Pork chops are tough. No really, they can be tough. Which you’d know if I’d ever served them to you. I love pork chops, but I’m not very good at them. One thing you can say about me, I don’t give up. Well ok, sometimes I do (ask me sometime about trying to knit…there was lots of alcohol afterwards…). But usually I at least give things a second, third and fourth try.
I found this recipe for grilled pork chops courtesy of a William-Sonoma newsletter and decided that this would be the year I learn how to cook good (ie, not dry) pork chops. The secret, according to Williams-Sonoma is brining the pork chops first. Oh, and getting them thick. Also, and on the bone. When I went to buy mine on Friday afternoon I looked in the case and only saw boneless pork chops so I asked the meat guy. He said he’d cut some for me so I was able to tell him exactly what I wanted.
Last night I mixed up the brine and let them set. Note: Juniper berries were optional – I didn’t use them, mostly because I didn’t feel like buying them… This afternoon I took them out of the fridge, rinsed them off and patted them down and they hit the grill. I discovered I’ve been cooking pork chops wrong on the grill: don’t use direct heat. Oh, go ahead and use direct heat for a few minutes to sear the outside, but then move to indirect heat.
I still overcooked them. Yeah, what can I say? I was drinking a cranberry vodka (homemade) and lemonade cocktail and watch BBC’s The Musketeers, I can be forgiven for not paying attention. But here’s the thing: the chops were still amazing. Yes, brining really does make a huge difference.
The recipe included grilled fruit and I’d bought 3 nectarines for us to have, but Husband J ate 2 of them. I’m not even mad because I’d rather him eat them than they go to waste. We split the last one between the three of us. We had the pork chops with a very simple green salad with chopped apples and a feta cheese dressing consisting of yogurt (the European style so it’s runny) and feta and black pepper. Yup, that’s it.
Sadly, there were no leftovers. Memo to self: next time buy more pork chops! Even son j had something nice to say about dinner, so we’ll chalk this up to a win.