Triple Bourbon Pork Chops
I made these double-thick grilled chops recently for a father’s day celebration with my husband and 2 boys. There are a fair number of steps to preparing them, but what a fun labor of love this was…and very worth the effort as they were scrumptuous. I started in the morning by making a Bourbon Brine.
|I served the Bourbon Chops with a light spinach soufle and grilled sweet baby peppers and Vidalia onions.|
You can brine chicken, turkey, pork or just about anything. Brining helps meat retain its juiciness and makes the meat much more tender and succulent. I brine my turkey every year at Thanksgiving. What I think is fun about making brine is once you have the basic proportions of salt to water you can add any seasonings, herbs or veg to flavor your brine. The basic balance is a gallon of water (or mix in other liquid-apple juice, cranberry, wine, etc.) to 1 cup of salt (regular table salt with no Iodine or other additives). If you are using Kosher salt, which is more expensive and not necessary, you will need a little more. My rule of thumb is to brine 1 hour per pound of meat or poultry. I brine a turkey overnight, but pork chops only need a few hours. Here’s the recipe.
1 cup water, brought to boil
3/4 cup salt
1/4 cup maple syrup
4 star anise
2 cinnamon sticks
3 additional qts. water
Bring 1 cup water to boil and add all other ingredients. Stir to dissolve salt. Remove from heat. Cool or chill in the freezer to get it cold faster before moving on. Once chilled, add 3 qts. water. I brined the double thick pork chops in a zip lock bag in the fridge for about 7 hours, which is more than they needed, but does no harm. Brining in a bag works well because you want to make sure every part of the meat is submerged. Double-bag to avoid any seepage or spills. I had about 2 cups left over brine which I froze. (Do not re-use brine once you have brined your meat.) Turn the chops every 1/2 hour or so.
On to the chop preparation…
Rinse chops thoroughly to remove excess salt. Pat dry and let sit in the fridge for an hour to completely appreciate all the goodies from the brine. These chops have had a lot of Bourbon!
Remove from fridge and let come to room temperature for about an hour before grilling. I grilled over a very hot hardwood fire reduced to a good bed of coals. While the chops are coming to room temp, make your bourbon glaze.
3 Tbsp. Olive Oil
2 Tbsp. Butter
3/4 cup Bourbon
2 Tbsp. Maple syrup
Heat Olive Oil and butter in a saucepan until bubbly. Very carefully add Bourbon. Give the pan a gentle shake to flame up. Gentle is the key here. You do not want to spill the liquid onto your (in my case) gas stove. Let the flame burn off for 30 seconds or so and then very gently blow on the flame to put out. By flaming you burn off the alcohol so the glaze does not taste like pure bourbon.
|This makes me feel very cheffy!|
Once the fire is out, reduce heat and add 2 Tbsp. maple syrup. Cook very slowly to reduce by about 1/2 or until you get desired thickness for glazing the chops as they are grilling. Let cool completely on the counter at room temp.
Next, make the Bourbon mushroom cream sauce.
1 Tbsp. Olive Oil
2 Tbsp. Butter
4 white button mushrooms, sliced
4 babyPortabella mushrooms, sliced (–Or any mushrooms you like to make about 1/2 cup sliced.)
3/4 cup Bourbon
For the Roux:
1 Tbsp. Butter
1 Tbsp. flour
1 Tbsp. Bourbon
1 cup light cream
Heat butter, add flour, cook until you have a nice thick paste. Add Bourbon and about 1/4 cup of the cream. Keep stirring so consistency is smooth and creamy. Keep adding cream a little at a time until thoroughly blended.
Saute mushrooms in Olive Oil and Butter over medium high heat for about 5 minutes until mushrooms start to sweat. Add Bourbon very carefully as it will flame up again. As with the glaze let it flame for under a minute and then blow out the flame. Reduce heat to low. Continue sauting over low heat for about 5 minutes.
Next, add the roux to the sauting mushrooms and stir gently. Keep stirring over low heat until you get the desired thickness for a creamy sauce. If it gets too thick add a little more cream (or Bourbon!). Remove from heat. Re-heat when ready to serve.
I had the butcher at my local grocery store cut these pork chops to almost 2″ thickness. Chops do not take long to cook and can over-cook easily which is why the brining helps to keep them moist. Start with a clean grill. Spray your grill (whether charcoal, wood, or gas) with PAM. Brush the chops, both sides with the glaze. I grilled these chops about 2 minutes then turned clockwise to get the cross-hatch grill marks and grilled another 2 minutes. Glaze again. Turn the chops over and repeat for a total of 8 minutes grilling time. Glaze again generously. Turn your heat as low as you can and cover the grill and let set another 5 minutes. This gives the chops a very lovely smokey flavor and finishes the cooking. Take them off the grill and let them rest for 10 minutes while you get the rest of the meal together. The chive blossom is optional. My grill just happens to be next to my herb garden and the chives were in bloom and looked pretty. I also added the blossom to the plate when serving because no matter what you do to a cream sauce, it does not always look very pretty, but this sure was a Bourbonliscious treat!
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