Posts Tagged ‘pork chops’

©stephen kolyer_pork


My only real bargain buying is a whole pork loin.  Whenever I can, I will purchase the whole piece on sale and then break it down for many, many future meals.  Steve loves to photograph me as I twist and turn and pull and slice removing all of the fat and trimming it down to manageable pieces.  I usually end up with a couple of small roasts for company dinners (which, after spending all this time removing the outer layer of fat, I always recover in some kind of fatty meat like bacon), a good number of skinless, boneless, fatless cutlets (just so you know I’m promoting a healthy life style), and lots of trimmings which make a great addition to fried rice, light-on-the-protein stir-fries, or ground for sausage making.  I never pay more than about $13- so you see this really becomes a big bargain in the protein world.



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The other night we were feeling in the mood for a steak house dinner – something we don’t have very often – but when I visited the butcher shop I just didn’t see a steak that fit my bill of fare.  Everything was either too big or way too expensive.  But, the thick, center-cut pork chops looked great and would work just as well on the stove top grill.   And if I honored them well, they would be just as satisfying as a juicy steak.
What exactly does it mean to honor a pork chop?  Well, if you just pop pork chops on the grill they will usually be dry and stringy – unless you’re cooking heritage pork which is generally well-marbled and extremely flavorful – and just not very good.  But, if you brine them (check out my roast chicken for brining hints) you can usually reverse this.  So, I when I got home I immediately placed the chops in a brine for about an hour.  Once nicely brined, I patted them dry and seasoned them well with salt and pepper.  Placed them in a very hot stove top grill pan (mine is so well-worn that I’m thinking I have to get a new one – if you don’t own one, get one, it will become your most-used pan) and seared one side for about 3 minutes and then turned the chops to mark and sear the other for about the same amount of time.  Then, on somewhat lower heat and I continued to grill, turning a couple of times, for about another 12 minutes or until the meat was just barely cooked through.  I took them off the stove and let them rest for about 5 minutes.  I often serve pork chops with a fresh, lively chimmchurri (you’ll find a recipe in my post of September 15, 2010) or my mom’s pepper relish (you’ll find it in posts also but it can’t be made quite as quickly as the chimmchurri).  On this night we had a great pan of hash browns and some sautéed chard.  Not exactly steak house, but still mighty tasty.
About brining pork:  You can use a simple brine as I do for chicken OR you can make up a mix of beer, or cider, or cider vinegar and brown sugar with some chile flakes, citrus zest, and any herbs that suit you.  The latter brine infuses the pork with additional flavor which isn’t necessarily a bad thing since today’s pork is so lean and mild in flavor.




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