A simple dry brine keeps grilled pork nice and juicy. Get a jump on prep by brining the chops the morning before or even the night before you plan to cook them. Then just grill the chops and brush them with sauce to add sweet, spicy and savory flavors to the meaty pork. If you don’t want to make the barbecue sauce (which is easier to make than you would think with a handful of pantry staples), you can serve the pork chops simply by melting 1 tsp. unsalted butter on each hot chop just before serving. Grill a halved lemon, cut side down, for a couple minutes and serve for squeezing on top of the chops.
Brined Pork Chops with Chipotle Rye Barbecue Sauce
- 4 bone-in center-cut pork chops, each about 14 oz. (440 g) and 1 1/2 inches (4 cm) thick
- 1 1/2 Tbs. coarse sea salt, preferably sel gris
- 1 1/2 tsp. sugar
For the barbecue sauce:
- 2 cups (16 oz./500 g) ketchup
- 1/2 cup (4 fl. oz./125 ml) rye whiskey
- 3 Tbs. dark brown sugar
- 3 Tbs. cider vinegar
- 2 Tbs. yellow mustard
- 2 Tbs. Worcestershire sauce
- 2 to 3 tsp. chipotle chile powder
- 2 tsp. smoked paprika
- 1 1/2 tsp. fine sea salt
- 1 tsp. garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp. onion powder
- 1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1. Set a large wire rack on a rimmed baking sheet. Pat the chops dry and sprinkle evenly on both sides with the salt and sugar. Place the chops on the rack on the pan and refrigerate uncovered for at least 8 hours or up to 24 hours.
2. Meanwhile, make the barbecue sauce: In a saucepan, combine all of the ingredients and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until slightly thickened, about 20 minutes. Use immediately, or let cool, transfer to an airtight container, and refrigerate for up to 1 month. (If the sauce has been refrigerated, reheat over low heat before using.)
3. Heat the grill for medium-high direct heat (400° to 450°F/200° to 230°C). Remove the chops from the refrigerator and let them rest at room temperature until the grill is ready.
4. Brush the grill grate and coat with oil. Put the chops on the grate and cook, frequently flipping and rotating their position on the grate for even browning, until nicely grill marked on both sides and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center of a chop away from bone registers 140°F (60°C), 15 to 20 minutes total. During the last few minutes of cooking, brush the chops with some of the sauce and grill briefly on both sides to glaze the chops.
5. Transfer the chops to a platter and let rest for 5 to 10 minutes. Serve with the remaining sauce alongside. Serves 4.
For this recipe and other secrets on how to make fabulous food
on the grill, check out our essential guide to cooking on fire,
Grill School, by Andrew Schloss and David Joachim.