Built with layer upon layer of flavor—first with a spicy, earthy rub and then with a sweet and fruity glaze—these pork and pineapple kebabs taste way more complex than their simple preparation may suggest.
Why this recipe works:
- Brining the pork chops adds extra moisture to the meat, ensuring they stay juicy on the grill.
- A hefty amount of cayenne pepper adds considerable heat to a seemingly simple rub.
- An apricot glaze gives a sweet, fruity finish that contrasts with and balances out the spicy rub.
- The sugary glaze is applied over indirect heat to prevent it from burning.
- For the Brined Pork Chops:
- 2 quarts ice cold water
- 1/3 cup kosher salt
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 2 pounds (1 1/2-inch thick) center-cut pork chops
- For the Rub:
- 1 tablespoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- For the Glaze:
- 1/2 cup apricot preserves
- 1/4 cup honey
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped chipotle chiles in adobo
- Wooden skewers, soaked in water for at least 30 minutes prior to use
- 1/2 pineapple, peeled, cored, and cut into 1 1/2-inch cubes
- Type of fire: two-zone indirect
- Grill heat: medium-high
For the Brined Pork Chops: In a large bowl, whisk together water, salt, and sugar until solids are dissolved. Place pork chops in brine and refrigerate for 30-60 minutes.
For the Rub: In a small bowl, mix together paprika, salt, black pepper, sugar, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, and cumin. Set aside.
To make the glaze: In a small saucepan, whisk together apricot preserves, honey, mustard, soy sauce, vinegar, and chipotle chiles. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer until slightly thickened, 5-10 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
Remove pork chops from brine and pat dry with paper towels. Cut pork into 1 1/2-inch cubes, trimming any large pieces of excess fat. Coat pork cubes liberally with spice rub.
Thread pork onto skewers, alternating with pineapple cubes.
Light one chimney full of charcoal. When all the charcoal is lit and covered with gray ash, pour out and arrange coals on one side of the charcoal grate. Set cooking grate in place, cover grill and allow to preheat for 5 minutes. Clean and oil the grilling grate. Grill skewers over direct heat until pork is well seared on all sides, about 3 minutes per side.
Move skewers to cool side of grill and brush with glaze all over. Cover grill and continue to cook until center of pork registers 140-145°F on an instant-read thermometer, about 5 minutes onger. Transfer skewers to a serving tray and let rest for 5 minutes. Serve immediately.