grill and place them on a plate to rest, loosely cover with foil.
  5. While the pork chops are resting, brush the pineapple slices with the maple syrup mixture and grill for 2 to 3 minutes on each side. Baste with more of the maple syrup mixture as needed.
  6. Serve the grilled pork chops and pineapple slices over rice with a green vegetable or salad.
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Comments (17)Post a Reply

    1. Hi Betty. Make the recipe as written – brine and spice rub – then spray them with oil and air fry at 400ºF for about 10 to 12 minutes, depending on how thick the chops are. Flip them over halfway through the cooking time. The best way to check for doneness is with an instant read thermometer.

  1. can you tell me what cut of pork you used for these chops? They look amazing! I recently used a pork loin chop with good success but these look different. THX

    1. Hi Linda. These were rib chops. Rib chops only have a piece of the loin, whereas loin chops have a T-shaped bone with part of the loin on one side and a little piece of the tenderloin on the other side.

    1. Hi Monique. It does depend on how thick the chops are and the best way to know they are cooked properly is to test them with an instant read thermometer (150ºF) or press on them with your finger for firmness. I would go for a minute or two LESS time with boneless.


  2. I make a mean potato salad, I would like to have your recipe. I like mine tangy, and mom taught me to sprinkle apple cider vinegar on the warm potatoes, and use sweet relish to compliment the tang.

  3. Every Meredith Laurence recipe I’ve prepared and there have been too many to mention have been outstanding. I took a leap of faith two years ago when I purchased a cooks essential air fryer and haven’t looked back
    Like an oven I feel every kitchen should come with an air fryer. Right now my air fryer is cooking my marinated pork chops and I can’t wait to enjoy them. I made homemade potato salad to accompany the chops just because I can lol
    Thank you Meredith

    1. Hi Linda. It depends on how big an air fryer you have. I did it with two chops in a 3.4 quart air fryer. You could probably fit 3 or 4 in a large air fryer. I wouldn’t stack them right on top of each other, but if they are over-lapping slightly it’s fine. You flip them over halfway through so just make sure to flip them evenly.

    1. Hi Elle. It really depends on how thick the chops are. For a 1-inch chop, I would put them in the oven for about 12 to 15 minutes (flipping them halfway through) at 450ºF. On a stovetop grill pan, about 10 – 12 minutes, but you should check the chops by either pressing on them for firmness or taking the internal temperature (you’re looking for about 150ºF).

  4. RE: Brined Pork Chops with Grilled Pineapple

    I am making this dish today according to the recipe but wondering if I could sous vide the pork chops individually in the brine. If so, how long would you recommend and at what temperature. Thanks, in advance.

    1. Hi Jan. You could brine the pork chops AND THEN cook them in a sous vide water bath. If you put the chops and brine as is into a bag and cooked it sous vide, it would be too salty unless you pulled it out at the exact right moment. If you really want to cook the chops in a sous vide brine solution, you would need to reduce the salt in the brine significantly. It is a method called equilibrium brining and is a little more complicated. You can read more about it here: https://www.chefsteps.com/activities/equilibrium-brining

  5. The Pork Chop recipe looks so good. I bought some today and will cook them tomorrow. Thank you for all your help. Joyce


  6. I made this recipe tonite using 1” boneless chops and cooked them on the grill. I cooked for 6 minutes on each side and they were great and the rub gave them a kick, but not too spicy.! I grilled the pineapple on a slotted grill pan about 3 minutes per side. The basting sauce on the pineapple gave it a wonderful flavor. I will definitely be making this again!

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