Classic Pork Chops and Tenderloin Salt Brine

Classic pork chops and tenderloin salt brine

The Spruce Eats / Diana Chistruga

Prep: 20 mins
Cook: 0 mins
Brine: 8 hrs
Total: 8 hrs 20 mins
Servings: 15 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
352 Calories
17g Fat
9g Carbs
39g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 15
Amount per serving
Calories 352
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 17g 22%
Saturated Fat 5g 27%
Cholesterol 127mg 42%
Sodium 2105mg 92%
Total Carbohydrate 9g 3%
Dietary Fiber 1g 4%
Total Sugars 7g
Protein 39g
Vitamin C 0mg 2%
Calcium 61mg 5%
Iron 2mg 9%
Potassium 573mg 12%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

This brine is perfect for pork but works well with other meats, including poultry. Brining adds moisture and flavor to anything you cook. Your pork chops and pork tenderloin will remain juicy and well-seasoned when smoked, grilled, roasted, or fried. Be aware that once you brine meats, you do not need to add salt to them again during preparation or cooking.

This recipe makes enough brine for about five pounds of pork tenderloin. You can also use it for pork chops, although you may not need as much brine. You will need a container large enough to hold the meat submerged fully in the brine. It must be a nonreactive container, such as glass or plastic, as many types of metal can be etched by the brine or give a metallic flavor to the meat. A large nonstick stockpot, bowl, or plastic container will work.

Make sure you have enough refrigerator space for the container as it must be kept refrigerated while it is brining. If you don't, you can use an ice chest with ice water and check it every couple of hours to ensure that the brining meat is still well-iced.


  • 8 cups water, divided

  • 1/2 cup kosher salt

  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar

  • 1/2 cup whole black peppercorns

  • 2 tablespoons allspice berries

  • 5 pounds pork chops, or pork tenderloin

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for classic pork chops and tenderloin salt brine recipe gathered

    The Spruce Eats / Diana Chistruga

  2. In a medium saucepan, bring 2 cups of the water to a boil.

    Water in a saucepan

    The Spruce Eats / Diana Chistruga

  3. Add the salt and sugar, and stir until dissolved.

    Salt and sugar added to water in a saucepan

    The Spruce Eats / Diana Chistruga

  4. Add the remaining 6 cups of cold water and stir in the whole peppercorns and allspice berries. Let the mixture cool completely before using it.

    Peppercorns and allspice berries added to the water in the saucepan

    The Spruce Eats / Diana Chistruga

  5. Place the pork tenderloin in a nonreactive large bowl, stockpot, or plastic container.

    Pork chops in a bowl

    The Spruce Eats / Diana Chistruga

  6. Pour the cooled brine mixture over the pork. Cover it with a lid or plastic wrap, and store in the refrigerator. Brine the pork for 8 to 12 hours. 

    Pork chops in a bowl covered with salt brine

    The Spruce Eats / Diana Chistruga

  7. When ready to cook, remove the meat from the brine. Quickly rinse it under cool water, and pat dry with paper towels. Do not over-rinse as this will remove all the salt and will leave the meat quite bland.

    Pork chops on a plate, patted down with a paper towel

    The Spruce Eats / Diana Chistruga


  • Use only non-iodized salt as iodized salt can impart an unpleasant flavor. Kosher salt differs from regular table salt in that the flakes are larger, leaving more air space between them. As a result, it weighs less per cup than regular salt and so you need more to make the brining solution salty. If you only have regular salt available, cut down on the amount of salt to 1/3 cup to get the same salt concentration.
  • If you find your pork is saltier than you like, brine it for a shorter amount of time in the future. It will absorb less salt but will still benefit from retaining more juices when cooked.
  • Be sure to discard the brine and clean the container well. The brine does not kill bacteria that may be on the raw meat, so clean thoroughly.
  • If you wish to further season the pork before cooking, opt for a salt-free seasoning or spices. Coat the tenderloin with the salt-free seasoning rub of your choice, and cook as directed per the grilling or oven roasting instructions of your preferred recipe.