Archive for October 22nd, 2011

Molasses-Brined Pork Chops with Roasted Corn Salsa - BBQ And Grilling Recipes

Modern breeding methods and consumer demand have resulted in lean pork with less intramuscular fat – the other white meat. That’s great for reducing our overall calorie intake, but it presents a few challenges for grilling pork without drying it out. Here’s where brining really shines. When you soak pork (or other lean meats) in salty water, the meat actually becomes juicier – a fact you can prove by weighing the meat before and after brining. The meat essentially absorbs the brining liquid, which increases its water weight. (This is one reason that commercial meats are often brined: You pay more for the meat because it weighs more, and producers can promote brining because it adds flavor and moisture. Of course, you can save money by brining fresh meat yourself at home.) Here’s how it works: The salt in the brine causes protein strands in the meat to unravel, or “denature.” As they unwind, the protein strands get caught up in one another, forming a sort of web, and the brining liquid gets caught in that web. Even trapped in the newly formed web, resulting in moister grilled meat. And the technique couldn’t be easier. As in marinating, you simply mix up a flavorful liquid (with the addition of extra salt and sometimes sugar) and then let the meat soak in the refrigerator for a few hours. See page 85 for more on the technique of brining.

TIMING
Prep: 10 minutes (plus 5 minutes for brine)
Brine: 4 to 6 hours
Rest before grilling: 1 hour
Grill: 14 to 20 minutes.

GETTING CREATIVE
– If you prefer boneless meat, replace the rib chops with boneless rib chops or center-cut loin chops and reduce the cooking time slightly.
– For smoky-tasting chops, soak 1 cup of hickory or oak wood chips in water for 20 to 30 minutes. Add the soaked chips to the high-heat area of the grill until they begin to smolder. Grill the chops as directed, covering the grill to trap the smoke.

THE GRILL
Gas: Direct heat, high (500°F)
Clean, oiled grate on lowest setting
Charcoal:
Direct heat, red hot
12-by-12-inch charcoal bed (about 3 dozen coals) with high- and low-heat areas
Clean, oiled grate on lowest setting
Wood:
Direct heat, red hot
12-by-12-inch bed with a 4-inch-deep area for high heat and a 2-inch-deep area for low heat
Clean, oiled grate set 2 inches above the fire.

INGREDIENTS (MAKES 4 SERVINGS)
2 cups Molasses Brine
4 bone-in pork rib chops, each 1 to 1½ inches thick (about 3 pounds total), trimmed of excess fat
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for oiling corn
1 tablespoon paprika, sweet, hot, or smoked
1 small tomato, seeded and finely chopped
1 jalapeño chile, seeded and finely chopped
1 small clove garlic, minced
2 tablespoons chopped red onion
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
Juice of ½ lime
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
Oil for coating grill grate
3 ears fresh corn, husks removed.

DIRECTIONS
1. Put the brine in a large zipper-lock bag. Add the chops, press out the air, seal, and refrigerate for 4 to 6 hours.
2. Remove the chops from the brine and pat dry with paper towels. Rub the chops with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, then sprinkle them all over with the paprika. Cover loosely with foil and let the meat rest for about 1 hour at room temperature.
3. Heat the grill as directed.
4. Combine the tomato, jalapeño, garlic, onion, cilantro, lime juice, salt, and remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil in a bowl.
5. Brush the grill grate and coat it with oil. Coat the corn all over with additional oil or oil spray, then grill over medium to medium-high heat, turning often, until browned all over, about 10 minutes.
6. As the corn cooks, grill the chops over high heat until nicely grill-marked, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Reduce the heat under the chops to medium-low (on a gas grill) or move the chops to the low-heat area (on a charcoal or wood grill), cover, and grill for another 5 to 6 minutes per side for medium (about 145°F). Transfer to a platter, cover loosely with foil, and let rest for 5 minutes.
7. While the chops rest, cut the kernels from the corncobs and mix them into the salsa. Serve with the chops.

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