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Skillet-Barbecued Pork Chops are perfect for fall days.
AP photo by Larry Crowe
Skillet-Barbecued Pork Chops are perfect for fall days.

Not ready for the competitive barbecue circuit? Judge this recipe yourself

The Associated Press

Not ready for the competitive barbecue circuit? Here is an easy recipe that will win you blue ribbons right at home. And it’s perfect for fall days after the grill has been put away.

Skillet-Barbecued Pork Chops

The test chefs at Cook’s Illustrated magazine prefer natural over enhanced pork (which has been injected with a salt solution to increase moisture and flavor). Either can be used in this recipe, but if using enhanced, skip the brining and add 1/2 teaspoon salt to the spice rub.

Start to finish: 1 hour 20 minutes

Servings: 4

For the pork chops:

1/2 cup table salt

4 bone-in pork rib chops, 3/4 to 1 inch thick (8 to 10 ounces each), trimmed of excess fat

1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon vegetable oil, divided

For the spice rub:

1 tablespoon paprika

1 tablespoon brown sugar

2 teaspoons ground coriander

1 teaspoon cumin

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

For the sauce:

1/2 cup ketchup

3 tablespoons light or mild molasses

2 tablespoons grated onion (using the large holes on the grater)

2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

1 tablespoon cider vinegar

1 tablespoon brown sugar

1 teaspoon liquid smoke

To prepare the pork chops, cut two slits about 2 inches apart through the fat and connective tissue along the side of each chop. This will prevent the pork chops from buckling during cooking and keep them flat in the pan.

In a large bowl, dissolve the salt in 2 quarts of water. Submerge the chops in the brine, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare the spice rub. In a small bowl, combine all ingredients. Measure 2 teaspoons of the rub mixture into a medium bowl and set aside for use in the sauce. Transfer the remaining spice rub to a pie plate or large plate.

To make the sauce, whisk together all ingredients in the bowl with the 2 teaspoons of reserved spice rub. Set aside.

To cook the chops, remove them from the brine and pat dry with paper towels. Coat both sides of chops with the spice rub, pressing gently so the rub adheres. Pat the chops to remove excess rub. Discard excess rub.

Heat 1 tablespoon vegetable oil in a 12-inch heavy-bottomed nonstick skillet over medium heat until just smoking. Arrange the chops in the skillet in a pinwheel or interlocking formation (this helps them all fit).

Cook until charred in spots, 5 to 8 minutes. Flip the chops and continue to cook until the second side is browned and charred and center of the chops register 130 F on instant-read thermometer, about 4 to 8 minutes.

Remove the skillet from the heat and transfer the chops to a clean plate or baking sheet. Lightly brush the top side of each chop with 2 teaspoons of the sauce.

Wipe out the skillet with paper towels and return to medium heat. Add remaining teaspoon of oil and heat until just smoking. Return the chops to the skillet, sauce-side down, and cook without moving until sauce has caramelized and charred in spots, about 1 minute.

While cooking, lightly brush the top side of each chop with 2 teaspoons of sauce. Turn the chops and cook until second side is charred and caramelized and the center of the chops register 140 F on an instant-read thermometer, 1 to 1 1/2 minutes.

Transfer the chops back to the plate or baking sheet, cover loosely with foil, and let rest 5 minutes. The internal temperature should rise to about 145 F.

Meanwhile, add the remaining sauce to the skillet and cook, scraping the bottom, until thickened to a ketchup-like consistency and reduced to 2/3 cup, about 3 minutes.

Brush each chop with 1 tablespoon of the reduced sauce and serve immediately, passing remaining sauce at table.

(Recipe from the October 2007 issue of Cook’s Illustrated magazine)

Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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