Peggy Lampman's Saturday dinnerFeed: Brined, Grilled Pork Chops
Peggy Lampman | Contributor
Like Aunt Suela, one of my finest honed talents is my hog-calling ability. I expect it must run in the family. There are a couple of farms outside of town where I go, from time to time, to practice this natural gift. These skills use to garner great admiration and respect from my children when they were small. Today, as young adults, they are appalled when I spot a hog farm and pull of the road to practice my art. Sadly, a once admired skill has turned into yet another one of mom's strange eccentricities.
I'm sure Aunt Suela never heard the word "organic" in her life. But, indeed, her farm was organic and sustainable. Luckily for us, Arbor Farms stocks organic pork from Black Oak Farm in Fenton, Mich. Arbor Farm's Robert Cantelon tells me: "Chuck raises about 400 hogs on his certified organic farm, and we have the hogs processed for us into *Michigan Organic* pork chops, bacon, sausage and bratwurst. Chuck occasionally sells at the farmer's market, but we are the exclusive retailer. He's one of only three organic hog farms in Michigan/Indiana/Ohio area."
Yield: 2 thick juicy chops
Brine Time: 3 hours
Time: 35 minutes
Cost: apx. $11.50 (varies depending on price of pork chop)
1/4 cup kosher salt
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon black peppercorns, crushed with the broad side of a chef knife
2 small bay leaves
2 bone-in pork chops, at least 1-inch thick
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
1/2 tablespoon freshly lemon juice
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary, plus extra sprigs for garnish
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.)
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.
3. In a small bowl, combine garlic, lemon zest and juice, pepper, rosemary and olive oil. Mash together with the back of a spoon.
4. Preheat gas or charcoal grill to high heat.
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.
6. Remove from grill and tent with foil. Allow to rest 5 minutes before serving.