Yummy Fixins — Perfect pork chops
Pork is one of my most favorite meats to eat. It has so much flavor and can be quite juicy if cooked right. Many people are afraid of eating pink pork, so they overcook it, making the meat chewy. For years we were told pork had to be cooked to 160 degrees, but in 2011 the USDA lowered the recommended temperature to 145 degrees. Using a meat thermometer will help you monitor the meat so you don’t overcook it. The meat will keep cooking once removed from the oven so make sure to remove at a lower temperature as instructed below so you don’t overcook it. Planning ahead and letting the pork sit in a brine will also help keep the pork juicy and tender through the cooking process.
Thick-Cut Brined Pork Chops with Balsamic-Maple Glaze
Makes two servings
1/2 cup salt
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp peppercorns
1 sp juniper berries (optional)
1 garlic clove
1 stem of thyme
3 sage leaves
2 thick-cut, bone-in pork chops
2 tbs butter
1/4 cup maple syrup
2 tbs cup balsamic vinegar
Pour three cups of water into a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Add salt and sugar; stir until dissolved. Remove from heat and set aside to cool. Place pork chops, juniper berries, peppercorns, thyme, sage and garlic in a heavy-duty Ziploc bag. Once the brine is cooled, pour into the bag with the pork and place in the refrigerator for at least 6, and up to 12, hours.
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Remove pork chops from Ziploc bag and pat dry. Heat butter over medium heat in a skillet. Cook pork chop for 4 minutes, until beginning to brown. Turn and cook the second side about 2 minutes. Keep turning the pork chop every few minutes until each side is equally caramelized. This should take a total of 10 minutes.
Carefully place pork chops on a baking sheet and roast for about 14 minutes, flipping frequently. Insert a meat thermometer into the center of the chop to check the temperature after 12 minutes. Remove from the oven when the temperature reaches 135 degrees. Transfer pork chop to a plate to rest for 15 minutes.
While the pork chops are resting, make the glaze. Combine syrup and vinegar in a small saucepan; bring to a boil. Cook for about 3 minutes or until thickened, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat. Spread the glaze on the pork chops before serving. Sliced the meat, plate and enjoy.
Chef Arica Davis – Yummy Fixins, Personal Chef Services and Pasta Parties. Visit http://www.yummyfixins.com or call 530-539-4504 to book your next dinner party. Let me do the cooking for you!
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