Saturday, June 16, 2012

Cherry Pop Pork Chops

It's Fathers' Day Weekend and many dads like myself choose to celebrate it by cooking out.

Okay, I admit, I celebrate every holiday by cooking out.  I'll probably even grill on National Waffle Iron Day (June 29th this year, just in case you are wondering.)

When I think of my dad and grilling, I don't remember a specific specialty or recipe of his.  

What I remember  is the grill that he used.  Instead of using a kettle style grill like most suburban families of the 70's and 80's, my dad had a unique custom made grill.  It was made from a stainless steel beer keg that one of our neighbors threw out when they were moving.  My dad had a friend cut out the door, make a grill tray, put hinges on and used angle iron for legs.  That thing was shiny, cooked like a champ and was virtually indestructible.  I was talking to my dad about that grill tonight and he mentioned that they finally got rid of it a few years ago (after close to 2 decades) when they bought a new Weber.  

He jokingly said, "I had to get rid of it, I didn't want to get a reputation of being 'one of those people' who have a grill collection."  

I'm not sure to whom he was referring.....

Anyway, I made some ultra delicious pork chops today on one of my 5 grills, which is not made from a keg.  They had a soak in a cherry cola brine and then I topped them with a sweet cherry sauce that made them just out of this world.  

Since they had cherry profile it only made sense to serve them with the Bourbon and Brown Sugar flavor of Bush's Grillin' Beans.  In fact, I was tempted to do a bourbon/cherry sauce with a flambe finish, but my fire extinguisher wasn't nearby so I went with this.

Cherry Pop Pork Chops
Serves: 6

  • 6 boneless pork chops, 3/4" to 1" thick 
  • 2 Tbsp BBQ rub*, divided
For the brine
  • 12 ounce cherry cola
  • 2 cups water
  • 3 Tbsp kosher salt
For the cherry sauce
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh cherries, pitted and quartered
  • 1/4 cup simple syrup*
  • 2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp of the BBQ rub listed above
  1. Brine.  Mix the brine ingredients in a half steam pan.  Whisk together until the salt is dissolved.  Add the pork chops and brine, refrigerated for 4-6 hours.
  2. Preheat a charcoal grill to 350-375f (medium).  Clean and oil your grill grates.
  3. Remove chops from the brine and discard brine.  Pat chops dry and season on all sides with the BBQ rub.  
  4. Grill the chops for 4-6 minutes per side or until they reach an internal temperature of 140f.  
  5. While the chops are grilling, preheat a saute pan over medium heat.  Add a Tbsp of butter and the cherries,  tossing or stirring for 1 minute.  Add the vinegar, syrup and rub.  Simmer for 10 minutes until slightly thickened.  This is not intended to be a reduction, so you don't have to try to get it to "reduce volume by half".  
  6. Let the chops rest 5 minutes after coming off the grill then slice them thin and top with the cherry sauce.
  • Rub - use your favorite homemade or commercial BBQ rub.  I used 1 Tbsp paprika, 1 t salt, 1 t pepper, 1 t sugar, 1/2 t garlic powder, and 1/2 t chili powder.
  • Simple Syrup - just heat together equal parts water and sugar over medium-low heat until the sugar is dissolved
This is a cold brine, so you don't have to heat it up first.  Just mix it up.

Fresh cherries and pork are a great combination.  Get 'em while you can.

The bourbon and sweet notes in the Grillin' Beans matched the cherry sauce on the pork. 

Tip:  To keep your chops from curling up as they grill, score the fat cap.

Season well on all sides - I wasn't finished here.

Grilling on my Big Green Egg. 
The cherries sauteing - you could do this part on the grill too.

This earned 4 or 5 "OMG"s from Alexis and I have to agree with her.  The sweet sauce mixed with the grilled chops to create a smoky, tart, and sweet flavor explosion.  The Grillin' Beans were a perfect match and things really got crazy good when the two sauces mixed.  

That's one of the best things about the Grillin' Beans line up.  No matter what I'm firing up on the grill, at least one of the seven bold varieties is going to be a good combination.

Back to Fathers Day - Do you have any favorite memory or recipe of your dad grilling?  (I do realize that memory might be less than a successful cook, ha ha)

[Standard Disclaimer] I have a business arrangement with Bush Beans, a local Knoxville company, and received compensation for this post.  Any opinions stated are my own.