Super tasty and magically juicy pork chops with a quick 15-minute dry-brine. Sear the chops on the stovetop and finish in the oven.
When it comes to cooking the best-tasting, juicy pork chops I’ve always been a huge advocate of brining.
But you know what?
Ever since I starting made this quick brown sugar dry-brine instead, my pork chop-cooking life has changed.
Brining pork chops
Brining is still an amazing method — especially for meat and poultry that would otherwise dry out — but let’s be real.
Planning ahead can be iffy, good intentions and all.
The seasoning on these rosemary brown sugar pork chops take just 15 minutes to work its magic.
That means you can prepare and cook a batch of dry-brined pork chops for dinner in less than half an hour.
How does a dry-brine work?
A dry brine works in basically the same way as a wet one:
Instead of immersing a piece of meat into a water-based solution, salt, sugar and other seasonings are rubbed directly on the surface of the meat.
As they dissolve, moisture and flavor molecules make their way into the cells of the meat. Magic!
The neutral, sweet taste of pork is so delicious with this brown sugar mixture, which also includes aromatic fresh rosemary and dehydrated garlic.
Most likely, you already have everything in your kitchen cabinet to make this dry-brine rub, with the possible exception of fresh rosemary.
How to dry-brine pork chops with rosemary and brown sugar
First, use kosher salt (this is the only brand I use for consistency) It has larger crystals and a less “salty” flavor than regular table salt or fine salt.
If you don’t have kosher salt, reduce the amount in the recipe by half.
After combining the ingredients for the dry-brine in a small bowl, just rub the seasonings on the pork and let it sit at room temperature for 15 minutes or so.
If you’re lucky enough to be planning dinner in the morning before work or even the night before, even better!
Your chops will be perfectly tasty when seasoned up to 24 hours in advance.
The rub includes a little bit of garlic powder.
While any food-obsessed person knows that fresh garlic is ALWAYS best when you’re cooking from scratch, there’s definitely a place for garlic powder in your spice cabinet.
Garlic powder is basically just dried garlic cloves in powdered form, more like a spice than a fresh seasoning.
The reason garlic powder comes in handy, especially when searing food at high temperature or barbecuing, is because fresh garlic can easily burn — which in turn will make your dish taste very bitter (in a bad way).
- Preheat your pan until it’s nice and hot to get a good sear – a cast iron skillet is the best, if you have one.
- Buy thick-cut pork chops, at least 1-inch and preferably 1 1/2-inches thick, for juicier results.
- For a simple dinner, serve these pork chops with a side of Crusty Smashed Roasted Potatoes, Quick Parmesan Brussels Sprouts or roasted small potatoes.
Rosemary Brown Sugar Pork Chops
- 3 tablespoons light brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt* (reduce by half if using fine or table salt)
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2 pounds thick cut, 1 - 1-1/2-inches pork loin chops, about 4 bone-in or 6 boneless
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- Heat oven to 425 degrees.
- Combine the brown sugar, salt, rosemary, garlic powder and pepper in a small bowl. Sprinkle the mixture on both sides of the pork chops, rubbing it in. Let the chops sit at room temperature for 15 minutes or cover and refrigerate up to 24 hours in advance.
- Heat a heavy oven-proof skillet (cast iron is perfect) over medium-high heat until a drop of water sizzles instantly. Add the oil and the pork chops. Sear until nicely browned on one side, 5 minutes or so. Turn the pork chops over and transfer the skillet to the oven.
- Roast until the meat is cooked through and feels firm to the touch (140 - 145 degrees on a meat thermometer), 8 - 10 minutes. Let the pork chops rest 5 minutes before serving.
- Use 1- 1-1/2-inch thick pork chops.
- Preheat a heavy pan (cast iron if you have it) to get the best sear.
- Serve with wilted greens and roasted potatoes for a simple dinner.