We celebrated Nick’s birthday a few weeks ago. For his birthday dinner, he requested pork chops.
Now, I can take or leave pork chops. They have never been a big favorite of mine, but my family loves them. And even though I have some great recipes for grilled pork chops, I decided to try a new recipe from my 2011 Cooks Illustrated Summer Grilling magazine.
Wow! I may have changed my mind about pork chops! This is definitely a keeper!!!
Grill-Smoked Pork Chops
1/2 cup Ketchup
1/4 cup light or mild Molasses
2 Tbs. grated Onion
2 Tbs. Worcestershire Sauce
2 Tbs. Dijon Mustard
2 Tbs. Cider Vinegar
1 Tbs. Brown Sugar
Disposable 13 x 9-inch aluminum cake pan
2 cups Wood Chips, soaked in water for 30 minutes
4 Bone-in rib Loin Pork Chops (12 oz. each), 1 1/2 inches thick ** See Note
4 tsp. Kosher Salk
2 tsp. Ground Black Pepper
Vegetable Oil for cooking grate
1. Place soaked wood chips in shallow disposable aluminum cake pan/pie plate and place on primary burner, repositioning grate(s). Turn all burners to high, close lid and heat the grill until hot and chips are smoking (about 15 minutes).
2. Make the sauce by combining all sauce ingredients in a small saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until sauce thickens and is reduced to about 1 cup (5-7 minutes). Transfer 1/2 cup sauce to small bowl (for serving) and set aside.
3. Pat chops dry with paper towels. Using a sharp knife, cut 2 slits about 1 inch apart through the outer layer of fat and connective tissue to prevent buckling. Sprinkle entire surface of each chop with 1 teaspoon of kosher salt (or 1/2 teaspoon of table salt) and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Place chops side by side, facing the same direction, on cutting board (with the curbed rib bone facing down). Pass 2 skewers through the loin muscle of each chop, close to the bone, about 1 inch from each end (see Step 2, illustration below). Once chops have been threaded onto skewers, pull apart to create 1-inch space between each.
4. Scrape grill grate clean. Lightly dip wad of paper towels in vegetable oil. Holding wad with tongs, wipe cooking grate. Place skewered chops bone side down, in center of grill on cooking grate over the aluminum pan (see illustration 3 above). Cover grill and cook until thermometer inserted into center of pork chop (but away from bone) registers 120 degrees (28 – 32 minutes).
5. Remove skewers from chops. Tip chops onto flat side and brush surface with 1 tablespoon of sauce (illustration 4). Transfer chops, sauce side down to hotter parts of grill (2 on each side) and cook, uncovered until browned (2 – 4 minutes). Brush top of each chop with 1 tablespoons of sauce. Flip and continue to cook on second side until browned and thermometer reads 140 to 145 degrees (about 2 – 4 minutes longer).
6. Remove chops from the grill and allow to rest, tented with foil for about 5 minutes. Serve with reserved sauce.
Buy chops of the same thickness so they will cook uniformly. Natural pork is preferred. If you buy enhanced pork (with injection of water, salt and sodium phosphate solution), don’t sprinkle chops with salt in step 3.