In case you hadn’t yet noticed, I LOVE PORK. I can’t think of a beast more giving (in a culinary sense), than our friend the noble pig. From the belly, to the hock, the loin, the shoulder, and the jowl, the pig offers so many tasty cuts of meat, that can be cooked in such a wide variety of ways, that the sky’s the limit as to what you can create with a little imagination. That said, and I hope I don’t disappoint too many of you nose-to-tail folks out there, while there are those who will eat just about anything that can be gleaned from a pig, I do have my limits.
I have tried, but am not a fan of dishes made with the snout, tail, and trotters. As for the intestines, or chitterlings as we call them in the states, after a few horrific experiences with andouillette sausage in France (not to be confused with the delicious cajun andouille sausage available in this country), I can’t even be in the same room with the things. Andouillette are sausages stuffed with chitterlings, tripe, and a handful of other unmentionables, and are partly described in Wikipedia as having some interesting qualities, the most notable being: “As with all tripe sausages, andouillettes are an acquired taste. Their strong smell can be reminiscent of feces and may offend people unaccustomed to the dish”.
They’re not kidding….enough said.
Braising cuts like the Boston Butt are perfect for low and slow cooking and will yield tender, delectable results if treated with care, see one of my favorite pork braises here. Bone-in chops and roasts with a nice layer of fat still attached to the meat, offer delicious results with little more than a salt and herb seasoning before hitting the grill or oven. Leaner cuts however, can benefit from either some time spent brining, or the addition of a sauce or salsa to add some moisture and additional flavor to these typically less flavorful cuts.
I didn’t take the time in advance to brine these chops, but instead gave them a quick spice rub, then with the help of Peyton, pulled together a quick tropical relish that we used to elevate a rather ho-hum plain old chop to something really special. FYI – the salsa would be equally delicious with a piece of chicken or fish.
Cheers – Steve
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste (about 1/2 teaspoon pepper and 1-2 teaspoons salt)
- 4 (1-inch-thick) bone-in rib pork chops
- 1/2 of a fresh pineapple, peeled, cored, and cut into 1/4-inch dice
- 1/2 cup finely chopped red onion or shallot
- 4-6 Peppadews (pickled piquante peppers) or fresh serrano or jalapeno chile, seeded and minced
- 1 teaspoon finely grated fresh ginger
- 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice, or more to taste
- Prepare grill for cooking over direct heat with medium-hot charcoal (medium heat for gas), or pre-heat a grill pan for cooking on a stove-top.
- Stir together oil, cumin, salt and pepper, then rub all over pork chops, transferring chops as coated to a dish. Stir together pineapple, onion, peppers, ginger, lime juice, and about 1/2 teaspoon salt in another bowl.
- Lightly oil grill rack and grill pork chops (covered only if using a gas grill), turning over once, until just cooked through, 6 to 9 minutes total. Transfer to a clean platter and let stand 5 minutes.
- You can either serve the chops with the relish as is (not cooked), or if you have cooked your chops indoors, you can toss the relish into the pan for a quick saute right after you remove the meat. This is what we did, just enough to warm it through, and it was delicious.