This recipe, from Tom Mylan's The Meat Hook Meat Book, is actually from Chef Jean Adamson of Vinegar Hill House, the Brooklyn restaurant known for their stellar pork chop. Brooklyn blood runs thick, friends in high places, and all that. However, it made its way to us, and thank goodness it did. Insanely flavorful and juicy from a 12-hour brining, the chop is Flinstonian in proportions and, I think it's fair to say, generally epic.
The brine is made with equal parts sugar and salt, with flavors of juniper, black pepper, thyme, and garlic that sink into the meat and leave it with a distinctive hammy quality which I loved. The double-cut chops themselves are cut from the shoulder end, a.k.a. blade chops, as opposed to the more common center-cut chops (gotta ask that butcher), and are therefore rimmed in thick fat that renders and chars beautifully in the pan. Despite some cooking-time issues, which I'll address below, this was absolutely one of the best pork chops I've ever had.
And, um, cheese grits with jalapeños. So, yeah, that was a good dinner.
Why I picked this recipe: It's called the Inevitable Pork Chop for a reason.
What worked: Amazing pork chop, solid cheese grits (easily enough for 4, by the way). The bites with charred fat, creamy grits and pickled jalapeños were magical.
What didn't: Unfortunately, I found the cooking time on the chops to be way off. My double-cut chops were nearly 3 inches thick, about 1 1/2 pounds each, and cooking over high heat for a total of about 12 minutes left the middle 1 1/2 inches completely raw. I put them back over medium heat, flipping frequently as instructed, for nearly 15 more minutes, and even then, there were some questionable spots.
Suggested tweaks: Take down the heat to medium high and cook to an internal temp of between 120° and 140°, depending on how well done you like your pork chops. Or, may I suggest yet again, trying out Kenji's reverse sear on these beauties?
As usual, we have 5 copies of The Meat Hook Meat Book to give away this week.
Excerpted from The Meat Hook Meat Book by Tom Mylan (Artisan Books). Copyright © 2014. Photographs by Michael Harlan Turkell. Illustrations by Kate Bonner.