Cooking With Whiskey This 4th of July
By Richard Thomas
Although pork and the vanilla-sweet, smoky-woody flavors of bourbon are a classic, salt isn’t the first flavor many think of for adding to the equation. In that case, take a step back and think of all the maple-, honey- or brown sugar-glazed hams you’ve had, and then rethink the combination of salt, bourbon and pork. Here the trio are brought together to bring something special to the flavor of the humble pork chop, as well as do the traditional chore of brining: help ensure the meat stays nice and juicy even if you overcook it a bit.
Whole black peppercorns
Four thick-cut pork chops
Crush two cloves of garlic and combine these in a saucepan with 1/3 cup of bourbon, 1/4 cup of kosher salt,1/4 cup of brown sugar and 1 tbsp of peppercorns. Stir thoroughly, and then put on the stove on medium heat, so as to properly dissolve the salt and sugar into the bourbon. Do not bring the brine mixture to full simmer or boil, because the boiling point of alcohol is lower than that of water and you will lose most of it quickly if you let the brine get too hot.
Set the brine aside and let it cool.
Add three cups of cold water to the brine, and transfer to a bowl with a lid. Place the pork chops in and leave them to season in the brine overnight.
Put the pork chops on your grill (stovetop or barbecue grill) and cook over medium-high heat as you normally would. During the last few minutes of cooking, baste both sides with a coat of barbecue sauce.