Tag Archives: Worcestershire sauce

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
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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.

Confirmed: I Don’t Like Beer Cheese

So, I pronounced that we can’t have burgers on the grill every day this summer, then made a (Beer) Cheeseburger Casserole instead. Go figure. I even fired up the grill for cooking the peppers and onions, because I’ve become a little addicted to that grilled flavor they get, in addition to the ease of peeling the charred pepper skins off. I guess I might as well have cooked the hamburger there, too, but that’s water under the bridge. To make it more than a crumbled burger, I made some home fries to mix with the other ingredients, and then decided it might be a good time to try some beer cheese. No, I am not a beer drinker, but I’ve had good luck using it in other recipes, so I thought this would make the casserole special. Unfortunately, I found the combination of beer and cheese to be odd, a little sour, a little bitter in a bad way, while my husband (the beer drinker) said it was good.

Oh, well. You can make some sort of casserole or dip or sauce for your fries with this simple recipe:

Beer Cheese Sauce

  • Servings: about 2 cups
  • Difficulty: easy
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I was trying to use up some heavy cream and half and half, but you could substitute other combinations of milk products in the sauce.

2 tablespoons butter

1/2-1 clove minced garlic

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

1/4 cup heavy cream

1/4 cup half and half

1/2 cup beer

Optional: 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

12 oz shredded cheddar cheese (I used Kerrygold™ Dubliner cheese instead of a traditional cheddar)

  1. Make the roux for the sauce by melting the butter over medium-low heat, then stirring in the garlic, and cooking for 1 minute. Stir in the flour, slat, and pepper until all is combined and smooth.
  2. Pour in the liquids and stir until smooth and thickened.
  3. Stir in shredded cheese until melted.

I poured this sauce over my casserole ingredients and baked it for about 20 minutes, but it could be the sauce for any number of uses.

Next time, burgers. On the grill.

Meatloaf

I had some leftover hot dog buns and and one nice sandwich roll, so I pulsed them in the food processor to put in the freezer, but took two cups out first for meatloaf. I find fresh bread crumbs to have a much nicer effect than dried crumbs in meatloaf. They’re moister and softer and carry those characteristics into the finished loaf.

I’m kind of surprised, though, that there are so many recipes for meatloaf on the web, because it’s such a simple, basic concept that you personalize with practically no bad results. Ground meat, bread crumbs, eggs, milk, seasonings. You can do that in your head and figure out your own proportions, even though I’ll give you mine below. I don’t think my meatloaf is exactly the same each time, but I get no complaints.

Meatloaf

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Difficulty: easy
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Preheat oven to 350°

Ingredients

  • 1.5 lb ground beef (I used 80% lean, which releases a lot of fat, but makes a moister loaf)
  • 1 lb ground turkey (not ground turkey breast)
  • 1 carrot, 1 celery rib, and 1 onion minced in a food processor
  • 2 cups fresh bread crumbs
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/3 cup ketchup
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4-1/2 cup milk

About the ingredients:

  • So, this is a 2.5 lb loaf that will give us at least two meals, but you can vary the amounts and types of meat used. Typically recipes call for a combination of beef, veal, and pork, sometimes in thirds, sometimes with more beef. You usually don’t know the proportions in a meatloaf mix in the grocery store, but it’s nice to have it done for you and may be cheaper than buying the meats separately. Today, I used ground turkey, because I thought it would be a nice flavor addition, and I already had plenty of fat from the 80% lean beef. It was good.
  • Seasoned, dried bread crumbs work well, also, but when I use dried bread crumbs, I usually use evaporated milk for the liquid.
  • The ketchup and Worcestershire sauce is a nice combination of flavorings, a little sharp and tangy. I don’t put ketchup on top of the loaf, but you could. Other than salt and pepper, I didn’t add any herbs today, but sometimes I use thyme or oregano.
  • I think my mother only used onion to season hers, but I do like adding more minced vegetables, again for moisture, as well as flavor.

Steps:

  1. Mix everything in a large bowl so all the ingredients are well distributed, without overworking the mixture—you’re not making bread. I use a large meat fork to stir at first because the two tines cut through it all without over-mixing. Then I get in there with my hands kind of folding it over until I’m sure there isn’t some ingredient left in the bottom of the bowl.
  2. Bring it together and roll it all into your baking dish. I like a free-formed loaf in a large stoneware dish instead of in a loaf pan, but if you like softer, unbrowned sides, use the loaf pans.
  3. Bake at 350° for 1-1.5 hours. I did the full 1.5 hours to get it to an internal temperature of about 160° – 170° and let the dish rest on the stove, where it continues to cook a little more. I took it out before it reached 170° because nothing is worse than overcooked, dry meatloaf.

See the carrots?
See the carrots?