Help me improve my pork chops
I'm still a gas-grilling neophyte, slowly expanding my repetoire beyond hamburgers and hot dogs and asparagus with olive, salt and pepper. 4th of July I tried pork chops for the first time, using this recipe from the June 2009 Food & Wine magazine:
I followed the recipe and the grilling instructions exactly, and the pork was good but not great. It was moist, which I understand is no small accomplishment with today's nearly fat-free pig parts, but it lacked much . . . oomph. Next time, should I brine it longer? Use a different spice rub? Marinate instead of brining?
P.S. I also tried this asparus recipe which sounded a little odd (mayonnaise on the grill, huh?) but turned out to be delicious:
You could try spicing up the brine(garlic? thyme? fennel?) or skipping the brining altogether and simply doing a different rub. Sometimes I do a rub or a paste with some olive oil, which seems to add flavor quite well.
In some areas (I have access to an old fashioned butcher shop so it's easy to find here) you can purchase pieces of pork fat, unsmoked bacon, pork rind, etc. and render the fat from it to help incorporate more of the flavorful fat proteins to the chops, either by rubbing it on the chops as they cook, laying it on top of the chops as the cook, or rendering the fat and using it as part of a rub.
However, if it's smoked pork chops you're working with, smoked bacon etc. will work just fine too.
When I marinate pork chops, I use one of the hand-held mechanical tenderizers that pierces the meat all over. It makes a big difference in the flavor penetrating inside the chop.
We often like to use more of an Idian spiced rub on pork chops to be grilled - can be served alone or with a chutney of whatever sort you like. We use a recipe & technique from Cooks Illustrated; I can look it up fo ryou if you want but don't have it handy at the moment.
Next time buy the most marbled, thickest, bone-in rib chops that you can find. I find these to have the most flavor with the meat nearest the bone coming out both amazingly moist and flavorful. You can brine chops for longer than one hour; I have brined them overnight and they were fine. Adding seasoning beyond the essential salt or salt/sugar to the brine layers flavors in the chops. This can be as simple as adding fresh or dried herbs to mustards to soy/teriyaki/worcestershire/steak sauces to pickle juice to garlic and ginger to your favorite salad dressing. You can marinate after you brine but don't skip the brining step.
When you are done with these pick up the bone and gnaw the rest of the meat from the bone and you will see what I am talking about. And if you really want some "oomph" try using a Jamaican jerk paste before grilling. Make it fresh yourself and I guarantee that you will notice the flavor.