Pork chops are the unsung hero of the BBQ world. We produce fantastic free-range pork here in the UK. We’d recommend visiting your local butcher, or pre ordering, some thick, meaty pork chops for this dish. Pork is generally easier on the pocket than beef. Ask your butcher to cut them at least an inch thick and to trim a little of the back fat. Here, we prepare them with some dry West-country cider, sweetened with brown sugar and some creamy, sharp Dijon mustard for balance. A dish that’s fairly straightforward to prepare, super delicious and a great alternative to the usual fare of steak and chips. Whether you’re observing Valentines, Galentines or Palentines, this hug of a meal will definitely celebrate that significant bond.
Recipe by Sam Evans & Shauna Guinn – Hang Fire BBQ, Fire Pit Hosts and Chefs for Pub in the Park Wimbledon, Warwick, Bath & St Albans
4 bone-in free range Pork Loin Chops (around 150+gms each)
100ml Dijon Mustard
1 medium brown onion, cut in half, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
200ml medium West Country dry cider
200ml Chicken stock
1tbls soft brown sugar
2 tbl salted butter
1 tbl smoked paprika
1 fresh or dried bay leaves
3 fresh thyme sprigs
½ tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1tbl Sea salt flakes
1tsp Cracked black pepper
Neutral oil, for greasing
Small handful of flat leaf parsley for garnish
Follow these steps:
- Combine 2 tablespoons of the Dijon mustard and Smoked Paprika. Brush on each side of the pork chops then sprinkle liberally with the sea salt on both sides. Place on a wire rack, uncovered, the fridge for at around 2hrs while you make your braising liquor and set up your grill.
- Set your smoker up for indirect heat at 140°C Alternatively set your oven to 160°C / 150°C Fan / gas mark 3. The pork chops will slowly braise making them juicy and tender.
- In a pan on a low to medium heat, add the butter, when melted, sauté the onions gently so they don’t colour, around 5 minutes. Add in the minced garlic, bay leaf and thyme sprigs, continue to stir frequently. Turn up the heat and deglaze with the cider, and reduce the liquid reduces by half. Now add the chicken stock, remaining Dijon mustard, sugar, chilli flakes, paprika, a good pinch of salt and the cracked black pepper. Stir until the added ingredients are well combined. Pour into an ovenproof dish with a lid, or disposable foil tin (with a foil lid or make one with tin foil), large enough to accommodate your pork chops, so they sit almost covered in the cider liquor sauce.
- Dab or brush some neutral flavour oil onto the pork ribs and grill on your BBQ directly over the heat for 2-3 minutes per side, or in a griddle pan on your stove top. Ensuring they get some lovely grill marks.
- Transfer the pork to your dish with the braising liquor. Cover tightly and return to the smoker or oven for around 45 mins to 1 hour, or until the internal temperature of the pork is 63°C - 65°C measured on an instant read thermometer (an essential bit of kitchen kit). Remove the dish from the smoker or oven and remove the lid, being careful of the hot steam. Allow the chops to rest in the dish for 10 - 15 minutes before serving.
- Serve on a large sharing platter, or individual plates, spooning the sauce on the platter, pork chops on top, followed by a little more sauce and garnished with the chopped flat leaf parsley. As a side dish, buttered hassle back potatoes work well and can be cooked in the oven at the same time as the pork chops. We also love some seasonal greens on the side.
Happy Valentine's Day from the Pub in the Park Team! And thank you so much to Sam & Shauna for this positively drool inducing pork chop recipe.