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.
Why The Recipe Works
Brining meat 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. We use rosemary, onion, bay leaf, peppercorns, paprika, cayenne, and garlic for this pork shoulder brine.
You can add whatever flavor profile you like.
How To Prepare The Brine
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 dissolve just fine in room-temperature water.
In a large bowl or pot, dissolve the kosher salt and sugar in 10 cups of 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.
That way, we can remove all the air and keep the meat fully submerged in the brine.
Put the pork in what you’re using, add all the remaining ingredients, and stir. Cover the meat and refrigerate.
If using a plastic bag, place it in a roasting pan or larger bowl just in case it leaks.
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.
I would not recommend going over 24 hours with the brine. This might produce a too-salty experience for some.
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, we’ll be applying a very tasty rub and doing up a fabulous smoked pork butt.
The main ingredient of every brine is salt. This one ingredient is what is going to flavor your meat. It also is the thing that binds with the protein of the meat, preventing the release of water during the cooking process.
The other items of the brine are those additional flavors that get added with the salt, so it’s really up to you.
- Using herbes de Provence (also called Provencal herbs) adds a spice blend regionally accurate to the region of southeastern France. It goes perfectly with pork.
- Creole seasoning is made up from the ‘trinity’ of onion, celery, and bell pepper with garlic. This makes everything pop, and the tastebuds come alive!
- Other fun spice blends work well with this brine. Things like Honey Habanero, a citrus mojo spice blend, or any kind of sweet heat rub would all work well.
Pork butts should brine overnight for up to 24 hours. Smaller cuts of pork should go from 6-18 hours, depending on their size.
The salt enters the pork and binds to the protein. During the cooking process, this prevents the meat from releasing its water, thereby keeping the meat juicy. It also adds the flavors of the entire brine to the meat, not just to the outside.
No. You may need to remove things from it, such as peppercorns or other large items.
Yes. Refrigeration is required while brining.
Other Delicious Recipes
Simple Pork Shoulder Brine Recipe
- 10 C Water
- 3/4 C Kosher 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 water10 C Water, 3/4 C Kosher Salt, 1/2 C Sugar
- Add the rest of the ingredients4 Rosemary, 2 tbsp Peppercorns, 2 Bay leafs, 1/2 Onion, 6 cloves Garlic, cracked, 1 tbsp Paprika, 1/4 tsp Cayenne
- Add the meat to the brine
- Fully submerge meat and refrigerate for 12-18 hours, depending on the size of the cut of meat