Thursday, July 24, 2008

Molasses Brined Pork Chops with Roasted Corn Salsa

We love pork, everything from Grilled Asian Tenderloin to Homemade Italian Sausage to Apricot Stuffed Loin and even Dark Chocolate and Bacon Cupcakes. But I have a confession to make, we can't cook a decent pork chop to save our lives. No matter how we try to prepare them they end up dry. We try cooking them in sauces, grilling them, baking them but still the same unappetizing dryness. I try to tell myself its not us, its today's leaner pork but still its hard not to start to question your cooking skills.

Well, that all ended with last night's pork chops from Mastering the Grill: The Owner's Manual for Outdoor Cooking. The chops are brined for 4 - 6 hours in a sweet & salty Molasses Brine which helps keep them juicy while cooking. The brine also imparted a subtle flavor to the pork but not so much that it would overpower any seasoning you added to it later.
Molasses Brined Pork Chop with Roasted Corn Salsa
As good as the pork was in this dish the Roasted Corn Salsa was amazing. The sweetness of the fresh corn is enhanced by the time on the grill & matches perfectly with the heat of the chile, tart of the lime juice & bite of the onion. It brought a lot of extra flavor to the pork but I can see making it as a condiment for plenty of other dishes.

Molasses Brined Pork Chops

Molasses Brine

1 3/4 c cold water
2 T apple cider vinegar
2 T kosher salt
2 T unsulfured molasses
1 T light brown sugar
1 T ketchup

Mix everything together in a gallon-size ziplock bag. Close the bag & shake until the sugar is dissolved.

4 pork chops 1 - 1 1/2 inches thick(bone-in rib chops or boneless center cut loin chops)
1 T olive oil
1 T paprika

Place the pork chops in the bag with the brine. Seal the bag pressing out any excess air. Massage the meat. Place in a bowl & refrigerate for 4 - 6 hours.

Remove the meat from the brine & dry with a paper towel. Rub the chops with the olive oil & then the paprika. Tent loosely with tin foil & allow to sit at room temperature for 1 hour.

Heat the grill to high & grill the chops over direct heat for 2 - 3 minutes per side. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover & grill for another 5 - 6 minutes per side (boneless chops will only need about 2 - 3 more minutes per side). Transfer to a plate, tent with foil & allow to rest for 5 minutes.

Roasted Corn Salsa

1 T olive oil
1 small tomato, seeded & finely chopped
1 jalapeno chile (we used a Freseno red chile instead), seeded & finely chopped
1 small clove of garlic, finely minced
2 T chopped red onion
2 T chopped fresh cilantro
juice of 1/2 lime
1/4 t kosher salt
3 ears of fresh corn, husks removed

Combine the olive oil, tomato, chile, garlic, onion, cilantro, lime & salt in a medium bowl.

Coat the corn all over with oil. Grill the corn over medium-high heat, turning often, until brown all over. This should take about 10 minutes.

Allow the corn to cool to touch & use a knife to cut off the kernels. Add the kernels to the rest of the ingredients.

Makes 4 servings of pork & salsa


Peter M said...

I "OINK" along to your love of pork!

Jen said...

The inability to cook a pork-chop at home came up in conversation with some friends a few nights ago... I really do think that brining is the only way to do it.

P.S. Love the corn salsa.

Giff said...

Going to have to make that corn salsa this weekend methinks :)

Anonymous said...

This looks like an excellent pork brine. We'll have to give this a try. Great photo!

grace said...

i adore pork chops marinated in orange juice and brown sugar, but i really need to break free of that. it's good to try new things, right? this should be a winner, all the way from the brine to the corn salsa. nicely done. :)

kat said...

Thanks everyone. I'm glad to know I'm not the only one with pork chop issues.

Nikki @ NikSnacks said...

That salsa looks amazing. It's almost dinner time and I wish I were having it instead of what I cooked...

Molasses brine is something I'll have to try in the near future.

Nate @ House of Annie said...

Two things you have to remember about pork chops: they must be cut thick, and they should be brined because they're so lean. Molasses brine sounds good. Whatever you do, though, don't do a vanilla brine.

Oh, and watch out for that Sophie from KI. She appears to be spamming a lot of blogs lately. I like Spam, but not spammers.

Shelby said...

This looks so delicious! I will have to try.

I wouldn't worry about Sophie from Key Ingredient. I don't believe she is a spammer. I use her website to create widgets often and its another great place to get to know other bloggers. She probably just loved your site as much as I do!

test it comm said...

That looks really good!

Anonymous said...

wow this looks so great. i love the fresh corn on the pork chops, all the flavors are making me so hungry.

Lori said...

Hmmm this does look and sound so good.

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