The New England roots of this recipe are obvious—in both the use of apple cider and in the presence of sage, a traditional Yankee seasoning for everything from turkey stuffing to cheese.
Step 1: Trim any excess fat off the pork chops. Place the chops in a nonreactive baking dish just large enough to hold them or in a resealable plastic bag.
Step 2: Combine the cider, 3 tablespoons of the sesame oil,the honey, soy sauce, lemon zest and juice, sage, seal- lion whites, garlic, and ginger in a nonreactive mixing bowl and stir until well mixed. Pour this marinade over the pork chops and let them marinate in the refrigerator, covered, for 2 to 4 hours, turning the chops several times so that they marinate evenly.
Step 3: Drain the marinade from the chops, place it in a heavy nonreactive saucepan, and bring to a boil over high heat. Let boil until thick, syrupy, and reduced to about 1 cup, 6 to 10 min utes. Whisk in the butter and season to taste with salt and pepper. This will serve as your sauce.
Step 4: Set up the grill for direct grilling and preheat to high. If using a gas grill, place all of the wood chips or chunks, if desired, in the smoker box or in a smoker pouch and run the grill on high until you see smoke. If using a charcoal grill, preheat it to high, then toss all of the wood chips, if desired, on the coals.
Step 5: When ready to cook, blot the chops dry with paper towels. Brush the chops on both sides with the remaining 1 tablespoon of sesame oil and season generously with salt and pepper. Brush and oil the grill grate. Grill the chops until cooked through, about 6 minutes per side, rotating them a quarter turn after 3 minutes to create an attractive crosshatch of grill marks. When ready to turn, the chops will be nicely browned on the bottom. To test for doneness, use the poke method; the meat should be firm but just gently yielding. Or insert an instant-read meat thermometer sideways into a chop: The internal temperature should be about 160°F.
Step 6: Transfer the grilled pork to a platter or plates and let rest for 2 minutes, then spoon the cider sauce on top. Serve with the Apple “Steaks,” if desired.
You can use a vegetable peeler to remove the oil-rich, yellow outer rind of the lemon in strips of zest. Be careful to leave behind the bitter white pith.
Pork “porterhouse steaks” are the most lavish cut you can use in this recipe, but you could certainly use a rib chop or even a boneless chop, in which case the cooking time would be about 4 minutes per side.