Ahhhhh pork. You are easily in my top 17 sexiest meats to grill. Seriously, I’m like a raccoon, I’ll eat anything. Although ironically I’ve never eaten raccoon…yet. Now that spring is finally starting to
respond to the defibrillator I figured it would be a good time to not just grill some zazzy chops, but to try to create a whole new recipe. The old me would have just haphazardly tossed a bunch of things together and hoped it would work out. Now as I cook more and more and read up on it endlessly I’ve got a gameplan. You may remember the review I wrote on Weber’s Smoke book. The great thing about this book is that it’s not just a compilation of sexy BBQ recipes. It teaches you the fundamentals of grilling and offers great tips on how to construct your own unique sauces,marinades and whatnot.
It’s a week night and as always I’ve decided I’m doing this last minute so obviously there’s no time for a lengthy marinade or brine or anything like that. So let’s see if I can’t whip me up a top notch sauce to dress my chops up all pretty for dinner. What I’ve learned from this book is that the key to making a good BBQ style sauce is to get a good balance from these 4 flavor profiles: sweet, sour, salty and spicy. Basically the same as my 4 best personality traits. Wait, how is salty a personality trait? Trust me the overwhelming majority of you don’t want to know. Those few of you that actually do want to know? You got problems. Alright, the time for talking is over. Let’s cook.
Spicy Maple Pork Chops
4 Hotel cut pork chops (thick-bone in and trimmed-meaning bone looks clean like a rack of lamb)
1.25 Cups of white wine
1/4 Cup maple syrup (sweet)
2 Tablespoons Apple cider vinegar (sour)
1/2 Teaspoon Cayenne pepper (spicy)
1 Teaspoon Smoked paprika (sorta spicy)
1 Tablespoon Oyster sauce (salty)
Juice of 1 lime (sour)
<strongGood pinch of sea salt (salty-duh)
2 Finely sliced shallots
1 Tablespoon olive oil
First thing I do is take the chops out of the fridge so they warm up to room temperature. I season them and rub them down with a little olive oil on both sides with just enough care and love that it gets kinda awkward in front of my girlfriend. Aside from sticking to the 4 flavor components I am pretty much taking an educated guess at to how these ingredients will work together. Next step I heat up the oil on medium heat and saute the shallots until they soften and start to sweat like they got leg warmers on and are rocking out to Olivia Newton John. Sorry, I been listening to a ton of 80s tunes these days.
Now pour in the wine and let it reduce by half. Once that’s taken care of add all other ingredients and give it all a good stir.Not counterclockwise as I usually insist but this time in fancy infinity loops. Get to a boil and reduce the heat and let it simmer for about 15 minutes until it starts to really thicken. A key part of getting sauce just right is to taste it frequently. You’ll almost always need to make some on the fly adjustments. From tasting this I find it’s got a but too much bite from the cayenne and paprika so I add about another 2 tablespoons of maple syrup. It’s a little gritty too from the paprika so I turn the heat up slightly for a few minutes in the hopes it’ll dissolve a little. Once I’m happy with the balance of flavors I turn the heat way down and fire up the Q.
In a stroke of genius my lady friend suggests brushing the chops with a little more maple syrup as they cook. You don’t want to do that before you toss them on the grill. The syrup can burn and totally blacken the chops.I waited until the chops were flipped and brushed it onto the cooked side. Oh and for the love of all that is grilled and smoked DO NOT flip your meat over and over and over! Thick cut chops should cook for about 4 minutes per side on medium high heat and be flipped once. Try to get the sexy criss crossed grill lines on the meat too. It’s a minor thing but it makes you look like a pro. Before you ask, yes it’s cool to eat pork chops with some pink still in the middle, very cool actually.
Ok these bad boys are ready so let’s slather on some sauce and stuff face. I love the nice crispy glaze the maple gave to the meat. The sauce starts off sweet but a has a nice zip that comes in after. The
cider vinegar gives it a perfect tartness that doesn’t take away from either the sweet syrup or the spiciness. I must admit I’m loving this dish. I ask my kids and neither of them like it so that must mean it’s amazing. I go to ask the lady and her plate is totally clean. When I ask she says she loved it. So I ask her the most romantic thing I can think of “Would you agree that I just porked your brains out?” *long pause + stare down* “You’re an idiot.” I’ll take thats a solid maybe.