Friday, June 28, 2013

Cherry Chipotle Pork Chops

These are the juiciest and most tender pork chops I have ever had. 

Not only that, the chipotle bbq rub and sweet cherry bbq glaze made them magic – because they disappeared quicker than David Copperfield can say Statue of Liberty. They might be magical but there was no voo doo to it, just sous-vide.

Sue Who?

Sous-vide. It's a cooking technique where food is vacuum sealed, cooked in water for a long time and then seared at the last minute for serving. Sous-vide is reputed to provide perfectly even cooking, low moisture loss (i.e. juicy meat), and tender texture. I've dabbled with a poor man's version of sous-vide. Eggheads like to do what we call “hot tubbing” steaks where you bag them and submerge them in hot water for an hour before grilling.

But now I have had the chance to do REAL sous-vide because I have had a SousVide Surpreme Demi on loan for the past month. SousVide Supreme is hosting a Summer BBQ Challenge.  

They passed out their machines to some BBQ and grilling experts to see what we could do with their simple process of the "Four S's" 

  1. Season
  2. Seal
  3. Sous Vide
  4. Sear

I experimented with a lot of the basic grilling fare, like chops, steaks, chicken, and ribs.  The card of suggested temps and times made figuring it out quite easy.  

My favorite of all my lab work was these chops. Since the chops only have seconds on the grill, I totally techno-geeked out on this one and made a smoked BBQ butter to support the typical grilled flavor. 

Cherry Chipotle Pork Chops


Ingredients (serves 4)
    You'll need
    • 4 cowboy cut pork chops
    For the Chipotle BBQ rub
    • 1.5 tsp kosher salt
    • 1.5 tsp dark brown sugar
    • 1 Tbsp smoked paprika
    • 1.5 tsp garlic pepper seasoning
    • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
    • 1/4 tsp dried chipotle chile
    For the BBQ butter
    • 4 Tbsp warm butter
    • 1.5 tsp Greek yogurt
    • 1/2 tsp rub
    for the sauce
    • 1/2 cup Sweet Baby Ray's BBQ Sauce
    • 2 T cherry preserves
    • 2 T cider vinegar
    • 1 T bbq butter
    Equipment needed
    • SousVide Supreme
    • Vacuum sealer
    1. Make the dry rub by mixing the ingredients together and set aside.
    2. Make the smoked BBQ butter. Mix the ingredients together in a medium mixing bowl. [Optional but preferred by techno-geeks] Apply a dose of smoke from a smoke gun, cover with plastic wrap, and let sit for 5 minutes. Remove plastic wrap, stir and refrigerate.
    3. Sous-vide the chops. Pre-warm the sous-vide to 134f. Season the chops with the rub, vacuum seal and put in the sous-vide for 5 hours.
    4. Make the BBQ sauce. Mix ingredients together in a medium sauce pan and bring to a simmer. Simmer for 5 minutes then remove from heat.
    5. Sear the chops. Pre-heat a charcoal grill to 500f. Remove the chops from the sous-vide and the packaging. Smear some of the butter on each one. Sear the chops for 1 minute per side. Lightly glaze with the sauce. Let rest for 5 minutes. Serve with extra sauce.
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    Trevor using the smoke gun to put a little hickory smoke on the butter.

    The butter goes on the chops, in the BBQ sauce, and I used some to cook the potatoes.

    The ground chipotle chile in the dry rub gives it some smokiness and heat.

    Sealed and ready for a hot bath!

    Sear over a hot flame, don't worry, you almost can't burn it in this short time.

    Rotate 90 degrees for nice cross hatch marks.

    Because the meat has been at the desired internal temp for so long, there really isn't a need for allowing it to rest after cooking.  It's already had time to do it's thing.
    I also sealed a pack of carrots and potatoes.  With the sous-vide at 134f, that is too low to cook the veggies all the way through but it did par-cook them so they only needed a few minutes in a skillet with the smoked BBQ butter for the potatoes and I put a tarragon glaze on the carrots.

    Like I said, tender and juicy!

    I am no sous-vide expert but now that I have had time to test a true machine out, I can see where it has some advantages or opportunities in the grilling arena.

    Perfectly done, through and through. When you sous-vide a steak to medium rare, it is evenly medium rare from edge to edge. A skilled griller can accomplish this with reverse searing but not everyone wants to baby a steak for an hour while trying to keep your grill steady at 250f.

    Holding time. When chops are done on the grill, it's time to eat whether you're ready or not. But with sous-vide, once the meat has been in for the minimum time, you can leave it in there for hours (in most cases). The water temp is set at 135f so your pork chop will not get any hotter than that, so it's not overcooking and won't dry out like it would in an oven. So if your guests are late or another dish is taking too long, you can just leave the chops in the bath and then sear them when you're good and ready.

    Convenience. Football has just started for Trevor so we have practices 6-8pm 6 nights a week. I can put meat in the sous vide supreme before we leave and when I get home, I can grill dinner to perfection in 120 seconds, no waiting.

    Sins of Grilling. For those of you who are more pyro than chef on the grill, Sous Vide can help avoid the pitfalls of bad grilling. No more burned, raw, or dry meat. Since the Sous Vide Supreme does the hard work and gives you perfectly cooked, juicy meat that you are only going to sear for seconds, you almost don't have the opportunity to screw it up.

    "Hot tubbing" vs Sous-vide.  With hot tubbing, as soon as you put the sealed meat in hot water, the temperature starts falling and it will do so unevenly, cooling faster near the cold meat.  Sous vide not only maintains an exact temp, it also circulates the water for even heat, like a convection oven.  With hot tubbing, you are just tempering the meat.  With sous-vide, you are actually cooking it to temp.  

    What's next for my SousVide Supreme? Hopefully I will win this contest and get to keep mine.   But before I pack it up and ship it off, I want to experiment with some larger cuts like pork loin and beef roasts.  What would you "season, seal, sous-vide, and sear" if you had a SousVide Supreme?