Posts Tagged ‘chops’

I’ve got two methods for cooking pork chops, each depending on the thickness of the chop. If the pork chop is thin, I got for high heat over hardwood charcoal, flipping the meat often so that it cooks all the way through without burning. The famous Cope Chops are perfect for this method. (https://wp.me/p1c1Nl-1xU)

Cope chops.

 

 

But if I’ve got a thicker chop, I like to brine it first, so that it retains its moisture during a longer cooking process. I brine the chops for a couple of hours, then light a fire using charcoal briquets, which will give me a steadier, longer-lasting flame.

Nice, thick chops!

 

Making a brine is easy, and it adds wonderful flavor to the chop. I use a smaller batch of the brine I use on my Thanksgiving turkey.

2 quarts water
1 onion
1 carrot
1 stalk celery
1/2 cup Kosher salt (I use Diamond Crystal)
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons black peppercorns
1 teaspoon whole allspice
2 bay leaves
2 quarts ice water
2 to 4 thick-cut pork chops

 

Pour the first 2 quarts of water into a large pot. Quarter the onions, carrots, and celery (not need to peel them) and add them to the water. Add the Kosher salt, brown sugar, peppercorns, allspice, and bay leaves. (A note on the Kosher salt: different brands have different weights. For example, Morton Kosher Salt is heavier than Diamond Crystal, so you’ll be adding more salt with the same 1/2 cup measurement.)

Boil for a few minutes, then remove from heat to cool.

 

Let the pot come to a boil for a few minutes. Remove it from the heat and let the brine cool down to room temperature.

Once the brine is at room temp, add the 2 quarts of ice water, and drop in the pork chops. Make sure they stay covered with the brine. Let the chops brine for about 2 hours.

The chops are in there!

 

After 2 hours of brining, rinse the chops under cold water, and pat them dry with paper towels. Discard the brine.

Light a fire using charcoal briquets. While the fire is heating up, make the rub for the pork chops.

 

1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon granulated garlic
1 tablespoon granulated onion
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground black pepper

 

Combine the salt, garlic, onion, brown sugar and pepper in a bowl, and then season the chops liberally on all sides with the mixture.

Pork chops with the rub. I love grilling some Vidalia onions, too.

 

Let the chops rest at room temperature while you’re waiting for the grill.

Once the coals are ready, I establish a hot side and a cool side on the grill. I sear the chops on the hot side of the grill, being careful not to burn them. (The sugar in the rub may char a bit, but that’s OK.)

 

Once you’ve got a nice sear on all the chops, move them to the cooler side of the grill, and close the lid, making sure there’s air circulating so you don’t smother the fire.

Having a meat thermometer is handy, because although you want pork to be cooked thoroughly, you don’t want to overcook it. You’re looking for a temperature of 160 degrees for pork. Once you’ve reached that, you remove the chops from the grill, put them on a plate, and cover them with foil to rest for about 15 minutes. During that time, the interior temperature of the chops will rise to about 170, before slowly cooling down.

Removing the chops and letting them rest gives you enough time to throw some tasty veggies on the grill. I like to simply rub them with olive oil, and any of the pork rub that may be left over, tossing them over the hot part of the coals until just cooked.

 

 

By the way, when using a meat thermometer, be careful you don’t do something dumb, like I did. I didn’t notice that I had it on a Celsius setting, instead of Fahrenheit. So I couldn’t understand why my chops were “only” at 60 degrees after a long time of cooking! (That’s 140 Fahrenheit!) I caught my mistake in time, fortunately not cooking the crap out of my chops!!

 

 

 

“Cope” chops are the creation of my long-time radio buddy, Marc Coppola, who can be heard from Cape Cod to California. Cope and I started in radio at WBAB on Long Island back in the early 80’s. He had the afternoon drive shift, and I was on after him from 7 to midnight. After his show, Cope would remove a hibachi grill out of the trunk of his car, light some charcoal in the radio station parking lot, and he’d grill up the most amazing pork chops I’ve ever had. They were thin, but juicy and beautifully charred, with a wonderful saltiness. He called ’em “Cope chops,” and we’d eat them by the stack, wrapping the hot bone of the chop with a paper towel, and then just chowing down. It was a great memory, and one that I regularly re-live by grilling Cope chops at home even today.

After three decades, I’m not sure if my Cope chop recipe is the same as the original, but they are damn good and incredibly easy to make.

Ironically, for this recipe, I don’t go all out and spend big money on thick, expensive pork chops. I want them thin, fatty and with the bone in. This is not a low-and-slow process: the secret to the success of these chops is to cook them hot and fast, sealing in the juices.

 

Thin-cut pork chops
Dry white wine (I use an unoaked inexpensive chardonnay; many Australian brands to choose from)
Lawry’s seasoned salt

Place the pork chops in a flat bowl, and pour the wine over the top, making sure you cover the chops. Let them marinate for at least an hour at room temperature, flipping them over halfway through so that all sides get covered by the wine.

Light a hot hardwood charcoal fire.

Pour off the wine from the chops and discard. Place the chops on the hot grill and season the top with the Lawry’s seasoned salt. Once they’ve charred nicely, flip the chops over and season the other side. Grill until the chops are cooked all the way through, but not dry. Serve immediately.

The proper way to eat a Cope chop: wrap the bone in a paper towel and chow down!

Pork chops were a favorite of mine growing up, but my Mom cooked them only one way: breaded and fried in a pan full of oil. They were good, but they were greasy, and my Mom was not big on seasonings. And she cooked the hell out of it. It was time to improve on the original.

Using the best quality pork I can get, like Berkshire pork, makes a real difference in flavor. It also matters to me that the animals are humanely treated while they’re on the farm. No factory-farmed meats.

chop 1

 

 

2 Berkshire pork chops
1 egg
1/2 cup plain bread crumbs (I use gluten-free)
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried parsley
1/2 teaspoon granulated garlic
1/2 teaspoon granulated onion
olive oil

 

Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees.

Set up 2 bowls. In one, crack and scramble the egg. In the other, combine the bread crumbs, salt, pepper, oregano, parsley, granulated garlic and granulated onion.

Place an oven-proof pan on medium-high heat and add a little olive oil. Once the oil is hot, cover the pork chops in the egg wash and then coat with the bread crumb mixture. Place in the hot pan to brown and sear. Do this with both chops.

After a few minutes, flip the chops over in the pan and place the pan in the oven to finish cooking.

chop 2

Remember, good pork does not need to be cooked to death!

 

 

 

Pork chops were a favorite of mine growing up, but my Mom cooked them only one way: breaded and fried in a pan full of oil. They were good, but they were greasy, and my Mom was not big on seasonings. And she cooked the hell out of it. It was time to improve on the original.

Using the best quality pork I can get, like Berkshire pork, makes a real difference in flavor. It also matters to me that the animals are humanely treated while they’re on the farm. No factory-farmed meats.

chop 1

 

 

2 Berkshire pork chops
1 egg
1/2 cup plain bread crumbs (I use gluten-free)
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried parsley
1/2 teaspoon granulated garlic
1/2 teaspoon granulated onion
olive oil

 

Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees.

Set up 2 bowls. In one, crack and scramble the egg. In the other, combine the bread crumbs, salt, pepper, oregano, parsley, granulated garlic and granulated onion.

Place an oven-proof pan on medium-high heat and add a little olive oil. Once the oil is hot, cover the pork chops in the egg wash and then coat with the bread crumb mixture. Place in the hot pan to brown and sear. Do this with both chops.

After a few minutes, flip the chops over in the pan and place the pan in the oven to finish cooking.

chop 2

Remember, good pork does not need to be cooked until well done!

 

 

 

Pork chops were a favorite of mine growing up, but my Mom cooked them only one way: breaded and fried in a pan full of oil. They were good, but they were greasy, and my Mom was not big on seasonings. It was time to improve on the original.

chop 1

 

Ingredients:

2 Berkshire pork chops

1 egg

1/2 cup plain bread crumbs

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1 teaspoon dried parsley

1/2 teaspoon granulated garlic

1/2 teaspoon onion powder

olive oil

 

Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees.

Set up 2 bowls. In one, crack and scramble the egg. In the other, combine salt, pepper, oregano, parsley, granulated garlic and onion powder.

Place an oven-proof pan on medium-high heat and add a little olive oil. Once the oil is hot, cover the pork chops in the egg wash and then coat with the bread crumb mixture. Place in the hot pan to brown and sear. Do this with both chops.

After a few minutes, flip the chops over in the pan and place the pan in the oven to finish cooking.

chop 2

Remember, good pork does not need to be cooked until well done!

 

 

 

Inspired by a garden full of fennel and my fanatical love for all things pork, this recipe just happened this past fall. I use Berkshire heritage pork when possible, a far tastier and healthier choice over standard pork you find in a supermarket. I get it at: http://www.heritagepork.com.

pork chop fennel

 

Ingredients:

 

4 Berkshire pork chops

4 tablespoons finely chopped fennel bulb

2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh sage

4 teaspoons garlic salt

1 teaspoon ground black pepper

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

extra fennel bulb and fennel fronds

extra olive oil, salt and pepper for sauteing

 

Combine the chopped fennel, sage, garlic salt, black pepper and olive oil in a bowl. Mix well and spread it all over the pork chops. Let them stand for an hour at room temperature.

Light a hot grill. Grill pork chops until done…with quality pork, that does not mean cook it to death!

Chop extra fennel bulb into thin strips about an inch long. Remove fennel fronds from their stems. Saute bulb strips in olive oil, salt and pepper until they are almost crisp. Toss in fennel fronds and cook until fronds and bulb strips are crisp.

Serve pork chops with crispy fennel and fronds on top.

“Cope” chops are the creation of my long-time radio buddy, Marc Coppola, who is heard here in Providence, RI mid-days at our sister station B-101, and on stations throughout the country. Cope and I started in radio at WBAB on Long Island back in the early 80’s. He had the afternoon drive shift, and I was on after him from 7 to midnight. After his show, Cope would remove a hibachi grill out of the trunk of his car, light some charcoal in the radio station parking lot, and he’d grill up the most amazing pork chops I’ve ever had. They were thin, but juicy and beautifully charred, with a wonderful saltiness. He called ’em Cope chops, and we’d eat them by the stack, wrapping the hot bone of the chop with a paper towel, and then just chowing down. It was a great memory, and one that I regularly re-live by grilling Cope chops at home even today.

After three decades, I’m not sure if my Cope chop recipe is the same as the original, but they are damn good and incredibly easy to make.

Ironically, for this recipe, I don’t go all out and spend big money on thick, expensive pork chops. I want them thin, fatty and with the bone in. The secret to the success of these chops is to cook them hot and fast, sealing in the juices.

Cope chops

Ingredients:

Thin-cut pork chops

Dry white wine (I use an unoaked inexpensive chardonnay, like Alice White)

Lawry’s seasoned salt

Place the pork chops in a flat bowl, and pour the chardonnay over the top, making sure you cover the chops with the wine. Let them marinate in the wine for at least an hour, flipping them over halfway through so that all sides get covered by the wine.

Light a hot hardwood charcoal fire.

Pour off the wine from the chops and discard. Place the chops on the hot grill and season the top with the Lawry’s seasoned salt. Once they’ve charred nicely, flip the chops over and season the other side. Grill until the chops are cooked all the way through, but not dry. Serve immediately.

Despite gardening for almost 50 years, I sowed and harvested my first batch of fennel this season. Having received a recent shipment of heritage Berkshire pork chops, I thought it was time to get creative. This is a rustic Italian-style recipe that works great for pork and fennel…

fennelfrond

 

PORK WITH FENNEL AND CAPERS

 

Ingredients:

 

4 Berkshire pork chops, medium thickness

2 fennel bulbs with stems and fronds, finely chopped

2 shallots, finely chopped

1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped

olive oil

salt and pepper

1 28 oz can tomatoes

1 tablespoon capers

Zest of 1 lemon

1/2 cup dry white wine

pork and fennel

 

In a large pan, heat some olive oil. Season the pork chops on both sides with salt and pepper, then brown on both sides in the pan with the olive oil. Remove chops from pan and set aside.

Add a little more olive oil to the pan and add the chopped fennel and shallots, stirring for a few minutes. Add the white wine, and stir well to get the tasty bits of pork from the bottom of the pan. Add half of the parsley. Add the can of tomatoes, squishing the tomatoes between your fingers so that they are broken up when they hit the pan. Stir for a few minutes over medium heat.

Return the pork chops to the pan, nestling the in the sauce. Add the capers, lemon zest and remaining parsley. Stir in a bit, and then let the chops cook for about 10 to 15 minutes..

 

 

This was my most popular blog post of 2012. Thought I’d re-run it here this week…

 

Food magazines and cooking shows are pretty obvious places to be inspired by new recipes from common ingredients. But I’ve found inspiration from some strange places, including old TV sitcoms. I had some nice thick pork chops thawed, and I was trying to think of something new to do with them. The classic “pork chops and applesauce” episode of The Brady Bunch was on TV that afternoon. I looked in the pantry, found a small container of my daughter’s applesauce, and came up with this recipe.

The applesauce and honey creates a tasty crust.

pork chop 2
Ingredients:

2 nice, thick cut pastured pork chops
1 small tub (4oz) unsweetened apple sauce
1 tablespoon fresh sage, finely chopped

A few sprigs of fresh thyme–leaves only–finely chopped

1 teaspoon honey

1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon granulated garlic
1/4 teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper

In a small bowl, combine everything but the pork chops.

Smear this applesauce mix all over the pork chops, place in a non-reactive covered container in the fridge, and let it marinate overnight.

The next day, make sure all the gooey applesauce mix gets re-smeared on the chops. You want it nice and thick on the meat.

On the stove, heat an oven-proof pan. Use a little olive oil. Place the chops in the pan gooey side down, then re-smear with any leftover applesauce on what is now the top side. Let the first side sear to a golden brown before flipping the chops over. Once you’ve flipped the chops, place in a pre-heated 350-degree oven. Cook the pork chops until just pink. (It’s no longer necessary to cook pork to death like our parents used to do.)