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.
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
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