Grilled Brined Pork Chops

These tender juicy chops don’t need any barbecue sauce covering up their big, meaty, savory flavor. They are quite tasty dressed up just as they are.

Grilled Brined Pork Chops

Ever since we came up to Ohio from Florida about twenty years ago, we have continuously been enamored of the local fall festivals that pick up at the end of August and run through late October. Among these has been the Preble County Pork Festival, in Eaton, which, in years past, has been a craft-a-palooza and arts fest loaded to the hilt with  fair foods tdf. And among these has been the line-up of open fire grills, charring one tasty brined chop after another, the smoke wafting high into the air. We could smell them long before we ever got there, savoring every breath in wicked anticipation of the treats ahead. We were *never* disappointed.


Pork chops being grilled at the Preble County Pork Festival

And recently, I had come across a food piece in the Dayton Daily news claiming to have the secret recipe for the flavor in their chops. You have got to know that I was interested. Eaton is, after all, a bit of a drive from here and I would rather relax and grill at home *any* day. But I was dubious.

For one thing, these chops are not cooked in a skillet.

Secondly, the amount of salt looks suspiciously like a brine, not a baste.

But o.k. I went along with it after seeing some nice looking chops on the meat counter. This recipe does kind of demand a thicker chop. But upon stirring up the mixture and giving it a taste (I *always* taste things when mixing and cooking), the sugar balance is waaaay off. Usually with other people’s recipes, I have to scale the sugar way back. But here it was decidedly missing.

So I have adjusted the recipe, used the *baste* as a brine, grilled them instead of pan-frying, and am actually pleased with the results. Yeah, *this* tastes like a Preble County Pork Fest Pork Chop.

But should you wish to prepare this recipe the way the Dayton Daily News suggests, follow this link: Pig Out on Pork. I think you should make the recipe that suits you best. If you do decide to make my version of their recipe, drop me a comment and let me know how it turned out. Or even if you like their better, for that matter. I don’t stand on protocol here.

It’s all about the food.


  • 1/3 cup cider vinegar
  • 1/3 cup hot water
  • 3 tbsp. melted butter
  • 1 tbsp. sugar
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon hickory liquid smoke
  • 2 pork chops (3/4-in. thick)


  1. Stir together brine ingredients until salt and sugar dissolve. Pour over chops in a ziplock bag, then marinate in the refrigerator overnight.
  2. Next day, bring the chops to room temperature and drain from the brine while heating the grill.
  3. Grill chops until about 145-150 degrees F. in the center, then remove from heat and allow to rest before cutting (they will continue to cook to about 5 degrees higher.\
  4. Allow to sit for 5-10 minutes before cutting into the meat.

3 responses

  1. I will try your recipe. I have worked the pits at the festival in the past and I can tell you that the meat isn’t marinated. It is sliced fresh and the volunteers constantly walk in the pits and spray the marinade on the chops as they roast. That might be the difference you are missing in the taste. There is continuous application of the marinade.

  2. After 25 years of walking the pits basting chops I can assure you that you version does not taste like a PCPF chop, lose that sugar.

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