I always brine any large muscle of pork, such as shoulder or belly, before cooking it. Brining seasons the whole piece of meat inside and out, and, most importantly, ensures a juicy and tender finished product. Use this for other meats, like chicken or turkey, before they are smoked.
In a small sauté pan over low heat, combine the peppercorns, coriander, and mustard seeds and toast, stirring occasionally, until just fragrant, about 5 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes, transfer to a mortar and pestle, and coarsely crush.
In a large saucepan, combine the cold water, sugar, salt, thyme, bay leaves, and toasted spices and bring to a boil over high heat. Cook until the sugar and salt are completely dissolved.
Let cool to room temperature and refrigerate before using. Or, transfer to a bowl over an ice bath, and whisk until cool. The brine will keep, tightly covered in the refrigerator, for up to 3 days.
© 2019 All rights reserved. Published by Abrams Books.