Brined Pork Chops with Barbecue Sauce
Recipe excerpted from Remington Camp Cooking by Charlie Palmer
4 bone-in double-cut pork chops (14 to 16 oz. each)
1⁄2 Basic Brine recipe (see below)
Olive oil, for brushing
Bourbon Barbecue Sauce (see below)
In a large nonreactive container, combine the meat and the brine and let sit overnight in the refrigerator. Remove the chops from the brine and pat dry on both sides with paper towels.
Brush the chops lightly with olive oil and cook on a grill over medium heat for 4 to 5 minutes per side, or until the internal temperature registers 145°F on an instant-read thermometer. Let stand about 5 minutes.
Serve the chops with warm Bourbon Barbecue Sauce
Brine, in its simplest form, is a mixture of salt and water in various ratios used to preserve and flavor food. The process of brining is also an essential primary step for hot or cold smoking. One of the most important things to watch out for when cooking meats that have been brined is to be careful of high heat as the sugar that is often added to a brine causes the surface of the meat to burn quickly. Use moderate heat and keep a watchful eye.
Brining time depends on the thickness of the item being brined. A good rule of thumb is about 6 hours per inch of meat, or 24 hours for a whole turkey—nothing should take much longer than that. If you are thinking about brining steaks or chops for outdoor cooking, give yourself enough time to finish the brining process before you pack up to leave so you can discard the brine down the sink at home instead of having to mess around with packing it back out of the campsite later.
makes 4 cups brine
4 cups water
1⁄4 cup kosher salt (never iodized)
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon whole black peppercorns
1 tablespoon dried thyme
1 tablespoon dried rosemary
1 tablespoon crushed dried bay leaves
5 garlic cloves, smashed
In a saucepan, combine all of the ingredients and place over moderate heat. Two things happen here: the liquid is heated to the point where the salt and sugar dissolve into the brine, and the brine becomes infused with the flavor of the spice component. When the brine comes to a gentle boil, remove the pan from the heat. Avoid reducing the liquid and upsetting the ratio. Set it aside to steep and extract as much flavor as possible as it cools.
Bourbon Barbecue Sauce
When making this base sauce, consider how much you will use. It’s easy to double the recipe and put the balance in canning jars to have ready for your next barbecue.
makes about 3 cups
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 onion, diced
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon crushed red chili flakes
1⁄2 cup honey
2 cups fresh orange juice
2 cups brewed coffee
1⁄2 cup bourbon
1 1⁄2 cups ketchup
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 cup red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 tablespoon dry mustard (preferably Coleman’s)
In a stockpot, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion, cumin, and chili flakes, and cook just until the onion begins to wilt, about 3 minutes. Stir in the honey and cook for 5 to 7 minutes longer, stirring occasionally; the honey will start to caramelize and darken in color. Add the orange juice, coffee, and bourbon and bring to a bare simmer. Stir in the ketchup, sugar, vinegar, tomato paste, and dry mustard and whisk to blend. Simmer the sauce for 30 to 45 minutes, occasionally scraping down sides and bottom of the pot with a heatproof spatula. The sauce will be a little chunky from the onions; you can leave it that way if you like, or blend until smooth.