Friday, July 10, 2009

Porkus Chopus Maximus

I hated grilled pork chops as a kid. They were always dried out, thin little things that somebody had brutalized over a pile of lighter fluid soaked briquettes. So I never wanted to grill them myself (this was back before I knew how to really grill and smoke) because I thought that was just the nature of a grilled pork chop.

Then in 2001 while assisting with an overnight whole hog roast, a neighbor made some pork chops for a midnight snack. He simply rubbed them with salt and pepper, grilled them and served them up on two pieces of white bread as a "pork chop sandwich" (bone in). Man oh man were those things good!!!!

I made up a nice batch of pork chops earlier this week. To me, these rival a good steak. Here are a few tips I've picked up for making great chops:

Go Big or Go HomeIf you REALLY want a REALLY good chop, then you have to start with a great cut of meat. Get a nice 1 1/2" to 2" thick, bone in pork chop. Look for one that is lean with fat around the edges like the one above. It's not going to be cheap but it will be worth it.

BrineTo help ensure juiciness and flavor, brine the pork chops in a brine with apple juice for about 3-4 hours. The one I have used for about 3 years with good results is:
2 cups apple juice
2 cups water
3/4 cup turbinado sugar
1/4 cup coarse kosher salt (sorry Scott, I haven't gotten gray salt yet :) )

Dry RubAfter brining, rinse the chops off and dry them. Give the chops a nice coating of rub and let them sit while you start the fire. Plain salt and pepper work just fine.

This week, I used a pork rub that I made following the section in Big Bob Gibson's BBQ Book on creating your own dry rub. It worked well with these chops.
1/4 c white sugar
1/4 c turninado sugar
1/4 c smoked paprika
2 T garlic salt
2 T kosher salt
1 t black pepper, smoked
1 t cayenne pepper
1 t cumin
1/4 t allspice
1/2 t dried thyme

High Temp SearSear the chops over a very hot bed of coals or fire. I do this over a 500-600f degree direct set up on the Big Green Egg for a total of 6 minutes, flipping every 90 seconds. This gives nice grill marks and the maillard reaction that make it look and taste good.

RoastAfter the sear, cut your heat back to about 400-450 and change to indirect heat. Let the pork chops roast to an internal temp of 145 internal, then remove them from heat to rest for 10 minutes. Don't panic you won't get a raw in the middle pork chop. You'll get a perfectly done, juicy, white meat all the way through pork chop.
And man oh man were those things good!!!!

And on that note, I'm out of here. Headed to Cades Cove to do some dutch oven cooking with my mom at their camp site.

12 comments:

  1. Growing up in my household, I always hated pork chops. We didn't even grill them. It was always served with just apple sauce. Sometimes Kraft BBQ. When I got older I added hot sauce, but since leaving home years ago, I've never had any interest in PC. But yours . . . yours could definetely bring me back!

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  2. Can't agree more with the go big or go home comment. Bone-in or boneless, pork chops stay juicier when they are nice and thick and cooked indirect. And you can't help but love the nice grill marks that the egg leaves on them...

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  3. This is spectacular and brings up so many good points. But I have to be a pushy, opinionated SOB here (after all that is my nature and with my mouth wired shut I have nothing else to do). A thick bone in piece of pork might be better cooked to 140 degrees. The bone retains and radiates a lot of heat, so the temp will certainly rise as it rests! A thinner boneless cut may be acceptable at 145. That is just personal preferance. Either way I feel very strongly that, and here comes the heresy, pork should be served medium-rare and barely pink. It is no longer 1954. No one will be getting trichinosis. Just one loud mouthed opinion from GREG!

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  4. I am loving this recipe. I've always wanted to brine my chops - can't wait to try this. Bookmarked.

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  5. Brining double cut chops is the way to go. Even if you can't get to a grill, searing them in a pan then finishing them off in the oven will turn out a heavenly piece of meat. Nothing like those dry little chops our parents used to serve.

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  6. You are so spot on about brining pork before grilling it. I brine pork tenderloin before grilling. I love your brine ingredients and can't wait to try this...maybe this evening?

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  7. Looks great. I've always kind of shied away from pork chops - I won't even describe what my mother, usually a decent cook, used to do to them - but the thick-cut chops are really a valuable cut of meat.

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  8. Chops look great!! I hope you are taking your camera and will be posting some of that dutch oven cooking here. Can't wait to see what you can come up with out in the "wilderness"!! Oh, and I picked up a jar of grey salt for you. It'll be on it's way to you in the mail in a day or so. Thanks for the hospitality and the GREAT food when we were there.

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  9. Missed you! Please note: This is stalking. Further note: I won't stop. LOL!
    Missed you!

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  10. I served this once to a small group of 6 and everyone loved it. Two of them stated emphatically, "these are the best pork chops I've ever had." And these two have eaten a lot of pork chops in their lifetime.

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  11. I followed these instructions and these are the best pork chops I have ever had - period. Two of the other guests agreed emphatically...and we have eaten a lot of pork chops.

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