Adapted from Chez Panisse Café Cookbook, by Alice Waters and found at thesplendidtable.com. This is fantastic and really makes meat juicy and subtly-spiced/flavoured. It acts as a marinade and a cure at the same time, producing pork a bit like a mild ham. A pork loin or shoulder will need to sit in brine, completely submerged, for about 5 days; large chops will be ready in 2 or 3. Cooking time is not realistically reflected in this recipe as it depends on what you are cooking (whole loin or chops). Cooking times are indicated in instructions, though.
- Put 2 1/2 gallons cold water in a large, nonreactive container that will hold the meat and brine. Stir in the salt and sugar. Slightly crush and add the bay leaves, peppercorns, clove, allspice, and chili peppers. Add the garlic and thyme. Add the pork and put a plate on top to keep the meat submerged. Refrigerate for 5 days or more.
- Remove the pork from the brine and pat dry. Roast pork loin for about 1 hour, grill over a medium fire, or slice into very thin chops and brown them in a cast-iron pan. They will cook very quickly, about 1 minute per side. Finish with a good fistful of chopped parsley and garlic if you wish. A brined shoulder is good boiled or braised, and is delicious to add to cooked beans.