Coffee-brined Grilled Pork Chops

Our weather this spring has been amazing and this Sunday is no different. One of my favorite things to do on a day like today is to grill thick, juicy pork chops. I find that brining pork chops help to keep them very juicy and flavorful even when seared on a very hot grill.

One of my favorite brines uses black coffee instead of simply using water. We usually have a little left over after breakfast. If that is not enough, I’ll brew just a little more. If I plan far enough ahead, like I did this week, I’ll save a couple days worth of leftover coffee for my brine. The recipe for my brine and grilling instructions for the chops follows.

Coffee-brined Grilled Pork Chops

Serves 4

4 1 to 1 ½” thick center cut bone-in pork chops
4 cups black coffee, cooled to room temperature
4 Tbsp Kosher salt
2 Tbsp honey
2 Tbsp maple syrup
1 Tbsp dried sage leaves
1 Tbsp dried thyme leaves
EVOO
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Dissolve the kosher salt into black coffee in a large non-reactive bowl. Add honey, syrup, sage and thyme, mixing thoroughly. Pat pork chops dry and immerse into the coffee – spice brine. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours. Remove pork chops from the brine, rinse under cold water and pat dry. Allow the pork chops to elevate to room temperature before grilling.

Brush the pork chops with good olive oil and season on both sides with salt and pepper.

Preheat gas grill to high (500F+) for at least ten minutes. Sear one side of the pork chops over high heat for 3 – 4 minutes, rotating the chop 90 degrees halfway through. Reduce the heat to high indirect with burner directly below the pork chops turned off. Flip the chops to the other side and cook for another 3 – 4 minutes, again rotating 90 degrees halfway through.

Remove the pork chops from the grill, cover and let stand for 5 minutes before serving to allow the juices to redistribute within the meat. Before serving drizzle with chops with a small amount of a very good olive oil.

Today, I am combining the pork chops with Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Red Onions, see my earlier post for the recipe for this dish, and baked acorn squash. The squash recipe can be found below. For a starch with this meal, I like to use a rice or mashed potato to soak up all of the pork chop juices and the buttery goodness from the squash.

Baked Acorn Squash with Sage and Asiago

Serves 4

2 Acorn squash, halved with seeds removed
8 Tbsp unsalted butter, cut into eight pats
1 Tbsp maple syrup
1 Tbsp honey
2 Tbsp dried sage leaves
8 oz Asiago cheese, grated to a medium texture
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

On a baking sheet lined with foil, place two pats of butter in each half of squash, season with salt and pepper, drizzle with each with roughly ¼ of the syrup and the honey, and sprinkle with the dried sage.

Bake for 40 minutes. Check the doneness of the squash with a metal skewer. If the skewer pulls out easily after insertion, the squash is ready. If not, cook for an additional 5 minutes at a time, checking doneness each time until done.

When the squash is cooked, sprinkle the grated Asiago over the squash and bake until the cheese is melted, then serve immediately.

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