Tag Archives: charcoal

Wow! Beer-Maple Brined Pork Chops, Grilled

My posts may have slowed down in the summer, but, don’t worry, we’re still eating every day. I just haven’t been sitting in the house writing about it. Next week, we have company, so I may not be writing then, either, but if I make anything interesting, I’ll get pics to write about it later.

Today, I’m trying some brined center-cut pork chops on the grill. They are not quite as thick as I had hoped for, but neither are they those paper thin chops that are so prevalent. I’m expecting them to cook quickly and to stay juicy because of the brine. It’s a beer brine again, but this time I added some sugar in the form of maple syrup. Brine hint: If you’re looking up brine recipes, run away from any with more than 5 ingredients.

Wow! Beer-Maple Brined Pork Chops, Grilled

  • Servings: 4-5 chops
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

4-5 center cut loin pork chops, at least 1 inch thick

1 bottle beer

3-4 tablespoons maple syrup (the real stuff)

2 tablespoons kosher salt

Optional: 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

  1. Place the chops in a large sealable plastic bag or a shallow dish.
  2. Mix up the brine ingredients until syrup and salt are dissolved and pour over chops.
  3. Seal bag or cover dish and marinate in the refrigerator for 4-6 hours, turning chops as necessary.
  4. Bring chops to room temperature while you set up grill for medium-high heat, direct or indirect.
  5. When the grill is at about 400° open the lid and place the chops over direct heat to sear. You can cook them entirely over direct heat (my preference) with the lid closed for a minute while each side sears, turning once or twice, until the internal temperature reaches about 145° or you can sear them over direct heat, then move to the indirect side and close the lid until they are done. I like to keep my eye on them with the lid open, because I don’t want to miss that moment when they are just done. You’ll have to judge by the thickness of your chops and your willingness to eat them a little pink or not.

My experience:

I had 4 chops, cut with the bone and both the loin and tenderloin sections, neither of which you want to be overcooked. My chops were about 3/4 inch thick, but one—the one hidden on the bottom of the package—was very thin on the loin side, so I watched it very carefully. I would have preferred them all to be a little thicker, but it was the best I could do at the time. That’s why I cooked them over direct heat, only closing the lid for very short periods. I would do the direct/indirect method for thick chops, searing first and moving away from the direct heat until done, but these are not too thick. I turned them only once and tested them with a thermometer inserted in the loin side shortly after the second side had grill marks. I had the charcoal—only 50 briquettes—piled in the center of the kettle, but I didn’t need any indirect areas for these chops. I would say they cooked about 5 minutes per side, including perhaps a total of 2 minutes with the lid closed.

I had to amend the title of this recipe to reflect my husband’s response—Wow! I stopped counting after about 13 wows, but he was right, they were tasty, tender, juicy, maybe the best pork chops we’ve ever had. I’m guessing it was the maple syrup. Luckily, we had scalloped Gruyere potatoes from the night before, so I didn’t have to do any other cooking, and they went very well with the pork.

The Big Backyard Kitchen Gadget

We decided last year that we were done with gas grills and going back to charcoal. We had several small gas grills over the years—in fact, I can’t remember the last time I used charcoal—but I was never impressed with the food grilled over that gas flame. During the last five years when I worked in another city and only came home on weekends, my husband would use it occasionally for himself, but last summer when I moved home for good, it was never even turned on. That’s when we decided to re-acquaint ourselves with charcoal.

It wasn’t too hard to decide to go with a Weber® kettle grill, specifically the Master-Touch® with its Gourmet BBQ System™ that allows you to add components like a wok, griddle, chicken cooker, pizza stone, or sear grate. We’re not starting with those add-ons yet, but it’s nice to have options. I’d like to have the wok. The Master-Touch® model has a lid holder that makes it easy to slide the lid off and on instead of putting it down somewhere, a great feature, and we decided to get the charcoal chimney for starting the charcoal without lighter fluid. No gas, no lighter fluid—I like not having those in the backyard.

We started out with a simple meal of rib eye steaks and veggies (onion, peppers, zucchini, eggplant, and potatoes).

Here’s a quick recipe: Skewer baby red potatoes on a metal skewer with no pre-cooking and the metal helps cook the inside. Done in about 20-30 minutes.

Today, burgers.