Today, Teal wanted pork chops and I had a craving for smoked pork chops. However the smoked pork chops at the store did not look all that appealing. However, thick cut boneless pork loin chops were on special. So a compromise was in order, and it was still early enough in the day to get these done. So here is the experiment:
2 very thick cut pork loin chops, about 1.5 lbs. total. These were a good 1.5 ” thick or more.
- 2/3 c brown sugar
- 2 Tablespoons kosher salt
- 1.5 tsp Penzey’s jerk pork spice You could use McCormick or others but they vary a lot in flavor, like curries do.
- ~2 c water
Mix the brine. Trim the chops removing the fat and sliverskin on the outside. Poke with a paring knife repeatedly all the way through. This helps the brine to get absorbed more evenly. Soak in the brine covered in the fridge for 4 hours or so.
Prepare the smoker. I am using Big Green Egg. Start the charcoal with wood sticks for kindling. The “starter blocks” take too long to burn off and get rid of the paraffin odor. I added some nice big chunks (3-4 across) of cherry for flavor. Once the fire is going, set up for indirect cooking with the platesetter under the grate and set the Heatermeter to 225 degrees. Smoke for 4 hours.
The chops hit 135 degrees internal temp at 1.5 to 2 hours, so anything in the 140-145 range at the end will be plenty safe to eat. If in doubt, refer to Doug Baldwin’s pasteurization tables (the temps are for a sous vide water bath and therefore overkill here where I am watching the internal temps). http://www.douglasbaldwin.com/sous-vide.html#Table_5.1.
The smoking temp overshot a bit at first, to 245-250 for the first 45 min as I neglected to put the daisy wheel damper on the BGE. I was to anxious to get the trike out for a test ride. From 1 hour on, it was staying right at 225. We pulled the meat at 3.5 hours rather than the planned 4 due to the aroma of not only the pork but also of the apple crisp that Teal baked for dessert. Our apple trees are providing a nice crop this year.
When cut, the smoke ring penetrated 1/3 of the way in from the edges (nice!). This is fairly “light” smoke. The pork was juicy, fork tender and delicious. This experimental recipe is a keeper. In the future, I plan to run more time and temp variations.