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.
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.
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
- 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
- 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