Saturday, August 25, 2012

Captain's Brined Peachy Pork Chops - on the smoker or the grill

You can feel it!  Fall and cooler weather are slowly oozing into August’s end.  Sunrise glows pink later in the morning, fog hugs the river and drifts slowly upwards to soften sharp lines of the city skyline and I swear I feel just a touch of a nip in the morning air.  Soups and stews and cool weather dishes are starting to stir in those remembered recipe recesses of my brain. 

Grilling and smoking are suited so nicely to this season of the year – the beer in your hand stays colder longer!  (Priorities, you know.)  Like the weather, lighter proteins of summer give way to more substantial fall-ish grill items - citrus-y chicken, shrimp, scallops and fish start being replaced by mustard-y marinaded pork and sausages or spice-rubbed and crusted beef.  Sturdier proteins linger on the smoker and are paired with Brussels sprouts and bacon, sweet potatoes and newly kettled fall apple butter.  Soon there will be roasted pumpkin and butternut squash!  Come to think of it, there are seasons of cooking right along with the seasons of the year.  The thought just makes me smile.

Here’s a recipe that straddles the border of summer and fall.  Smoky pork and summery peach nestle up together for a transitional dish to celebrate the coming cooler weather and the last local sweet peaches. If you don’t have a smoker, just do these on the grill…just do them!

Captain's Brined Peachy Pork Chops
 - on the smoker or the grill

  • 4 bone-in pork center rib chop, 3/4"-1" thick

  • 1 cup apple cider
  • 1 peach, nice & ripe, peeled & pitted
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 1/2 cup rum, Captain Morgan or other spiced rum
  • 1/2 cup onion, chopped fine
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard, you know I like Colmans!
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt

  • 1 peach, peeled and pitted, diced
  • 1/4 red onion, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons rum, Captain Morgan or other spiced rum
  • pinch ginger
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • pinch dry mustard, Colmans
  • 1 tablespoon butter

Combine all the brine ingredients, apple cider through Colmans, in a zip top bag & mix well.  Add the pork chops to the bag, squeeze out all the air, seal & refrigerate overnight or at least 4 hours.  Bring to room temp before putting on the smoker or the grill.
If you're smoking these beauties, prepare the smoker as you normally would with applewood chips.  Smoke the chops until cooked through, replenishing chips as necessary. Remove to plate. 

If you're grilling them, grill as you normally would on both sides.
While the chops are smoking, prepare the chutney.  In a small saucepan, melt butter and saute the onion and garlic gently.  Add the peach and cook down just a little, then add the rest of the ingredients.  Cook until warmed through well, but the peaches still have substance.  Serve over the pork chops.
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