Brined, Grilled Pork Chops are perfect to celebrate spring-like weather
Peggy Lampman | Contributor
I just spoke with my girlfriend in northern California; it's raining, cold and a general mess. For once Michigan weather holds the trump card, and I could boast about the crocus in bloom, and enjoy clusters of T-shirt clad kids pounding bongos at the Arb.
Spring has dropped by unannounced, catching us unaware — glorious! — with close to record-breaking temperatures day after day. A fine way to celebrate is to pull out the grill, and here's a favorite recipe for pork chops.
Yield: 2 thick juicy chopsâ€¨
Brine Time: 3 hoursâ€¨
Time: 35 minutes
1/4 cup kosher saltâ€¨
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
â€¨ 1 teaspoon black peppercorns, crushed with the broad side of a chef knifeâ€¨
2 small bay leavesâ€¨
2 bone-in pork chops, at least 1-inch thickâ€¨
1/2 teaspoon lemon zestâ€¨
1/2 tablespoon freshly lemon juiceâ€¨
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary, plus extra sprigs for garnishâ€¨
1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
1. Dissolve salt and sugar in 1 cup hot water. Add peppercorns, bay leaves and 1 1/2 cups of very cold ice. (Note: Brine should be cold before inserting pork chops.)â€¨
2. Place pork chops in a large nonreactive container or extra-large resealable plastic bag. Cover with brine and allow to brine at least 1 1/2 hours but no longer than 3 hours.
â€¨3. In a small bowl, combine garlic, lemon zest and juice, pepper, rosemary and olive oil. Mash together with the back of a spoon.â€¨
4. Preheat gas or charcoal grill to high heat.â€¨
5. Remove chops from brine. Pat dry with paper towels. Spread paste on both side of chops. Grill 2-3 minutes per side to sear. Reduce heat or move to a cooler section of the grill and continue grilling 8-10 minutes per side.
â€¨ 6. Remove from grill and tent with foil. Allow to rest 5 minutes before serving.