Cider-Brined Pork ChopsSteven Raichlen
Cider-Brined Pork Chops
- Yield: Serves 4
- Equipment: Hardwood chunks or chips
For the Lemon Ginger Cider Brine:
- 3 cups water
- 1/4 cup coarse salt (sea or kosher)
- 3 cups cold apple cider
- 4 strips lemon zest (remove it with a vegetable peeler)
- 1 piece fresh ginger (2 inches), cut crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick slices and lightly crushed with the side of a cleaver
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus extra for seasoning
- 4 pork porterhouses or pork rib chops (12 to 16 ounces each), cut 1-1/2 to 2 inches thick
- 2 tablespoons melted butter or vegetable oil
- Booze + Fruit Glaze (see recipe)
Step 1: Make the Lemon Ginger Cider Brine. Bring the water and salt to a boil in a large saucepan. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the cider, lemon zest, ginger, and pepper. Let cool to room temperature.
Step 2: Arrange the chops in a large baking dish or place them in a large resealable plastic bag. Pour the brine over them. If using a plastic bag, lay it in a baking dish to catch any leaks. Brine the pork in the refrigerator for 6 hours, turning several times so they brine uniformly. Drain the chops well, discarding the brine. Blot dry with paper towels.
Step 3: Set up your grill for indirect grilling and preheat to medium-low (225 degrees). Add wood chunks or chips to the fire. Smoke the pork chops to an internal temperature of 120 degrees. This will take about 1 hour.
Step 4: Transfer the chops to a platter. Set up your grill for direct grilling and preheat to high. Brush and oil the grill grate.
Step 5: Brush the pork chops on both sides with melted butter. Direct grill until cooked to taste, about 4 minutes per side for medium (150°F on an instant-read thermometer). Give each chop a quarter turn after 2 minutes to lay on a crosshatch of grill marks. After you turn the chops, baste with any remaining butter.
Step 6: Two minutes before they’re done , brush the chops with the Booze + Fruit Glaze on both sides, if using. Brush once more before serving and serve any extra glaze on the side.
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