Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Fall Harvest Pork Chops

So I've been tromping around the wooded hills here in Humboldt lately, and after harvesting some wild apples, onions, and some laurel leaves, I made a nice pork recipe.  I saw a lot of pig sign in the hills, taking walks every day, that reminded me of my hunting days, several years back.  When I returned home, the wife said she'd be brave enough to try my concoction, so I decided to make it tonight.  Up in the hills, I had fresh laurel leaves, or what most folks know as "bay", and that has a very different flavor than the dried "bay" leaves.  However, there's no loss of flavor in the dish, simply a different one, when using dried "bay".  The apples, onions, and peppers all combine to make a delicious medley of flavors that the pork chops only compliment.  

The trick to this meal is that it can mostly be done ahead of time and the total prep time, in terms of work hours, is less than 30 minutes.  And it yields a great end result!

The brine is the key in this dish.  It can be used for the chops, a loin roast, chicken thighs, a turkey, etc.  When one figures out that its uses, and subsequently its variations, are endless, then one truly becomes "Lucky".  It can be made, and used, days ahead of time or used for as little as 2 hrs, if necessary. - justin

Osker: Lucky

  • 5 cups water
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flake
  • 1/2 tsp dried rosemary
  • 1/2 tsp herbs De Provence
  • 1 star anise pod
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 tsp whole black peppercorns
  • 1/2 tsp whole brown mustard seeds
  • 2 bay (or fresh laurel) leaves
  • 10 whole cloves
  • 4 large, bone-in pork chops, approx 3 lbs
Bring all ingredients, except the pork, to a boil and reduce to a simmer for five minutes, to allow flavors to incorporate.  After five minutes, remove from heat and allow to cool.  Place pork chops and brine in a Ziploc bag or air-tight container and refrigerate for 4-6 hours.

  • 2 cups chopped red bell pepper, deseeded
  • 2 cups chopped yellow onion
  • 2-1/2 cups chopped green apples (I used Granny Smiths)
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 4 large, bone-in pork chops, approx 3 lb, brined
  • 2 tsp Dry Meat Rub
In a 13x9 baking dish, combine the chopped bell pepper, onion, apple, olive oil,  salt, and black pepper and toss thoroughly.  Place the brined chops on top of the veggies and apples, spacing them evenly apart.  Sprinkle 1/4 tsp of Dry Meat Rub on each side of each chop. Bake in a 350 degree F oven until an internal temp of 145 is reached, or approximately 45 minutes.  Cover dish with aluminum foil and allow meat to rest 5-10 minutes before serving.

Prep time: 4-6 hrs
Cook time: 1 hr
Servings: 4-6
Difficulty: Easy


  1. ○ I love brining food now and then and am always on the hunt for a good tasty recipe. Looks like I've been lucky enough to find one! Thanks a bunch. ○

  2. Amateur - you'll have to let us know if you try it and what you think. i'd never actually had brined food until justin tried brining a turkey about 3 or 4 years ago. then we coated the whole thing under the skin with a compound butter and stuffed it full of aromatics. i've NEVER liked turkey until i ate that! it's the only way we'll make turkey now! -jen