Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Smoked Pork Chops

I had been wanting to try smoking meat on the grill (btw, anyone looking for a good quality, good value grill, I HIGHLY recommend the Broil King line), but haven't had time to slow cook it and smoke it. Then I found a recipe for grilling pork chops with wood chips, and since it only takes about 10 min to cook, I had to try it. I think it turned out pretty well.


3 cups water
1/4 cup kosher salt
1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons molasses
2 cloves garlic, smashed
2 bay leaves
1 tablespoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon peppercorn
2 cups ice cubes

In a medium-sized saucepan combine water, salt, sugar, molasses, smashed garlic, bay leaves, thyme, and peppercorn. Bring to a boil and heat, stirring, until salt and sugar have dissolved. Remove from burner, and add ice cubes to cool quickly.

Place pork chops in a container or heavy-duty resealable bag, pour cooled brine over meat, and refrigerate between 1-12 hours.

Soak 2-4 wood chunks in water for at least an hour, then wrap loosely in foil and pierce several times with a fork. Place wood chips below cooking grids.

Preheat grill to about 600ºF (remember cooking settings/times will vary between grills). Meanwhile, remove chops from brine and pat dry with paper towels. Rub both sides with your favorite rub (we used a wonderful rub from Rendezvous).

Reduce temperature to about 450ºF, and brush or spray the cooking grids with vegetable oil to prevent sticking.

Place the chops on the grill and sear for 2 minutes. Turn the chops to sear the other side for 2 more minutes. Reduce heat to 350ºF and turn the chops, allowing them to cook for 3 minutes. Turn once more and allow to cook for 3 minutes (the internal temperature of pork should generally be about 160ºF). Remove from grill, and brush chops with your favorite barbecue sauce (we enjoyed them without any sauce).

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

(Mostly) Blackberry Frozen Custard

So we bought a bunch of fresh blackberries with the intention of making ice cream, only to come home and realize that we had no less than 4 partially full bags of frozen berries in the freezer. Apparently we never remember if we have any or not when we go to buy ingredients for making ice cream. So the recipe kind of turned into mostly blackberries, plus some raspberries, blueberries, and strawberries.

I was poking around the web and found a great recipe. I changed it just a bit, and it turned out pretty great, even in our inexpensive ice cream maker. (NOTE: Yes, mom, I remembered to put the blade in the ice cream maker this time).

Blackberry Frozen Custard

4 cups whole blackberries (or other berries; fresh or frozen)
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups half and half
4 large egg yolks
1 tablespoon lemon juice

First off, make sure you chill/freeze the ice cream container for at least 1-2 hours. If I think far enough ahead (read: never), I like to leave it in the freezer overnight).

Mix blackberries and 1/2 cup sugar in small saucepan. Bring to low boil, simmer 5 minutes to dissolve sugar and break up berries. Cool slightly. Puree in blender. Press puree through fine sieve to remove seeds. Discard seeds. Set puree aside. (NOTE: The original recipe called for 1 cup of sugar here, but I like the tartness of the berries, so I only used 1/2 cup. Also, I didn't remove the seeds because I like the texture, but there are LOT of seeds in blackberries, so I would recommend at least a cursory sifting of the puree).

In a medium size saucepan heat the half and half and 1 cup sugar until the sugar granules have disappeared. Pour the cream into a large bowl and set a mesh strainer over the top of it. In another bowl whisk together the egg yolks. Pour some of the warm half and half mixture into the egg yolks, whisking constantly. Add in the rest of the half and half mixture and whisk to combine. Pour this back into the saucepan and stir constantly over medium heat until the mixture coats the back of the spoon. Pour the mixture through the strainer into the cream and mix to combine. Add in the blackberry puree and the lemon juice and stir until cool over an ice bath. Chill in the fridge for 2-4 hours and then churn as directed by your ice cream machine.

A delicious dessert (even in February)! Admittedly, it WAS a lot more ice creamy than custardy (it was softer than a good frozen custard should be), so we'll play with that. Still, I highly recommend it.

¡Buen Provecho!

Those of you who know me know that I have two fervent passions; volleyball and ranting (mainly about politics). This blog is not for either of those. Instead, it is dedicated to my other passion, and that is food. I mostly love to eat great food, but I also like to dabble in its preparation. So I've decided to post some of my experiments here, and hope for some feedback and/or new ideas. A special thanks goes out to our wonderful friends who are always willing to be the guinea pigs with our new recipes. Peace.