Simple Pork Shoulder Brine

Simple Pork Shoulder Brine - Serve moist and delicious meat every time with this simple pork shoulder brine.

This brine is for a pork shoulder (butt) but would work for basically anything. The flavors used are some very basic aromatics. The real power of brine is the salt.

Brining makes whatever you’re cooking come out all the juicier. I am not going to get into the technical aspects of osmosis and salt ions .. let’s keep it easy. Brining prevents dehydration while cooking which means a much moister piece of meat.

Simple Pork Shoulder Brine - Serve moist and delicious meat every time with this simple pork shoulder brine.

A basic brine is made of salt, sugar, and some aromatics. For this pork shoulder brine, we are using some rosemary, onion, bay leaf, peppercorns, paprika, cayenne, and garlic. You can add whatever flavor profile you like.

Some brine recipes will tell you to use hot water, this is not necessary at all. Feel free, but you can’t add your meat to the brine until it cools. Do what you like, but the salt and sugar will dissolve just fine in room temp water.

Simple Pork Shoulder Brine - Using a brine makes your pork butt extra tender and juicy, every time!

Once the salt and sugar are dissolved, get yourself a receptacle for your meat. For us, we like to use a large ziplock bag. We can remove all the air and keep the meat fully submerged in the brine.

Put the meat in what you’re using and add all the rest of your ingredients. Cover the meat and refrigerate.

For our 8 pounds of pork, we’re going to marinate it for 18 hours, but overnight is fine. Smaller cuts of meat require less brining time, larger can stay in for days if you like.

Remove the pork from the brine and pat dry with paper towels.

Once it’s done brining, you’re ready to cook the meat as you will. For us, a rub and onto the smoker!

Pork Brine for Smoking Recipe

Simple Pork Shoulder Brine - Using a brine makes your pork butt extra tender and juicy, every time!
Print Recipe
5 from 2 votes

Simple Pork Shoulder Brine

Simple Pork Shoulder Brine – Serve moist and delicious meat every time with this simple pork shoulder brine.
Prep Time5 mins
Course: BBQ
Cuisine: American
Author: Don’t Sweat The Recipe

Ingredients

  • 10 C Water
  • 3/4 C Salt
  • 1/2 C Sugar
  • 4 Rosemary Sprigs
  • 2 tbsp Peppercorns
  • 2 Bay leafs
  • 1/2 Onion
  • 6 cloves Garlic, cracked
  • 1 tbsp Paprika
  • 1/4 tsp Cayenne

Instructions

  • Dissolve salt, sugar in the water
  • Add the rest of the ingredients
  • Add the meat to the brine
  • Fully submerge meat and refrigerate for 12-18 hours, depending on the size of the cut of meat

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Comments

  1. Reply

    Do you have to rinse the meat when yu take it out of the brine

    1. Reply

      No, don’t rinse it. Just remove any of the chunks of herbs that make or may not be stuck on the meat.

  2. Reply


    Hey there. Thanks for the brine and pork shoulder cooking info.
    We are a retired Army family. Kids grown and moved to other states, so we mostly visit over the face book, watching grandkids grow from away is sorta sad. So what to do, what to do other than BBQ.
    I have done alot of cooking, grilling, smoking etc. I have never ever brined anything so this will be a first.

    Keep smiling

    Ray and Diana

    1. Reply

      31J here, Merrel. Go Army! Thanks for stopping by.

      1. Reply

        13B/31B/31E myself (nothing like the reserve component to switch units out from under you and make you reclass). I’ve taken to brining chicken breast too keep them from drying out too much, but this is going to be my first go with a shoulder.

        1. Reply

          Rock on, Dave. Let us know how it turns out. Go Army!

  3. Reply


    Easy to make with results that are amazing. Meat is tender, juicy, and full of flavor.

  4. Reply

    There’s a red powder in the image and the brine looks brown. I see no red colored spice in the ingrediant list. Is the list missing something?

    1. Reply

      Holy smokes, you’re right! We added paprika and cayenne to our brine as well. We have updated the post and recipe. Thanks for pointing that out!

  5. Reply

    After using this brine, would it be too much to also inject the butt?

    1. Reply

      I suppose it all gets down to how TENDER you want your meat. It IS possible to make the meat too tender. It comes down to the texture of the meat. For instance, I love my ribs to be fall off the bone while my wife likes a little pull on hers. I personally would do one OR the other, but then again, it all comes down to choice. Doing both will make the mean all the more tender vs just doing one OR the other.

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