30 min + 2hr brine
By: Rick Bakas
Here’s a year ’round recipe that makes good use of fresh apples (and pear) in the summer, yet warms the soul during the holidays. For this recipe you’ll want to make good use of the 2-hour brine for your chops. That’ll ensure they’re moist and full of flavor complexity.
A favorite wine pairing is usually Riesling because Riesling is like crack for sommeliers not to mention most Rieslings are low in alcohol, so this meal won’t make you feel heavy afterwards.
- 4 thick-cut pork chops bone in
- 3/4 cup kosher salt (i used whisky flavored)
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1 tbsp mustard powder
- 1 tbsp black peppercorns
- 2 cups apple cider vinegar
- 1 pound ice cubes
- 1 tbsp unsalted butter
- 1/3 cup sweet onion, minced
- 4 Fuji apples, peeled and cubed into 1/2″ cubes
- 2 tsp minced ginger
- 1 tbsp fresh sage, finely chopped
- 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 2 tbsp sugar
- salt & pepper
This particular brine is called a 2-hour brine for a reason. You really want to keep it close to two hours or the flavor can start to get a bit overbearing. Plan for 15-20 minutes of cook/rest time.
The compote will take about 10 minutes to cook. it can be made ahead of time and gently warmed up when the chops are ready. Feel free to swap out 2 of the apples for 2 bosc pears.
Step by Step Instructions
Step 1 – BRINE CHOPS
Two hours ahead of meal time make the pork chop brine. After two hours, remove the chops from the brine and rinse with cold water.
Step 2 – PREP COMPOTE
In a large saucepan over medium heat melt butter. Add onions and cook for approximately 4-5 minutes until they become soft, stirring occasionally.
Add apples (and pears if desired), apple cider vinegar, ginger, sugar and sage. Add 1/4 cup of water and bring to a boil.
Reduce heat to low, cover saucepan and cook/simmer approximately 10 minutes until apples are tender, stirring occasionally. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Preheat your gas grill to high if you have an upper rack. You’ll be grilling the pork chops with indirect heat. If you have charcoals or don’t have an upper rack prepare your grill for indirect grilling as you normally would.
Grill chops with indirect heat for 10-12 minutes total turning once. Finish by moving the chops over the direct heat and searing for about a minute each side. The heat will carmelize the brown sugar giving your chops that “charred” appearance. Let rest for five minutes, then serve with apple compote on top or the side.