Friday, January 29, 2021

Gochujang Pork Chops with Noodle Stir Fry

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I'm by no means an expert in Asian cuisine but I sure like to dabble in it. Case in point, these pork chops with a compound butter featuring the amazing spicy, umami, and slightly sweet flavors of gochujang that we made last year. 

Gochujang pork chops with noodle stir fry

If you're not familiar with it, gochujang is a Korean condiment made with fermented bean paste, chiles, and rice. It is often lumped in with sriracha, sambal oelek, and garlic chile paste. They are all similar and based on red chiles, but I find that they each have their own unique taste and texture. For me, gochujang has more of the umami flavor.

I use the compound butter in the sous vide pack and in the stir fry. But the best part is using the butter at the end, letting it melt its deliciousness all over the juicy pork chop.

Gochujang pork chops with noodle stir fry
The gochujang butter is an avalanche of lusciousness and flavor.

Choosing A Wok For The Grill

Let's talk options for using a wok on the grill, specifically a kamado grill like the Big Green Egg.  
  • Shape - Woks can either have a traditional round-bottom or a flat bottom.
    • Flat bottom wok. These work well for modern stovetops and you can use them directly on a grill gate. 
    • Round bottom wok - The original round shape of the wok is its strength, it handles intense heat in a unique way compared to flat bottomed pots and pans. The design provides more efficiency, gives a gradient of heat, and better suits the style of cooking. 
  • Handle Style - There are two issues when considering the handles on your wok.
    • Will it burn? Many woks use wood handles. These look nice and work on a stovetop, but in the hot grill, they will likely burn in 2-3 uses. 
    • Will it fit? The problem with single-handled woks is that if you put an 8" handle on a 14" wok, you won't be able to close the lid for the average-sized kamado grill. That's why I prefer woks with two half-moon handles, they provide more clearance.
  • Materials - The three most common types of woks are carbon steel, cast iron, and stainless.
    • carbon steel - inexpensive, easy to find, and efficient, has to be seasoned and maintained
    • cast iron - slow to adjust to heat changes, 
    • heavy stainless - requires more oil, heavy, expensive, doesn't have to be seasoned
  • Non-Stick Woks and Wok-like Pots
    • I have a few of these are they are okay as non-stick pots but I avoid using them as woks for a few reasons. First, there are heat limitations for PTFE coated non-stick pans, and wok cooking is expressly a high-heat type of cook. Secondly, the coatings typically aren't durable to handle the scrapes and scratches of the metal utensils that I like to use for wok cooking.

Best type of woks to use on the grill.
The woks on the right are half-moon handled, carbon-steel models that are cheap, durable, and work well on kamado grills. The ones on the left are single-handled, flat-bottom, non-stick coated models that aren't well suited for use on the grill.

Based on all of that information, I use a simple 16" carbon steel wok that rests in a spider rig. I already had this rig which doubles as a rig to hold a heat shield for indirect cooking. If I already didn't have a spider rig, then I would use a wok ring to stabilize my round bottom wok on the grill.

Cooking stir-fried noodles in a carbon steel wok on a spider rig above red hot lump charcoal.


Gochujang Pork Chops with Noodle Stir Fry

www.nibblemethis.com

Published 01/29/2021

Thick and juicy pork chops slathered with a Gochujang compound butter and served with stir-fried noodles

Ingredients

  • 2 8-oz bone-in ribeye pork chops
  • 1/4 cup high-temperature cooking oil (peanut, avocado, canola, etc)
  • 1/2 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds
  • sliced green onion for garnish
For the seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon granulated garlic
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/8 teaspoon red chile flake
For the Gochujang Butter
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 2 tablespoons gochujang
  • 1 green onion top, finely chopped
  • pinch of sea salt, to taste
For the Stir Fry
  • 6 ounces noodles (see notes), cooked according to instructions
  • 1 red bell pepper, sliced lengthwise
  • 1 sweet onion, peeled and sliced lengthwise
  • 1/4 cup frozen peas, allowed to thaw for 30 minutes
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled 
  • 3 tablespoons high-temperature cooking oil

Instructions

  1. Make the Stir Fry Seasoning. Mix the ingredients together and finely grind in a spice grinder or pepper mill. You will use this on the chops.
  2. Make the compound butter. Smash together with a fork until well combined. You can make this ahead of time but take it out of the fridge about 1 hour before using, to allow it to temper and soften.
  3. Sous vide the pork chops. Season the pork chops with about 1 teaspoon of the stir fry seasoning. Vacuum seal with 2 tablespoons of the gochujang butter. Place in the water cooker (aka sous vide) for 3 hours at 140°f.
  4. Set up and preheat the grill. Set up your grill for direct heat and preheat it until very hot. You almost can't cook too hot on a wok at home. I used a large Big Green Egg running at 500°f.  
  5. Make the Stir-Fry. Preheat your wok for about 5 minutes before starting. Add the oil and wait until it is hot about 30 seconds, then add the whole cloves of garlic. Let cook until the cloves turn golden brown, less than 1 minute, and discard the clove (you just seasoned the oil). Add the peppers and onion and stir fry for 3 minutes. Add the peas and cook another minute. Add the noodles and 2-3 tablespoons of the compound butter and cook 1 more minute, tossing to coat everything. Taste for seasoning and add a few pinches of the stir-fry seasoning as needed. Remove from the wok and keep warm.
  6. Sear the pork chops. Wipe the wok dry and allow the temperature to restore. Add the oil and wait for it to get hot. It will start to smoke and shimmer, when ready, about 30 seconds. Shallow fry each pork chop on each side in the oil until a crust forms, about 30-45 seconds.  Immediately top with 1 tablespoon of the compound butter.
  7. Serve each pork chop on a bed of noodles and garnish with green onion and sesame seeds. 

Yield: 2 servings

Prep Time: 00 hrs. 30 mins.

Cook time: 03 hrs. 30 mins.

Total time: 04 hrs.

Tags: Korean

Making gochujang pork chops on the Big Green Egg kamado grill.
You could use just about any thick pork chop for this recipe, I just love the Cheshire Pork ribeye chops that I used for this recipe.

Gojuchang compound butter recipe for grilling
The gochujang butter is simple, bursting with flavor, and would be tasty on a variety of meats and veggies.

Using the Anova Precision Cooker to cook pork chops sous vide before grilling.
I used an Anova Precision Cooker to cook the pork chops sous vide and then finished them on the grill. You could also do these with the reverse-sear technique or even direct grilling. 

As with most of my Big Green Egg cooks, I began this one by lighting a Kick Ash Basket full of lump charcoal with a JJ George grilling torch.

Cooking stir-fried noodles in a wok on the Big Green Egg kamado grill
Stir-fried noodles cooking in a wok over red hot charcoal.

Shallow frying a Cheshire Pork chop in a wok on the Big Green Egg kamado grill
Thanks to the curve at the bottom of the wok, I am shallow frying the pork chop in hot oil. 


I rested the pork chops on top of the noodles so the melted butter and chop juices mix in with the noodles.

Gochujang pork chops on the Big Green Egg featuring Cheshire Pork
Gochujang pork chops with noodle stir-fry



Want more inspiration, ideas, and recipes?  Check out my two books: The Kamado Smoker and Grill Cookbook and The Offset Smoker Cookbook.

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