We had a bottle of bourbon in the cupboard, and besides having a glass every now and then, it also invited us to experiment with it. So we went, Pitmaster X style, and marinated some beautiful thick pork chops. We weren’t very nervous about the result. Many preceded us, and the prospects were favourable.
The combination of pork and sweet is well known. Think of spare ribs with a thick layer of barbecue sauce, and you know enough. But with the taste of bourbon, some extra salt and a few hours of smoke, it will be fantastic. The pork chops will marinate overnight in the fridge so they can be grilled tomorrow.
After a night in the marinade, we go one step further. We have made a delicious dry rub that should ensure a delicious crust. This dry rub contains no salt or sugar. We’ve had enough in the marinade already. The salt should have been absorbed far into the pork chop, and the sugar can clearly be felt on the surface of the meat. That is also a great glue to keep this dry rub in place.
Did we mention our pork chops were huge? For these pork chops, you buy a rack of pork and cut them to size yourself. Or you can ask your butcher to do this for you.
With these thick pork chops, we go for a reversed sear. This means that we first warm them up gently to a core temperature of 55°C (131F) and then grill them over direct heat to a core temperature of 65°C (149F). That is the perfect core temperature for such a nice piece of pork. With a shoulder chop, you could go a little further without any problems, but for these fillet chops, 65°C (149F) is perfect. Then the meat is just about done and still deliciously juicy.
Keep a close eye on the meat because it would be a shame if it burns. So turn the meat regularly and put it on a different spot on the grates when the flames flare-up. That way, you keep yourself busy.
These are our whiskey (actually bourbon) marinated chops. Can you still call them pork chops when they’re this thick? No idea. If you are going to make these pork chops let us know in the comments below. Or better! Take a photo and post it on Instagram. Tag @bbq.heroes so we can see what you made.
- 2 thick cut pork chops
- 150ml bourbon
- 3 tbsp brown sugar
- 1 tbsp salt
- 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
For the dry rub
- 1 tbsp paprika powder
- 1 tbsp freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tbsp onion granulate
- 2 tsp garlic granulate
- 1 tsp dried chipotle pepper
- Mix the bourbon with the brown sugar, salt and vinegar in a large ziplock bag that’s just big enough for the pork chops. Insert the chops and squeeze as much air out of the bag as possible before closing. Leave this to marinate overnight in the fridge. It doesn’t hurt to turn the bag halfway through.
- Remove the pork chops from the marinade and pat them dry with some kitchen towel. Mix the ingredients for the dry rub and sprinkle it over all sides of the meat.
- Prepare a barbecue with an indirect temperature of about 120 to 140°C (248 to 284F). Place the pork chops on the grates. Insert a core thermometer and close the lid.
- Cook the chops to a core temperature of 55°C (131F) and then grill them over direct heat to a core temperature of 65°C (149F).