Brined Pork Chops with Grilled Stone Fruit
Pork chops are a great cut for grilling, but because they are so lean, they can turn out dry. Brining them overnight adds lots of flavor and ensures moist, tender results. Here we use a Philips Smoke-Less Infrared Grill so you can prepare the dish easily indoors, but you can also cook the chops and stone fruit on a gas or charcoal grill outdoors.
For the brine:
- 1/4 cup (2 fl. oz./60 ml) cider vinegar
- 1/4 cup (2 oz./60 g) firmly packed brown sugar
- 1 tsp. dried thyme
- 1 tsp. juniper berries (optional)
- 1/8 tsp. red pepper flakes
- 2 Tbs. kosher salt
- 1 Tbs. freshly ground black pepper
- 6 bone-in pork chops, each at least 1 inch (2.5 cm) thick
- 6 ripe but slightly firm peaches, nectarines or plums, halved and pitted
- Canola oil for brushing
To make the brine, in a large bowl, combine 6 cups (48 fl. oz./1.5 l) water, the vinegar, brown sugar, thyme, juniper berries, red pepper flakes, salt and black pepper and stir until the sugar and salt dissolve.
Place the pork chops in a large sealable plastic bag and pour in the brine. Seal the bag and brine the pork chops overnight in the refrigerator.
About 30 minutes before you plan to begin grilling, remove the chops from the refrigerator and remove them from the brine. Discard the brine, rinse the chops briefly in cold water and pat dry with paper towels.
Preheat a Phillips Smoke-Less Grill fitted with the barbecue grid.
Place the pork chops on the grill and cook, turning once, until an instant-read thermometer inserted horizontally into the center of a chop, away from the bone, registers 145°F (63°C), about 7 to 9 minutes per side.
Transfer the chops to a platter and let rest for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, brush both sides of the fruit halves with oil and grill over, turning once, until nicely grill-marked, about 2 minutes per side.
Serve the pork chops immediately with the grilled fruit alongside. Serves 6.
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Grill Master, by Fred Thompson (Weldon Owen, 2011)