Nothing like fall to provide inspiration in the kitchen. I love drinking apple cider in the fall, especially when you get it directly from the orchard. That cider isn't only good for drinking but it can be used to enhance the flavor of food. When I first read through the The Niman Ranch Cookbook, the best source on meat out there, I found a recipe for Apple Cider Glazed Pork Chops. I did the recipe once directly from the book, but since it was a library find and I didn't copy the recipe down, I have since came up with my own version of this recipe.
Gotta Brine the Pork
The recipe started with a brine (water, brown sugar, kosher salt) like every good pork recipe should. I find that if you grill pork without brining it first, it usually ends up being too dry, unless you can cook it perfectly. The brine gives you some room for error in cooking. Not to mention a good deal of added flavor. After 1 hour soak, the chops are grilled to perfection. Then you add a glaze that is simple to make. It has 4 ingredients - apple cider, apple cider vinegar, salt, and some freshly ground black pepper.
- 4 bone-in pork chops
- 3 cups apple cider
- 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- kosher salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- In a saucepan, combine water, salt, and brown sugar. Bring just to a boil.
- Add the whole peppercorns and mustard seeds.
- Then add about 1 lb of ice and stir. The temperature should come down to fridge temperature around 40 degrees.
- Place the pork chops in a gallon sized plastic zip top bag. Pour in the brine. Seal the bag taking out as much air as you can and place it in the fridge for 1 hour, no more than 2 hours.
- Remove the pork from the brine. Pat dry.
- To make the glaze, bring the apple cider to a boil over high heat. I like to do this in a frying pan as you can more surface area for faster evaporation.
- Cook until it is the consistency of a glaze that will stick to the pork. Lower the heat a bit when it starts to thicken up and make sure to stir constantly in the last couple minutes. It's easy to burn it. Set the glaze aside.
- Heat up your grill pan or outdoor grill. Grill the pork for about 3 to 4 minutes per side. The pork should come off easily when each side is done cooking.
- Brush on the glaze and serve immediately. Leftovers the next day are still tasty.