Dave at My Year On The Grill (who is currently temporarily exiled grill-less in the Virgin Islands) has taunted me a few times with his blackened pork chops. While "blackened" does sound like a euphemism for "burned", Dave has explained that it the meat is not burned but rather it has a crust of charred spices.
I grabbed this recipe from Big Oven for a blackening spice. Then read a little bit more on blackened meat and fish at Dave's blog and a few other sources. They were all very similar so I gave it a shot.
Blackened Pork Chops
Blatantly stolen from...errrr....inspired by My Year On The Grill
3 ea pork chop, 1" thick, boneless, trimmed
1/2 Tbsp paprika
1 1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 to 1/2 tsp black pepper
1/4 to 1/2 tsp white pepper
1/4 tsp thyme, ground
1/4 tsp oregano, ground
1/4 tsp celery seed
Almost every source I read mentioned the use of a searing hot cast iron pan for cooking these. I knew this was a job for my Craycort cast iron griddle insert.
I let the griddle get very hot in a 400f Egg that had already been burning for 2 hours. I then brushed each chop with hot melted butter (heat is the key) and then layered heavily with the rub. I placed them on the searing griddle, topped with a splash of more butter, and let them go for 2-3 minutes.
I flipped them and repeated the butter splash. The article did warn about possible flame ups from the butter...
I'll be honest, the flare up was much smaller. I did this one on purpose for effect and the camera :)
After two more minutes these chops had a perfectly charred crust on both sides. I quickly converted the grill to indirect heat by putting a grid extender over a 1/2 steam pan. I roasted them at 350f until they hit 145f internal.
I was worried how that crust was going to taste. I like a little char on my steaks, burgers and thinly sliced flank steaks, but this was something else. If it was all just char it was going to be bitter. But I trusted what Dave said.
I was so surprised when I tasted my first slice. There was nothing that resembled burned meat about the texture or taste. It was like Dave said it was, an intensely flavorful crust of spices wrapped around juicy, tender meat. I just wanted to eat the whole thing right there at the cutting board.
But that would have been overlooking the perfect side dish that I prepared for my FIRE DAY FRIDAY post over at Our Krazy Kitchen, red beans and rice.
This was a definite favorite dinner of mine, even if we did eat at 10pm last night.
Don't forget, Sunday is the deadline for entering my June giveaway, an autographed copy of Chris Lilly's book (see the side bar for details and to enter).