Grilled pork chops. I bet you are thinking, “What’s the big deal?”. Well, I’ll tell you. I’ve been making pork chops for years but have never been able to get them to come out tender and juicy on the grill. Always dried out. This week I learned what chefs do. Ready for this? They brine them. Yup, that’s right. They soak them in water with salt and sugar so they retain their moisture when you cook them on the grill. The result is a smoky pork chop that is tender and delicious! One of those “aha” moments for me and just another tip from culinary school that I am passing on to you. Maybe you knew already. Did you? If so, why didn’t you tell me?
On a more personal note, tomorrow is my son, Jake’s, 9th birthday. If you’ve read my story, you know Jake was born very early at 29 1/2 weeks and super small at 1 1/2 pounds and 12 inches. He is our miracle and an overachiever from the beginning as he overcame the many obstacles life tossed his way as one of the smallest babies in NYU Hospital’s NICU at the time. Back then, it was hard to imagine experiencing the simple pleasures of watching him grow. Last night was his first concert at school. As he walked in with the other 3rd graders, my heart swelled and I was filled with so much emotion. I am grateful every second of every day for my little miracle and am so proud of him. Happy Birthday cutie!
In case you were wondering why Jake was born so premature, it seems it may have been related to my undiagnosed celiac disease. He was not properly nourished in-utero (IUGR) and they were worried I would miscarry if they didn’t deliver him. I searched for years to figure out why, knowing that there had to be a medical reason. When I was diagnosed with celiac in October 2011, I found there was definitely a link. You can read more about that here on the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness’s website.
- 4 Center Cut Pork Chops
- 4 Bell Peppers, tops cut off and quartered
- 4 C Water
- ½ cup kosher salt
- 2 tsp sugar
- MARINADE FOR PORK:
- ¼ C dry rub or seasoning of choice (I used Jake's Pork Rub)
- ½ C Canola Oil
- 1 Tbl chopped cilantro
- MARINADE FOR PEPPERS
- Any vinaigrette you choose (I use Newman's Light Balsamic a lot but this time I made my own as follows:)
- 3 Tbl champagne vinegar (you can sub in red wine or balsamic)
- 1 tsp dijon mustard
- ½ C olive oil
- salt and pepper to taste
- Mix the water, salt and sugar together in a 9X13 baking pan or large plastic bag and place the pork chops in the brine. Refrigerate for 30 minutes to 1 hour.
- Prepare the marinade by mixing all of the ingredients together. Drain the brine out of the pan and rub the marinade all over both sides of the pork. Refrigerate for another 30 minutes.
- Heat your grill pan over med-high heat until very hot.
- Use your favorite vinaigrette to marinate the peppers or prepare the marinade by whisking the vinegar and mustard together and slowly streaming in the olive oil until fully incorporated. Add salt and pepper to taste and toss the peppers in to make sure they are coated on all sides.
- Remove the pork from the refrigerator and rub off the marinade with a paper towel so it doesn't burn on the grill pan. Allow it to sit out while you grill the peppers.
- Grill the peppers. To create the pretty cross-hatch marks, just keep them in one place until grill marks appear, turn 90 degrees and repeat on the other side.
- Grill the pork the same way until it reaches an internal temperature of 145 degrees. Remove and allow to rest for a few minutes before serving with the grilled peppers. Enjoy!