Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Grilling adventures.

Roseholme Cottage finally acquired a grill recently, an inexpensive charcoal number from Lowes picked up almost on impulse. Since then I have been practicing my admittedly feeble grilling skills on the occasional steak, but last night I went for something different: Jamaican Jerk Pork Chops. Here's my pork chop AAR:
  • I'm thinking that marinating should consist of more than a couple hours floating in a bowl of jerk sauce in the fridge. Next time we're dunking 'em the night before.
  • There's got to be a way to get them nice and blackened around the edges without turning them into shoe leather on the inside. I'm guessing higher heat for less time?
Anyhow, despite being a first attempt, they turned out okay. Roomie said she wasn't hungry, but if we had a dog, and she threw that bone to it, it would have been one disappointed pooch, because she'd pretty much scraped all the flavor right off it.


og said...

Poking the bejus out of the chops before marinading makes the juice soak in betterer too. For chickens I have a horse needle I use to get the marinade in the meat itself. Dunno if that would work on a pork chop. Yeah, overnight does help a lot.

Runflat said...

Blacker edges with a still tender inside does require a higher heat initially. You could after that leave it high and have a pinker center or turn it down for a little better control over the finished product.

Letting the meat soak for the better part of 24 hours is the way to go.

Zdogk9 said...

Forget the bowl, Use a gallon zip lock for marinating. Overnight is better. Hotter grills are better, use a meat thermometer and pull the chops at about 145, should be nice and juicy.

Buffboy said...

All the marinade methods mentioned will work but the way to get the flavor into the meat faster is to use a vacuum jar, an hour is all it takes.

I've never tried to use charcoal, only gas, grilling. For jerk, I use a very low heat on everything, which when you eventually try to do chicken, is the only way to get it cooked without flareup. If you do chicken any other way, you get lots of black and raw insides.

I found this method is also the best for very lean meats, which for best flavor need that kind of cooking anyway, jerk is wonderful with bison, venison, and elk.

Beef just doesn't jerk well, or at least I've never found any method that works for it. It's edible, but it just never tastes quite right.

Jay G said...

og's method has always worked for me, although I use a lowly fork for the poking.

The longer you can marinade, the more flavor you can get into the meat of interest.

Dr. Feelgood said...

For prime blackening, use the highest heat you can get. Dry the outside of your chops thoroughly and then let them come up to room temperature. Season with coarse salt right before grilling and you'll have it. They'll be done very quickly, so keep your thermometer handy.

If you're using loin chops then beware that even with a long marinade they will cook relatively dry because they're so lean. Try wrapping them with bacon after you dry them. Other chop cuts have too much connective tissue for grilling and are best slow roasted or braised. I do pork tenderloin medallions this way in a cast-iron skillet and they're delicious.

Mark said...

Pork chop grilling expert here!

I admit, I use a gas grill. I turn all the burners on high and let it get good and hot. Then put the chops on the grill and sear them for a couple minutes. Then turn them over and sear the other side. Then turn the burners to medium and cook til done. Oh, one last thing, when you take them off the grill let them "rest" for five or ten minutes before you start cutting into them, that gets all the juice back into the meat.

If I had a dollar for every person who SWORE you couldn't grill pork chops without drying them out, but learned the error of their ways from my chops, I'd have enough money to buy lunch.

dave said...

Also, use lump charcoal (Ozark Oak if you can find it) rather than briquettes. Better flavor, hotter fire, and a lot less ash.

Anonymous said...

The best way to grill pork is to throw it away and buy some beef or shoot a deer.

By the time you get it cooked enough to kill the brain parasites, it's too dry to enjoy.

Rabbit said...

when I grill pork chops, I always fix up my 'pig douche'. equal parts vinegar and water, in a squirt bottle. I keep the chops moist but not so much they don't cook, and they always come out tender.


EmmaPeel said...

We grill pork high initially then move them to a cool side and slow cook for a little while. Gets them crispy on the outside and juicy on the in. We were trying to decide what to grill tonight for GunNuts. I think you just gave me an idea. Oh, chicken works well this was too.

CeeZar said...

Pork or steak, if they are thick, you have to bring them to room temp before cooking or you can't get the insides done without burning the outside or drying them out. Two hours on a plate covered with plastic wrap will do the job and nothing nasty will grow on them in that time.

You want to cook them over very high heat - screaming hot for beef - to get a sear on the outside. Put all of your coals on one side of the grill and sear both sides for about 2-3 minutes per side. If the internal temp is not high enough - 145 for pork - after searing, move the meat to the other side of the grill and close the lid.

YES - 145 for pork and YES - it should be PINK!! Trichinella spiralis is killed at 137 degrees. There is no need to go to 160 degrees unless you like dry pork.

Butch_S said...

Agree with Buffboy, 20 minutes of marinating under a vacuum works better than overnight without it.

Drang said...

Put all of your coals on one side of the grill

This is the key to temperature management on a charcoal grill. That or buying a Big Green Egg.

and sear both sides for about 2-3 minutes per side.

After the outaside is seared, move the chops to the "cooler" side of the grill. Works better with a larger grill, of course...

If the internal temp is not high enough - 145 for pork - after searing, move the meat to the other side of the grill and close the lid.
Whenever Alton Brown says these things, he always features the Men In Black of the FDA coming after him...
If you and Roberta don't watch the Food Network I am confident that you would both love "Good Eats."

Steve Skubinna said...

Okay Tam, I know you have a closet full of ARs and S&Ws and can shoot the warts off a gnat, but grilling is - how can I say this delicately - man's work. You might become competent at it, but you'll always lack the instinctive grasp of incinerating flesh outdoors.

Don't blame me, it's chromosomal. You can't argue with science. The debate is over, the consensus is in.

HTRN said...

I'm surprised no one mentioned brining as a method to keep the pork from drying out.

LabRat said...

So am I, HTRN. We don't grill pork chops all that often and thus don't have much advice there beyond what's already been mentioned, but if dry pig is your problem, brining is often the solution. Up here where water boils at 190, brining is about the only way to get juicy, fully cooked pork roasts.

Good article on bringing here, along with many other informative arguments for those that have no time for touchy-feely when they're trying to cook.

LabRat said...

...Informative ARTICLES. My week has been too combative by half.

LabRat said...

Oh, and as long as you're on a grilling kick, you might like to try these as well...

Joe said...

Try marinating your meat in Italian salad dressing for a interesting flavor. The oil in the dressing will help with the "dried out" bit too.

WV= gallo " Ya wanna a vino with tha steak?"

Anonymous said...

I use a cast iron grill plate, made by Lodge too.
It has ridges on one side and is flat on the other.
I use the flat side for just about everything.
I get it as hot as I can and keep it hot when cooking.
I also close the cover to keep the heat around the meat.
Hot and quick, but take the internal temp. to make sure the bugs are dead.

Larry said...

Second the Italian dressing. Works great with steaks as well, it will make a NY Strip so good that it will almost eat itself.

Wolf said...

Start em in the oven, finish them on the grill. Also a good method for chicken when grilling at your apartment with the itty bitty grill.

Anonymous said...

My solution to the 'dry pork' problem is: cut pork loin or loin chop into cubes or thin strips and then marinate before skewering as pork kabob or satay. This tip works well w/chicken breast-tenders as well.

I use a little italian dressing as the marinade. Dip the cooked kabob/satay into a peanut sauce:

Satay dipping sauce:

Whisk together until smooth:
2 or 3 tbsp. smooth peanut butter (microwave it til it's warm, it'll blend better)
Juice of 1 lemon
1 or 2 cloves garlic, crushed
pinch ground cumin
pinch crushed red pepper
1/3 c. soy sauce
dash tabasco
3 Tblspn dark sesame oil
2 Tblspn brown sugar
Fresh cracked pepper

Add the meat to a ziplock or a covered glass container, put some italian dressing in with and a couple shots of tabasco. I don't use much marinade - just stir often so meat is covered. Leave for half an hour or up to 12 hours.

Thread meat on bamboo skewers and broil on the grill (I use a cast iron hibachi). Don't crowd the meat onto the skewers, you want a 'flat' strip instead of a lot of S curves.
Use a strip of foil as a heat shield for the skewer-handles, on the hibachi I keep handles off the heat.
Dip hot satay into dipping sauce, chase w/cold beer. I pour any remaining dipping sauce over hot ramen noodles.