When’s the last time you grilled boneless pork chops and someone at the table said, “These are too juicy?” Never? I’m not surprised. Placing boneless pork chops on the grill is often a recipe for a tough, flavorless dinner.
I stopped cooking pork chops on the grill a long time ago because they always turned out dry and unappetizing. When I saw a recipe from Chef Dennis on his More Than A Mount Full blog for Grilled Maple-Brined Pork Chops, I thought I’d give it a shot. I’ve been meaning to try brining meat, and I hoped it would take care of the problem of the chops getting dried out.
I was pleased to discover that these pork chops were moist and flavorful coming off the grill. In fact, my 9-year-old really did make the comment, “These are too juicy.” The rest of us disagreed with him. They were perfectly juicy and very flavorful. Considering that the 9-year-old gobbled up his pork chop and asked his older brother if he was going to finish his, I don’t think the juiciness ended up being too big of a problem for him.
When you brine meat, you place it in a solution of water and salt. Chef Dennis says, “anything else you add in is mostly for flavor and color.” He went for the classic maple/pork pairing for these Grilled Maple-Brined Pork Chops.
- 6 cups water
- 1/2 cup cider vinegar
- 1 cup maple syrup
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup Dijon mustard
- 12 cloves of garlic, crushed
- 1/2 cup kosher salt or coarse sea xalt
- 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 2 sprigs of fresh rosemary (or herbs of your choice) – I used fresh sage out of my garden
- 6-8 boneless pork chops
- Add all ingredients except the pork chops to a large pot, combine well, and bring to a boil. Remove from heat, allow to come to room temperature, and then refrigerate for one hour.
- Add the chops to the brine and refrigerate for 7 to 8 hours (no more than 12). Turn the chops halfway through the brining process.
- Remove the chops and pat them dry.
- Coat lightly with olive oil and a liberal amount of black pepper.
- Place chops on the hottest part of the grill and sear on each side for 2 minutes. Then move the chops to the medium-hot area of the grill, cover, and cook until they are done (145° for a pinker, moister chops; 160° for a more well-done chop).
- Serve immediately.
- I used four organic pork chops that were three to four ounces each, so I halved the ingredients for the brine. It was plenty.
- I started to brine the pork chops on Friday for dinner that night, but it turned out we weren’t going to be home for dinner. Chef Dennis suggested I pull the chops out of the brine after 8 hours (it was more like 10 hours when I pulled them out). I did, and I grilled them the next night. I’m sure that some quality was lost because I did this, so it will be interesting to see if they are even better next time I grill them directly from the brine.
Chef Dennis has 35 years of food experience, and he blogs about his recipes and his experiences cooking real food and teaching cooking at an all-girls school. This is the first time I’ve tried one of his recipes, but I’ve got several others marked as must-try recipes including his vegetarian lasagna and his crab cakes. I encourage you to spend some time looking around on his blog and follow More Than a Mount Full on Facebook so you never miss one of his recipes.