This dinner came to be for two reasons. The first, I have this amazing book I checked out from the library. I’ve put it up in my Amazon store in case you aren’t a library hound too. It’s Adam Perry Lang’s Serious Barbecue. There were, of course, multiple Bobby Flay books on the library shelf. What made me check this fat book out instead, was the review from Jamie Oliver.
Adam is the most inspiring barbecue chef in the world. – Jamie Oliver
I am so mad at myself for not taking a photo of my favorite part of this recipe. While grilling, you brush melted butter on to these pork chops with an herb brush. To create a brush, you wrap sprigs of thyme to a wooden spoon or dowel with twine. How fun is that! I promise to photograph the next fancy-pants herb brush!
The second reason we made this chops for dinner was because I’m so chickened and beefed out! Sometimes walking through the meat section of the grocery store just starts to ick me out. Hmm, which dead animal am I hungry for today? I usually walk away from the pork section, because I was once told that pigs are as smart as 3 year-old humans. How sad is that? Wilbur, Babe, those smart three little house-building pigs! Alas, I pulled the trigger and bought us some intelligent meat.
Usually pork is dry, dry, dry. These fat pork chops are wonderful and it’s mostly because of the brine. I’ve brined poultry before, why hadn’t I thought of brining pork? I only had 7 hours to let my chops soak, so I can only imagine how much more juicy they would be, had I let them soak for the suggested 12-24 hours.
Before sharing the recipe, I thought I’d break up all the text with a photo of Max. He was so proud to be allowed to use a knife for buttering his bread. We are on Spring Break here and I took the boys out to The Cheesecake Factory for lunch. Dallas wanted to know what the white things were. After explaining that they were cloth napkins, Dallas let me know that we were at a really fancy restaurant and he felt like Sofia the First.
- For the brine:
1 tablespoon red pepper flakes
- 2 tablespoons boiling water
- 4 cups apple cider
- 2 cups cool water
- ¼ cup kosher salt
- ¼ cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- Six 1½-inch-thick pork rib chops (8 to 10 ounces each)
- For the seasoning blend:
- 2 tablespoons mild chili powder
- 2 tablespoons mustard powder
- 1 tablespoon garlic salt
- 1 teaspoon finely ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- For the dressing:
- ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 3 tablespoons coarsely chopped flat-leaf parsley
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 medium shallot, peeled and finely grated
- 1 small garlic clove, minced
- ¼ cup canola or vegetable oil
- 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
- 1 bunch thyme sprigs, tied together in a bundle
- Fleur de sel or kosher salt
- Finely ground black pepper
- In a large bowl, combine the red pepper flakes and boiling water. Let sit for 1 to 2 minutes to rehydrate the flakes. Add the cider, cool water, salt, brown sugar and garlic. Stir until the sugar is dissolved.
- Place the chops in an extra-large food-grade zip-close plastic bag (or divide between 2 large bags). Pour the brine over the chops, squeeze out any excess air, then seal the bag and refrigerate for at least 12 hours, or up to 1 day.
- When ready to cook, heat one grate of a well-oiled charcoal or gas grill to medium-high and the other to medium-low.
- To make the seasoning blend, in a small bowl mix together the chili powder, mustard powder, garlic salt, black pepper and cayenne. Set aside.
- To make the dressing, in a jar with a tight-fitting lid, combine the olive oil, lemon juice, parsley, honey, shallot and garlic. Shake well, then set aside.
- Remove the pork chops from the brine, letting any excess brine remain in the bag. Discard brine. Lightly pat dry the chops with paper towels. Sprinkle the seasoning blend evenly on all sides of the chops.Using your hands or a brush, evenly but lightly coat the chops with the canola oil.
- Place the chops on the medium-high grate, and grill with the lid open until they are well marked and lightly charred, about 3 minutes. Flip, still over medium-high, to a clean part of the grate, then grill with the lid open for another 3 minutes.
- Brush the chops with butter using the thyme bundle. Move to the medium-low grate and close the lid. Open the lid every few minutes, turning and moving the chops as needed.
- Cook until the desired doneness.
- Give the dressing a quick shake and drizzle about half on a clean plate or cutting board. Top with the chops and let rest for about 5 minutes.
- Cut the chops to separate the meat from the bone and slice the meat on a diagonal into ¼-inch slices, drizzling with the remaining dressing, and making sure all slices are coated. Sprinkle with fleur de sel and pepper.