Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Grilled Pork Chops

Don't look now, but Labor Day weekend is coming up. Sadly, that is the last hurrah for many folks' grill. If you are a casual griller and just want to finish up the "season" with something different than burgers and dogs, I'd recommend that you go with some nice thick pork chops.

But dinner was delayed for about an hour tonight.

I've seen the Blue Angels a few times but I saw the greatest airshow "off" earth tonight. As the sun was setting through the trees, three hummingbirds were swooping, flying, stopping mid-air and dive bombing each other all around our deck, where we have a new feeder. You could hear their wings beating as the raced around us. It was just too entertaining to interrupt by firing up the Egg.

I tried getting a shot of their aerial dogfights but the lighting was too low to get a high speed photo. But I did manage to get a few shots when they would perch to catch their breath.

Okay, back to grilling. Can you imagine how hard it would be to spatchcock a hummingbird?

What? Is that wrong?

You might think I am weird, but to me a very nice and thick bone in pork chop is every bit as good as a t-bone steak, when cooked properly. There's the delicious larger white meat side, the smaller yet amazing tenderloin side, and finally, you can't beat gnawing on the meat near the bone of a grilled pork chop.

I've detailed how I like cooking thick pork chops before with my Porkus Chopus Maximus recipe but the basics are:
  1. THICK - Get very thick pork chops that are 1 1/2 to 2" thick. I might not have a ruler with me in the grocery store but I just make sure that the chops are thicker than two fingers.
  2. BRINE - Soak in a brine to enhance flavor and moisture.
  3. RUB - Use a bold rub to spice up the pork.
  4. SEAR - Get your grill marks over direct high heat. A cast iron grate helps!
  5. ROAST - Finish the chops off over indirect heat to get to proper internal temps without burning the outside.
Tonight, I used a different brine that worked very well.

Impromptu Pork Chop Brine

1 cup apple juice
12 oz beer
1/2 cup salt
1/2 cup turbinado sugar
2 Tbsp black peppercorns (whole)
Water to cover the meat

Soak for 2-4 hours.

This time, I tried searing the chops at a lower temp (450 vs 600f) but longer time than my Porkus Chops Maximus technique. I thought I could get around the roasting part but still get the nice seared outside.

I still ended up having to switch from direct heat to indirect heat so I didn't burn the outsides before the internal temp hit my 140f target (before resting).

In the last 15 minutes, I brushed them with the award winning Pork Barrel BBQ sauce that I won from Rex at Savory Reviews a while back. I've used this a few times and know why it won Men's Health Magazine's favorite bottled sauce. Good stuff.

We served it up with corn on the cob with a barbecue rub butter and broccoli that was topped with a habanero/jalapeno cheese sauce.
An overdone pork chop is horrible. But a properly cooked thick pork chop like this is heaven!

So what's on your menu for the Labor Day Weekend?


  1. We have two (three sometimes) hummingbirds that fight over the hummingbird feeder. It is very entertaining for us and the cats to watch.

    The pork chops look great. We haven't decided what we are doing for Labor Day - we have to concentrate on football first!

  2. Chris- In our house the pork chop is KING! Furthermore my husband has declared grilled pork chops to be his top choice for his "last supper"-LOL!

    I want to dive right into that entire plate of food. The chops look so succulent and the very idea of a spiced up habanero-jalapeno cheese sauce is intoxicating.

  3. Ugh. Fair weather grillers. Amateurs.

    Pork is absolutely my favorite meat! Those thick pork chops are what I'm craving now. Yes. At 7AM. Don't judge me.

  4. LOL - nice pics of the hummers - the last of our summer visitors took off last week for the south - they are very entertaining aren't they? The chops look perfect - I'm going to pass the brining technique on to the Mister - thick chops are my red meat indulgence. I don't know what we'll be making for Labor Day, but I'm betting it will have lots of garden veggies in it. :D

  5. What a great meal Chris (and great pic as usual. I'm with you on a good chop vs. steak. We have several hummer feeders and it always amazes me to watch them playing king of the hill. Seems as though they'd burn up more energy fighting over the food than they'll get eating it.

  6. Great snap of the hummingbird!! lol
    I'm with you, I love a good pork chop. I find it very difficult to find thick cut bone in pork chops anymore though, sort of disappointing! I have to say, I feel fortunate to live in a place where I can easily grill all year around! Labor day just signifies cooler nights and not having to stand by the grill when it's 110!
    I was hoping I'd get that wonderful smoker I won before Labor Day so I could make some ribs....!!!!! mmmmmmmmmmmm....ribs!

  7. See, I thought there was going to be a grilled hummingbird in the last pic. Now I'm bummed.

  8. Lovely chops! You're right - a nice, thick chop done right will give steak a run for its money. I've been getting whole loins when they are on sale and turning them into 1 1/2 or so thick chops.

    No humming birds for us, but we've got tons of finches, much to the delight of the kitties.

  9. Even a vegetarian can love that WTF bird.

  10. Blasphemy! No, not spatchcocking a hummingbird, but saying that summer and bbq season will be over soon! Hopefully we'll have good bbq weather all the way til November!

  11. You are sooooooooooo funny!!! WTF???????

  12. I dare you to spatchock a hummngbird. You would be banned from any Green Egg forum or any other forum for that matter. Bourdain and myself would applaud.
    We have planted plants to attrack hummngbirds and they are better than TV!
    Speaking of Pork Chops, You are the Man and have led me to inspirtation to cook some myself.

  13. ha ha ha! ha ha ha. Love the sound of this brine...the chop is gorgeous, of course! I just shove my grill into the garage...cuz I love grilling in the snow, so I like to have it handy ;) Seriously.

  14. Yours looks perfectly cooked and delicius. I love thick cut pork chops.

  15. I had heard hummingbirds can be quite vicious! Probably wouldn't be worth the effort to grill one. Stick with that pork...looks delish!

  16. LOL about the wtf hummingbird photo! Too funny. And thank you very much for this pork chop lesson. I just posted that I can't cook porkchops so always pick the little skinny ones to be safe. I'll be trying this. I do plan to grill all weekend! Haven't planned my menus yet.

  17. People who skip brining chops are really missing something. The difference brining makes is like night and day. I'll have to try out your brine recipe, it looks good.

  18. If my Mom cooked pork chops that looked like this I wouldn't have to feign 'not being hungry' on pork chop night. These couldn't be any more delicious looking! Spaghetti and meatballs are on the menu for us...and I took your advice about eating turkey more often and roasted up one tonight.

  19. Thick pork chops properly cooked are the bomb, and you did these justice. I don't even buy the skinny pork chops anymore as the thick ones are so much better.


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