Berkshire Pork Chops

Berkshire pork chops.  Homemade apple sauce.  Horseradish mashed potatoes.  It sounds like we may on to something great.  Without question we find ourselves back in cold New England this morning, instead of warm southern California.

Pork chops are delicious, but can be tricky to cook.  The meat is naturally lean and you always want to cook pork all the way through, therefore the meat can very easily become tough.  Tough and dry pork chops… we’ve all had it, and no one likes it.

There are a few ways around this.  First and foremost, buy good quality.  Well marbled meat will always be more tender and flavorful (Berkshire is the best).  Second, bread the pork.  The breading protects the meat and absorbs oil, adding the missing ‘fat’.  Third, consider brining the meat.  I have posted about this many times, and it’s the easiest way to push flavor into the meat and prevent it from drying while cooking.  But maybe you don’t have the time or energy to brine, don’t want to ad additional salt to your diet, or just want to try something different.  That brings us to our last method:  simmering.

Simmering pork chops sounds horrible.  It sounds like grey meat with no flavor, and by itself, you would be right.  So think of it as a two part method.

  • Part I:  gentle simmer the meat in a flavorful broth until just cooked through
  • Part II:  Finish the meat on a hot charcoal grill with a sweet glaze, giving it the flavor and caramelization desired

The simmering gently cooks the meat, leaving it juice, highly tender and perfectly cooked.  For the glaze, we will use a cider/honey/rosemary glaze.  You can easily sub with any other type of grilling sauce or glaze, like bbq sauce, miso/soy, etc.

Homemade apple sauce is, especially for this application, easy.  Use green apples, a touch of sugar, lemon juice and a small amount of water and just cook down, occasionally mashing until it becomes a sauce.  Horseradish mashed potatoes:  Instead of giving you a full recipe, I recommend using your favorite mashed potato recipe and adding a couple tablespoons of prepared horseradish.  The star is the meat, the hardest part is the meat, and therefore I will focus on the cooking technique alone.

Berkshire Pork Chops

Prep time:  3 minutes
Cook time:  45 minutes
Yield:  4 pork chops

Ingredients:

4 Berkshire pork chops, bone in, frenched and cleaned of extraneous fat
1/4 cup honey
1 cup apple cider
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 sprig rosemary, leaves only, fine chop
kosher salt
black pepper
4 cups chicken broth or bouillon, cold
1 tsp vegetable oil

Method:

Place the pork chops in the cold broth.  Add 1 tbsp kosher salt.  Bring to a very gently simmer and simmer for about 1/2 hour.  A very gently simmer means a bubble or two every couple of seconds.

While the pork is simmering, make the glaze.  Whisk together the apple cider, vinegar and honey and place in a small heavy bottom sauce pot.  Gently reduce until slightly thick.  Remove from heat and add the chopped rosemary.

Remove the pork from the broth (it should be cooked to about medium in the middle) and pat dry.  Discard the broth.  Prepare a charcoal grill (if using gas, make sure it’s medium high heat).  Toss the pork chops in the vegetable oil, lightly salt and pepper and begin grilling.  Brush the glaze on as you grill.  All you are doing is charring and caramelizing – remember, they are already cooked through.  Once you have grill marks on one side, flip, and reglaze.  Do not overcook!

Remove from grill and serve right away.

Enjoy.

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