1

I brined a boneless pork chop in

  • 4 cups water
  • 1/4 cup Kosher Salt
  • 1/4 cup Sugar

for 18 hours. When I pulled the meat out there were some spots that looked slightly off color and grey. I was wondering if this is common and if not what might be the problem causing the off color spots.

2

Yes, that's normal. You just left it WAY too long in the brine. The salt denatures (unwinds) the proteins, which is the same process that happens when the proteins are exposed to heat or acid. Over brining will cause the exterior of the meat to become gray and mushy.

But you don't have to take my word for it: http://www.cooksillustrated.com/how_tos/5804-brining-meat

The relevant references are:

  • 4 bone-in rib loin pork chops, 12 ounces each, 1.5 inches thick: 1 hour
  • Pork roast, 3-6 pounds: 1.5 - 2 hours
  • Okay I figured it had to do with time. I've seen so many different brine times from 45 minutes to 24 hours so I honestly didn't really know how long to do it for. The recipe I was following said 12-24 hours so I decided to do 18. – Bill Hamilton Jun 6 '16 at 0:50
  • A lot of people (including recipe writers) will conflate a brine with a marinade. A marinade (no or very little salt) may need much longer to penetrate depending on what's in it. A brine (mostly salt) isn't that long of a process most of the time, but even that's conditional. For instance, you can brine your thanksgiving turkey for 18 hours without issue. – Chris Bergin Jun 6 '16 at 15:42

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