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Brine-Cured Pork Chops

1/2 cup dark brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup kosher salt
10 black peppercorns
5 juniper berries
5 bay leaves
1/2 cup fennel seeds
1 cup mixed fresh herbs (rosemary, thyme, sage, oregano)
Peel of 1 orange
1 quart boiling water
3 quarts cold water
12 center-cut pork chops
2 tablespoons virgin olive oil

Combine all the ingredients except the water, pork chops and olive
oil in a large glass, ceramic or plastic container. Add the boiling
water and stir to completely dissolve the sugar and salt. Stir in
the cold water to cool the brine.

Lay the chops out in 1 layer in a large nonreactive pan and completely
cover them with the brine. If a chop floats to the surface, weigh
it down with a plate. Cover and refrigerate for 12 to 24 hours,
depending on how much flavor you want the meat to acquire. (If the
chops must be stacked, change their positions in the brine often.)

Prepare a grill or broiler. Drain the pork chops, discarding the
brine, and pat dry with paper towels. Brush the chops with the
oil and grill or broil for 5 to 6 minutes per side. Put the chops
on a rack in a pan to catch the drippings and loosely cover with
foil. Set aside in a warm place for 6 to 8 minutes and serve.

Yield: 6 servings.


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