Grilled Maple-Brined Pork Chops and Ask Chef Dennis

I feeling kind of lazy today, I had full day yesterday meeting friends and feeding relatives, so today I’m taking a me day and devoting it to not a whole lot of anything…

I had the great pleasure of meeting up with Julie from Mommie Cooks yesterday while she was visiting Philadelphia .  We had one of those moments when you actually meet someone for the first time, the awkward first hello. While we knew each others online persona oh so well, here we were actually meeting for the first time, but it didn’t take long to get over that feeling. When your a foodie, your never at a loss for conversation, and at the end of our visit we parted as old friends.   One thing for sure when your a foodie your never  at a loss for conversation, and my wife was happy not to be the one having to listen today to my endless talk about food and blogging about food!

We enjoyed a walk through the Reading Terminal Market, and lunch next to the famous Terminal Pig, which her boys had a great time playing on!

If your ever in Philadelphia I highly recommend a trip to the Reading Terminal, you won’t be sorry, it is a foodie paradise, with foods from all over the world.

With the pig in mind I thought Pork Chops would be the perfect topic for today’s post.  This time of year I grill as much as I can, and while we don’t eat a great deal of pork (and I don’t eat beef), we do enjoy an occasional chop or tenderloin.  Grilling pork, especially boneless chops is always a difficult proposition, they get tough and dry so easily.  I have brined poultry before with great results so I thought I would give it a try with pork chops.  They turned out very flavorful and tender, but just a bit dry, I only had 2 hours to brine them and I think they would have benefited from at least 8 hours, if not over night.
There’s no real secret ingredient to brining other that salt and water, anything else you add in is mostly for flavor and color.  Fresh herbs are always a wonderful addition, but sadly I had nothing on hand, so I settled for a sweet and spicy garlic brine, with maple syrup as the sweetener.

If you haven’t tried brining please do, you’ll surprise yourself!

Maple Brining Solution (for 6-8 pork chops)

6 cups Water
1/2 cup cider vinegar
1 cup Maple Syrup
1/2 cup Sugar
1/4 cup Dijon Mustard
12 cloves of Garlic crushed
1/2 cup Kosher Salt or Coarse Sea Salt
1 tsp Red Pepper flakes
2 sprigs of Fresh  Rosemary (or herbs of your choice)

1.  In a large pot, combine the water, salt, brown sugar, maple syrup, sugar, vinegar, garlic, mustard and red pepper flakes. Bring to a boil and remove from the heat.
2.  Let the brine cool to room temperature, then refrigerate for 1 hour.
3.  Add the pork chops to the brine and refrigerate for 7 to 8 hours, turning the chops after 4 hours. (don’t let them brine for more than 12 hours)
4.  Remove the pork chops from the brine and pat dry
5.  Lightly coat the pork chops with Olive Oil and sprinkle a liberal amount of black pepper on them.
6.  Sear the chops directly over the hottest part of the open grill for about 2 minutes on each side. Then move the chops to the medium area of the grill, cover the grill, and cook to the desired doneness.
7.  Make sure to use  an instant-read digital thermometer to check the internal temperature of the chops. A reading of 145° will give you a pink, moist chop (that temp was just approved by the federal government for pork)  If you want them more well done, let them cook until 160° but no more.

Serve the chops immediately with your favorite sides and enjoy!

Ask Chef Dennis

it’s been a pretty slow week as far as questions go, but one topic that does consistently come up is about our dear friends at foodbuzz, so once again for all of the newbies out there, here is the article that started it all.

Chef Dennis’ Foodbuzz Etiquette 101
1.  When you send a friend request to a potential friend, you should do the following!
     a.  Buzz your potential new friend (where it says buzz’em under their name)
     b.  Buzz a post or two of theirs  (look under activity on their profile for their newest
     c.  Check out their website, and leave a comment, show some love!!!
     d. Follow them on twitter and facebook if they have those options on their page.
         Add them to your page if you don’t have them!
2.  Now as you make more and more friends, you will begin to find your place in the
     community, where ever you find yourself be a responsible foodbuzz blogger.
     a.  Follow the posts of your circle of friends, buzz their new posts, everyone wants to
          make the Top 9 and they need your votes!
     b.  Make new friends, if they don’t know the etiquette, teach them.  Share Your Knowledge!
3.  Comments are like a drug to bloggers, we live for them, we love them, they keep us
     going!  When someone cares enough to leave you a comment, leave one for them.
     Foodbuzz comments are great, but they aren’t the same as blog comments!!
     a.  Your comment should be more than 2 or 3 words, “Looks Great”  is not a
          comment, its a drive by!  Leave a comment that shows you read the post.
     b.  You can’t always leave a comment for every one left for you, but do your best
          to let your fellow bloggers know you haven’t forgotten them and appreciate their
     c.  If someone leaves you a comment on your blog, leave one on their blog, don’t just
          leave them a foodbuzz comment, its not the same thing!
          (Leaving a comment on their post on foodbuzz, does increase their buzz score!)
     d.  Now repeat after me….Blog comment = Blog comment!!!!
          (I know practice what you preach…sigh, summer is coming I promise)
4.  Interacting with fellow bloggers is a wonderful way to build friendships and build
     a.  When a blogger asks a specific question, answer them, emails are the best way to
          do that.
     b.  Now if you ask a question, make sure you leave an email address, so it can be
5.  Setting up your Foodbuzz account is important, getting your information where
     others can find it, it’s important!
     a.  Don’t forget to list your website, click on Edit Your Profile. on your homepage.
         That makes it easier to find you!
     b.  Don’t forget to list an email on your blog about you page!
     c.  If you don’t have a blog, but like to leave comments it’s ok, just don’t be anonymous!
6.   Facebook and Twitter are a great way to network, use them, but put the links
      where we can find them! It’s hard to like you if we can’t find you!
     a.  Place your Facebook link near the top of your page where we can find it as we are
          reading your post.
     b.  That works for Twitter too!
7.  If you have any questions, ask someone who has been around for awhile.  If it’s about
     the buzz system, well its complicated.
    a.  Your buzz goes up when others buzz you
    b.  Your buzz goes up when you post more often
    c.  Your buzz stays longer when you buzz others and buzz their posts.
Buzz Points– we all want them, were just not sure how to get them.  I believe the answer lies in these areas.

1.  Personal Buzz.  To get your personal buzz score higher, you need to post!  That is post regularly and post as often as possible.  Now here is where I believe it gets tricky, but I could be way off base.  I think the system recognizes your blogging schedule to a point and it gets use to it (really quickly), so if you blog 2x a week, and then change to 3x a week, and then go back to 2x a week, I think your points start to drop off faster.  At least it seems that way to me.
I believe your personal buzz is also based on the number of visits your Foodbuzz page gets, and of course if anyone buzzes you!  So newbies, if you want a new friend, make sure you Buzz them when you make the friend request, now remember that works both ways!!  Buzz the newbies, when they friend you!!

Now this is just pure speculation but I believe if you buzz others and others posts, it will also help your buzz score.  Think about it, Sponsors pay on the number of hits that are received, so wouldn’t it make sense to reward those who took the time to go to other bloggers Foodbuzz page and buzz them, or check out their activity and buzz their posts, thus creating more hits?
So the first Golden Rule of Foodbuzz is:  Buzz unto others as you would have them Buzz unto you!
2. Post Buzz-How do I get my post buzz higher.  That answer seems a little easier, In order for you post buzz to go up, others need to buzz it!  Pretty simple, huh!  Well not really, if your new and you don’t have a lot of friends not that many will get your share notice and go see your post.   Does everyone know they have to share their post?  So how do you fix that, you need to friend more bloggers, I would say you need at least 300 to get a good base!  So get to work!!  Now even if they all don’t buzz you ( vote for your post), I have to believe you get something for the traffic to your page. See there is the traffic part again, hits = $.

I would like to leave you with one tidbit about your images before I say goodbye.
when you name your images, do not just leave the numbers that come out of the camera, make sure you name the image exactly what it is,  such as   Grilled-Maple-Brined-Pork Chop.   Just add a number after that, and you may have noticed I added a dash between each word.
The reason to name your images exactly what they are, is to let the search engines know what they are, giving you a better chance to have them come up in searches.  The dash makes them easier for the search engines to read.   Go figure…..
I was also told my my web Designer Melissa from Fine Lime Designs, that I need to have a Flickr account for my images, it gives you more of a chance to be picked up by the search engines, just don’t forget to name your images!    If your thinking of moving to wordpress, I highly recommend Melissa, drop her a line and tell her Chef Dennis sent you!
So my friends that’s it for today, short and sweet for my lazy day!  Thanks for stopping by, please send your questions, comments and ideas to me and I will be sure to give you a shout out when I share the information!   Have a wonderful week and as always please remember…..
Share Your Knowledge-Together We Are Stronger


  1. Wendy Irene says:

    I need to think about the Flickr account. Let us know if you do it and what you think. Have a great day Chef Dennis 🙂

  2. Janet@ from cupcakes to caviar says:

    Hi Dennis. I love the look of those pork chop (if I could have buzzed them twice I would have lol) and I enjoyed the tips. Very logical and helpful. Thanks!

  3. A great post…both the recipe and the Q&A! I love brining meats. My most recent was buttermilk brined pork chops…they were pretty tasty! I bet yours are, too! Thanks for all the great info!

  4. Jessica says:

    Delicious looking pork chops! I love the simplicity of the photo too. Must have been nice to meet up with a foodie friend in person in this virtual world of ours.

    Thanks for the tips! I never knew about dashes being useful… haha.

  5. That's a great looking brine, Dennis! I love the combination of maple syrup and pork. Enjoy your quiet day!

  6. Thank you for the info , you are a big help as always , now I understand more and more of foodbuzz and what you said is true, our buzz picks up when we buzz others , I too have noticed that .

  7. The Mom Chef says:

    How fun that you got to meet Julie! It's an amazing experience, isn't it. We got to meet Adam and Cheryl (Picture Perfect Meals) a few weeks ago and consider them real and true friends now. I'd head back to the mountains just to visit them and continue our conversations, in all honesty.

    I love your brined pork. The solution would be hard to discard after the brining, it sounds so aromatic and yummy!

  8. Hester Casey - Alchemy says:

    When I see questions from new bloggers I always direction them to Ask Chef Dennis. It saves hours/days/weeks of wandering around in the dark. Your "do onto others" philosophy is an important one, too.

  9. Tina @flourtrader says:

    Thanks for the info Chef! The chops look so delicious. I always enjoy reading your posts! As members of Foodbuzz we do need to pay it forward, that's what makes the community what it is.

  10. Emily Malloy says:

    The pork chops are gorgeous!

    And a great Ask Chef Dennis section, as always!

  11. I've done many pork chop brines, but not a sweet one like this. Love your last section, except that I really can't figure Foodbuzz out.

  12. lostpastremembered says:

    Whenever I see maple you have my attention… delicious! ANd a gorgeous picture to boot!

  13. Christine's Pantry says:

    You always have great tips. Your food is amazing! Love your blog. I'm here at least 3 times a week. Thanks for all you do.

  14. These pork chops sound delicious!! Thanks for the tips! Love reading Ask Chef Dennis, always helpful!

  15. Maggie @MaggieCooks says:

    I have a thing for pork, since I was little I only wanted pork, my mom tried to cheat on me when some meat wasnt pork telling me it was pork, now I talk to my mom and she knows she couldnt fool me! haha this Maple brined pork looks delicious! Thank you for sharing Chef Dennis 🙂

  16. Thanks for the Flickr advice! So much to keep track of!!!

  17. Piggy Chef, thanks for all the tips on naming images…good tips for I always named them by numbers 🙁 now I know the proper way to do it ! 😉 I love that terminal pig ,will visit that when I make a trip there. Hope to visit brother in new jersey when I have the money saved up 🙂

  18. Apple @Polkadotsandchopsticks says:

    I've never tried brining before. But it sounds delicious, especially with the maple and pork combo!

  19. Quay Po Cooks says:

    Chef, these pork chops looks great and the combo of pork and maple will never go wrong right? Many thanks for all the tips, I never fail to learn something new on each of my visit, be it cooking, baking or blogging. I am so glad that you devoted this day for yourself. I feel feel I need a day like this every now and then to stay perky! hehe.

  20. The Culinary Lens says:

    I do not know what to comment on first LOL
    I love Reading Terminal Market probably love brining a little more and really enjoyed your buzzing tips.

    I have to say I cannot get over how generous people are with there time in the food blog world. I have learned so much from so many.

  21. All That's Left Are The Crumbs says:

    What a good-looking plate of pork chops. It is funny that you should have something brined on your site today. I was just cleaning out my pantry and found a big box of Kosher salt. I had meant to brine something at some stage but didn't get around to it. Pork chops here I come!

  22. mangiabella says:

    i have never tried brining! But you make me want to…these pork chops are savage!

  23. Maple Quick Chunky Bacon. Yum! A little salad and roast spuds, oh heaven!

  24. Jill@MadAboutMacarons says:

    Chef, first off I love the look of these mapley pork chops: they're done to perfection and can just about smell them from here. Glad you're relaxing with friends and family and love how you get inspired just by seeing the piggy statue!
    Thanks for sharing the rules – we need you around! And also the interesting photo tips. I had no idea about the dashes in the names. Learning every day!

  25. I have definitely jumped on the brining bandwagon. What a difference it really does make! I will definitely have to try this type of brining, sounds delicious! Thanks for sharing, Chef!

  26. Kate from Scratch says:

    I definitely need to try brining. I know it's a fantastic technique, I just haven't done it yet. Those grill marks are gorgeous against the color of the meat and the flavor of maple….wow….I need to make a vegetarian version of this flavor so I can partake…it sounds so good. I'm huge on a little sweet with a little salty…nothing better.

  27. Evan @swEEts says:

    I love all your advice Chef! Can we wander the market place if I ever make my way to Philly? I'll teach you some cake decorating tips?? I promise 🙂 Mountain Man just bought some porkchops and I'm sending him your recipe for this delicious sounding brine!

  28. I do love to brine meat if possible before barbecuing them or baking. It makes them much more flavorful. I love how your pork chops came out. Have a great Thursday 🙂

  29. So much good advice and a wonderful recipe!! Thank you, my friend.

  30. A Thought For Food says:

    A very interesting point about file naming. Not only is it great for search engines, but it is also important so that you can easily locate your pictures on your computer.

    And this is another wonderful recipe.

    Hope you are having a good start to your summer!


  31. Kate@Diethood says:

    The chops look terrific! I've never brined pork chops. Thanks, Chef…I can't wait to give it a go.

  32. A Kitchen Muse says:

    Not only did you give us a delicious pork chop recipe but also great advice on Foodbuzz. For us 'newbies' on Foodbuzz, it is much appreciated.


  33. RavieNomNoms says:

    These pork chops look amazing! The flavors seem like they would be so delightful!

  34. Jennifurla says:

    Flickr is amazing. I upload and edit there.

  35. What a fantastic post. I can't decide if I should comment on the pig at the Reading Terminal or the wonderful advice about Food Buzz that I joined but haven't done anything about. Maybe I should say I think that commenting is the best thing a blogger can do.

    But, I have to comment on the pork chops. I've never tried brining and every time I see a post on it I think, "I'm going to do that next time," then I forget.

    I will follow your directions to the letter and post my results. 🙂

  36. As always, I enjoy your Q & A posts…even as I become a more seasoned blogger, I still have much to learn. And now onto your chops! We grill chops nearly every week, so this will surely go on our rotation. I haven't brined my chops in a while, but next batch I will. Thanks, Dennis!!!

  37. LaPhemmePhoodie says:

    Reading Terminal is definitely a playground for foodies. Your pork chops look incredible. I need to start brining stuff more often. Makes such a difference.

  38. Kim Bee says:

    I am so happy to meet you and gain a new foodie friend. I also have the overwhelming desire to scream from the rooftops right now. I finally understand buzz and how this whole thing works. Food buzz should put this in their welcome email to all new members. Thank you so much for taking the time to post this. I cannot even explain how happy this brining recipe makes me. I mean seriously, canuck + maple sugar = happy girl!

  39. I have never brined anything at home! What a great idea! I love it, I will definitely give it a try! Thanks so much! Also, thanks for the flickr tip… I'll have to keep that in mind! So many things to learn being a new blogger!!!!

  40. purabi naha says:

    The recipe is awesome with brine. The Flickr idea is really helpful. I never thought of tagging my photos and exploring Flickr earlier. Thanks for opening my eyes.

  41. Plateful says:

    Whenever I get a chance to stop by this page, you never cease to amaze me Chef Dennis. Oh yeah, trust me! Your time and efforts in generously sharing your knowledge with the rest of the world is much, much appreciated. I always leave this space learning something new, thanks to you.

    Never tried brining before though I came across it recently in another blog and was intrigued. Sure gonna try your brining solution with chicken and I'll let you know how it turned out.

    Have a good weekend!

  42. Lori Lynn says:

    Great tips Chef.
    "it's a drive by!" haha
    Congrats on T-9! Again!!

  43. Kate@Diethood says:

    Congrats on Top 9!! Well deserved… I wish I could bite into those chops!

  44. I have a Flickr account, I just never use it. You're such a wise one Dennis – I'm going to definitely be updating my Flickr more often now!

    And these pork chops sound absolutely delicious – definitely going to try the brining method next time I make some =)

  45. Heather - DIYduJour says:

    Dennis, thank you so much for the informative foodbuzz post! I am still figuring it out, and this helps very much. Also, I have printed your brined chop recipe for the next time we grill porkchops! Thanks again.

  46. Michelle O says:

    Thanks for the congrats Dennis! Congrats to you as well. I was just checking out your blog other day. Nice to informally meet you 🙂

  47. Cristina says:

    Hi Chef: I have yet to try brining, but I must say, that these chops have me salivating! Beautifully grilled and caramelized.

    I was in Philly a couple of years ago and didn't get to enjoy any cuisine there. I was there with a colleague from work that was a real stick-in-the-mud and it was nearly impossible to agree on a place to eat because he was so/too picky. Ugh! Hope to get back there again one day.

    Have a great weekend, Chef and congrats on the Top 9! 😉

  48. Sippity Sup says:

    Online personas and brined pig. My kind of talk! GREG

  49. The pork chop recipe looks wonderful.

  50. WizzyTheStick says:

    Some great tips in there Chef D. Sigh I'm not the best on foodbuzz. I really should try to be better at it.

  51. Lindsay @ Rosemarried says:

    Dennis! I should not look at your blog whilst hungry. I always think that pork does so well paired w/ sweet things, but never thought to pair it with maple. This sounds so perfect. Thanks for sharing!

  52. Great post – thanks! I've always been a bit confused by FoodBuzz's scoring system! Well – now I know!

  53. Emily @ Life on Food says:

    Oh how I miss the Reading Terminal Market. I went to college outside of Philly and I loved going in to the city just to visit the market!

  54. Liz Marr, MS, RD says:

    Your pork chop recipe sounds and looks delish!

    What a helpful post for FoodBuzz foodies.

  55. Wow! This looks delicious! I can smell the char-y goodness through the screen! 🙂

  56. Ruthie Erickson says:

    Hi Dennis,
    I am our family’s grill master. I tried this recipe with outstanding results. My son said it was the first time he had ever eaten pork chops without having to sauce them. Today I am using the brine on a crown roast of pork. I will then put it on the rotisserie over charcoal with a bit of smoke. Wish me luck. Thanks for this delicious recipe.

    • Thanks so much for letting me know how the pork chops turned out! I’m happy to hear they were a hit! I can’t wait to hear how the roast turns out!

      • Ruthie Erickson says:

        Crown roast was awesome!!! Today is our end of the summer bash. I’m brining 2 whole
        Pork loins. On the charcoal, a little smoke and I’m adding a maple-brown sugar glaze. Should be fabulous.
        Thanks again.

  57. Dennis! This is my fifth recipe of yours in as many weeks. Brining was new to me, and the way these babies turned out was a pleasant surprise. Well, not a surprise at all really given how great all of the other dishes were, but I’m always afraid of making a new dish when you really can’t taste it until it’s done. Especially when cooking for my wife!

    The chops were the perfect balance between salty and sweet, and the brine solution really sank into the chops. I did the “poke a bunch of holes in the chops with a fork” method to increase the absorption, not sure whether it helped. I wish there were a way to save the brine after soaking the chops. Maybe put a little aside before dropping the chops in to save as a finishing sauce? I topped one chop with a little maple syrup right before eating, which obviously sweetened up the flavor.

    What is the most difficult recipe you have on your site. I’m looking for a real challenge. Also, how do I return the favor and submit a recipe for you to try (if you’d like). I have a homemade veal recipe that I think your readers may like.

    • hi Joe

      I’m thrilled to hear that you’ve been enjoying my recipes, and most are not difficult. I try to post recipes that don’t take too much time and don’t require you to be a chef, but if you want to impress I have some wonderful seafood dishes such as Paella, San Francisco Paella, Bouillabaisse and a few others like that.

      Thanks so much for offering to send me recipes, I’m always looking for family treasures, unfortunately I don’t eat beef or veal anymore, although my wife does enjoy a steak every now and then. As much as I loved it in my chef days, its been off my menu for the last 18 years.


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