Grilled Brined Pork Chops with Caper and Parsley Salsa Verde
Pondering a perfect pork chop.
To brine or not to brine? The answer is simple… yes. The better question is why wouldn’t you brine? And lastly the question that many of you are asking, “Huh? what’s a brine, and why should I use one…and on what?”. In the most basic form a brine is wet marinade used on meat, pork, and poultry. Why would you use one? – Well if you crave- juicy, moist, flavor packed food then an easy brine will be your new best friend. A brine is typically a mix of sugar, salt, water, and herbs or spices. The liquid acts as a tenderizer and begins to break down the cellular structure of meats. The salty /sweet PH balance of the liquid pushes in and out of the meat bringing with it the flavoring of the herbs and spices.
With a brine you can turn ordinary pork on the grill into succulent, finger licking, suck on the bone -chops that will have you asking “where have you been all my life”? – to the brine that is. I brined these chops for about 4 hours, brought them to room temperature drizzled them with olive oil and tossed them on a hot grill. I can’t say they had a distinct flavor of anything different than savory sweet delicious pork but they were just dressed up chops, glamorized and at their absolute best. Bathed in the tangy, fresh salsa verde they were the star of the meal. With each bite I got a little taste of the briny capers and fruity olive oil- AMAZING! I also made fresh vegetable skewers with some boiler potatoes on the grill. They also came to life and joined the party with a light splash of the salsa verde. I know summer is almost over but if you have the chance, brine some pork chops and head for the grill and don’t forget to bring the bowl of salsa verde to the table, you won’t be able to resist slathering it on.
Pork Chop Brine 8 cups water 1/2 cup kosher salt ½ cup packed brown sugar 2 bay leaves 1 teaspoon peppercorns 5 sprigs of thyme 5 sprigs of rosemary In a small sauce pot bring 4 cups of water to a low simmer with remaining ingredients Remove from heat and add in 4 additional cups of cold water- cool Submerge pork chops into brining liquid and cover for 4-6 hours Remove pork chops from brining liquid and pat dry with paper towels Preheat grill Drizzle pork chops with olive oil before grilling *Do not season pork chops with any salt because of the salt in the brining liquid Grill over indirect heat for approximately 6-8 minutes per side Allow to rest 5 minutes Serve Warm with Salsa Verde
Caper and Parsley Salsa Verde ¾ cup fruity extra virgin olive oil ½ teaspoon kosher salt ¼ teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper 1 Tablespoon red wine vinegar 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard ½ cup packed fresh Italian flat leaf parsley- chopped ¼ cup drained capers- chopped 1/8 teaspoon red pepper flake 1 clove of fresh garlic-minced Combine all ingredients- mix well The salsa will taste better and better the longer it sits and the flavors have time to blend