Passion for Pork

Recipe: Lemon Garlic Brined Pork Chops with Arugula Pesto

Dan Clapson - Tuesday, December 31, 2013

A good pork chop is next to godliness. So, if you want to start off the new year in your friends or family’s good books, then best serve them up one hell of a dinner this week!

As I’ve mentioned before, brining pork is an amazing way to infuse flavours and keep the meat nice and juicy. If you have one resolution for 2014, make it to brine your chops more often!

What you’ll need…


1 cup water

1/2 cup white vinegar

2 tbsp sea salt

2 tbsp cane sugar

1/2 tsp whole black peppercorns

1 lemon (zested and juiced, note: use a vegetable peeler to zest the lemon in large strips)

1 yellow onion (quartered)

3 cloves garlic (halved)

2 cups ice cubes

6 bone-in pork chops


2 cups arugula (firmly packed)

1/3 cup walnuts

2 tsp lemon juice

1/2 tsp minced garlic

salt and pepper

olive oil (approx. 1/4 cup)


Place all ingredients for the brine in a medium pot aside from ice cubes and chops and bring to a simmer on medium-high heat. Transfer liquid to shallow baking dish and add the ice cubes and let sit for 10 minutes. Once ice has melted and liquid has cooled completely, lay in the chops, cover and refrigerate for 4-6 hours.

For the pesto, place the first 4 ingredients in a food processor and pulse while slowly pouring in oil until it forms a smooth paste. Spoon into a small bowl, season to taste with salt and pepper and set aside for now.

Once the pork chops have finished brining, remove from liquid and pat dry. Cook as desired (I pan-seared the chops and finished them in the oven for 8 minutes, preheated to 375 degrees).

Top generously with arugula pesto and serve!

Happy New Year!

Serves 5-6

Total prep and cook time…6 hours, 20 minutes)