It seems the site has survived the unexpected rush of hits, so now it's time to return to the reason why I have this site: food and cooking.
I made my grilled pork chops a few days ago. Done correctly, pork chops can be juicy, fragrant and delicious. The recipe begins the night before with a rub, refrigeration, and finally grilling.
First, we'll need to start with the spice rub. You'll have your preference, but here's the one I created. I use 2 parts paprika, 2 parts chili powder, 1 part light brown sugar, 1 part salt, 1 part ground black pepper, 1 part crushed red pepper, and 1 part cumin. The rub can be made in any quantity and stored for use later. For a small amount use a teaspoon, for a large quality use a 1/4 cup (or more) per part. [IMG]
Now, I grind the cumin and red pepper in a spice grinder until powdery. [IMG]
Pour the spices together into an available spice jar. I had just finished a container of dried rosemary, so I used it after washing (and drying!). A salt shaker would work just as well. [IMG]
Laying out the pork chops, I liberally sprinkled the surface with the rub. Then I took one to two teaspoons of dried thyme and sprinkled it over. Using my tongs, I pressed the rub and thyme into the chops before flipping and repeating the rub and thyme sprinkling. [IMG]
The pork chops should refrigerate for about 8 hours before grilling to help the flavors really get into the meat. If in a hurry, I recommend at least an hour of refrigeration.
Build a two level fire if using charcoal and grill the chops over high heat for three minutes on each side (or until browned). Move to lower heat and cook until an instant read thermometer registers 145°F (63°C) [336 K]. [IMG]
Let stand for five minutes and serve!
Please note that trichinella larvae (the cause of trichinosis or trichinellosis) can survive in temperatures up to 170°F (78°C) [350K], but this usually produces a tough piece of pork. You can avoid danger of trichinosis by freezing the pork at 5°F (-15°C) [258 K] for 20 days. This will effectively kill any trichinella larvae.
Grilled Pork Chops (serves however many pork chops you have) Grilled Pork Chop Rub
Warning: Making pork safe by freezing requires LOWER temperatures according to the National Pork Producers Council:
"Freezing - Experiments have been performed
to determine the effect of cold temperatures
on the survival of T. spiralis in
pork. Predicted times required to kill
trichinae were 8 minutes at -200 C (-40 F),
64 minutes at -150 C (50 F), and 4 days at -
100 C (140 F). Trichinae were killed instantaneously
at -23.30 C (-100 F). The U.S.
Department of Agriculture's Code of
Federal Regulations, requires that pork
intended for use in processed products be
frozen at -17.80 C (00 F) for 106 hours, at -
20.60 C (-50 F) for 82 hours, at -23.30 C (-100
F) for 63 hours, at -26.10 C (-150 F) for 48
hours, at -28.90 C (-200 F) for 35 hours, at -
31.70 C (-250 F) for 22 hours, at -34.50 C (-300
F) for 8 hours, and at -37.20 C (-350 F) for
0.5 hours. These extended times take into
account the amount of time required for
temperature to equalize within the meat
along with a margin of safety."
I've found most pork chops rather dry-- a result of pork farmers mania for low fat products.
Have you tried brining the chops? I use 1/2 cup of kosher salt and 1/2 cup of sugar, dissolved in a gallon of water. Then I soak the chops for 12 hours, rinse and dry them, then apply the rub. The chops are noticably moister.
Krikey! Here I was thinking the odds of getting trichinosis were insignificant these days, cooking my pork "just right", and relishing every bite!
Perhaps you could include ingredient risk assessments here...
Infection was once very common and usually caused by ingestion of undercooked pork. However, infection is now relatively rare. During 1997-2001, an average of 12 cases per year were reported. The number of cases has decreased because of legislation prohibiting the feeding of raw-meat garbage to hogs, commercial and home freezing of pork, and the public awareness of the danger of eating raw or undercooked pork products. Cases are less commonly associated with pork products and more often associated with eating raw or undercooked wild game meats."
Cooking pork until it is 160F is unnecessary. Wild game meat is the main source of infection these days, and only a few instances per year. You are more likely to get sick from your meat being than infected (thousands of times more likely).
Juicy, rare(r) pork is not bad for you in these fancy dancy modern times.
Also, check out Alton Browns statements about this on /.
I would not really recommend letting a dry rub sit for 8 hours. Dry rubs contain a significant amount of salt and for that long of a period of time, it will pull out a significant amount of water. This sometimes is a desired effect (as in aging beef) but since pork is so famously dry I'd imagine this isn't what you're going for.
If you're investing 8 hours, I'd go with a brine. You'll infuse quite a bit of moisture into the pork chop. You're rubs kind of more complicated than it needs to be. Chili powder already contains a fair amount of paprika. I'd cut out the paprika and just increase the amount of chili powder.
I'd be very wary of exposing crushed red pepper flakes to that high of a heat too. You're probably going to burn them. This is all being picky though (engineers are supposed to go for perfect though right :-)).
This recipe also works well for any sort of high, dry heat cooking method. You could interchange either broiling or pan-frying here. You could also combind if you're dealing with a thick pork chop. Just sear the outsides in a wicked hot cast iron pan, then pop the pan in the oven at about 350 and cook to temperature.
I find cast-iron searing produces a better crust than grilling. In the 10 minute cooking time, I'd wager grilling won't infuse any real additional flavors either.
If you're buying quality meat (pork that is) you don't have worry. If you're buying grocery store slag pork then you have more problems than we can deal with. I've got 26 years of eating good food (pork) and have YET to get sick from it. Lighten up people, this isn't 1956.
Dry Pork Chops? Start with a cold pan and bring it up from there. However, most dry pork chops come from having the chop sliced too thin (less expensive for the consumer). You'll need something at least 3/4" or 1" for it to come out nicely.
Or wrap a piece of applewood smoked bacon around the sucker, that'll infuse some nice flavors.
In any case I will usually lay down a piece of bacon on top to give it some pop. Pork always goes good with pork. Or beef.
Yes, brining pork chops RULE. But you'd have to be thinking ahead. And most of us Americans don't. Think ahead.
NO, marinating meat in salt doesn't dry anything out. Sorry. I use Rock Salt from some little place in Italy, cover my chickens for up to 2 to 3 days. NO problem. Check out the Zuni.