What makes these grilled pork chops something special is grilled peaches. Grilling peaches and other stone fruits lends a flavor boost, bringing their natural sugar to the fore. Use freestone peaches so that you can easily twist the halves off the pit. Baste them with butter, honey, and bourbon as they grill to give them a sheen, then serve with a juicy pork chop, brined for a full day to season it all the way through.–Janet Fletcher
LC The Beauty of Bourbon Note
We know, we know. Bourbon is a beautiful thing. Too beautiful, perhaps, to expend on stone fruits destined for the grill, you may think. But after you try this recipe, you’ll want to think again.
Grilled Country Pork Chops with Bourbon-Basted Grilled Peaches
For the brined and grilled pork chops
- 1 1/2 quarts water
- 6 tablespoons kosher or sea salt
- 1 teaspoon coarsely cracked black pepper
- Handful of thyme sprigs
- 2 cloves garlic peeled and smashed with the side of a chef’s knife
- 4 bone-in pork loin chops (about 3/4 inch or 18 mm thick)
For the peaches
- 2 tablespoons (1 oz) unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons bourbon
- 2 teaspoons honey
- 2 large freestone peaches (such as O’Henry or Elberta), halved and pitted
Prepare the pork chops
- In a medium saucepan, combine the water, salt, pepper and thyme. Bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the salt. Set the brine aside until completely cool.
- Place the pork chops in a container that holds the chops snugly in a single layer. Add the garlic and the brine, which should cover the pork chops, and cover with plastic wrap. Or you can place the pork and its brine in a 1-gallon heavy-duty resealable food storage bag. Refrigerate for 24 hours.
- About 1 hour before cooking, remove the pork chops from the brine and set them on a wire cooling rack at room temperature to dry.
- Prepare a moderate charcoal fire for indirect grilling or preheat a gas grill to medium 375ºF (190°C), leaving one burner unlit.
- Pat the pork chops dry with paper towels. Set the chops directly over the coals or gas flame and brown on both sides, turning once, for about 3 minutes per side. Transfer to indirect heat, cover the grill, and cook until the chops offer some resistance to the touch but are still springy, not firm, about 4 minutes longer. If you are unsure of doneness, measure the internal temperature with an instant-read thermometer, inserting it horizontally into a chop; it should register about 150ºF (65°C) for medium.
Make the peaches
- Combine the butter, bourbon, and honey in a small saucepan over moderately low heat and stir until the butter melts and the honey dissolves. Keep warm.
- After you’ve moved the pork chops to indirect heat, brush the peaches all over with the butter-honey mixture and place them, cut side down, directly over the coals or gas flame. Cook until they’re nicely charred, then turn, baste again, and cook just until the peaches are tender and juicy. The pork chops and peaches should be done at roughly the same time, but if not, move whichever is done first to a cooler area of the grill to wait. Serve each pork chop with a grilled peach half alongside.
Recipe Testers’ Reviews
This is a case where the whole is greater than the sum of its parts: A bite of the pork with a bite of the peach at the same time is what this recipe is all about. Tasting the pork on its own, I felt it was over-brined—just too salty. But with the grilled peach, it all balances out. When I make this again (and I’ll make it again), I won’t brine the pork for a full 24 hours. I’ll try 12, and I suspect that even six hours would be enough. The grilled peach halves were what made this dish fantastic. It’s kind of like the classic ham and pineapple combo, but better. A great way to celebrate peach season!
I feel brining pork really enhances the flavour experience, especially when grilling. These pork chops are no exception. They stay moist, and the flavour of the chops goes very well with the accompanying grilled peaches. These bourbon-glazed peaches offer a rich, sweet contrast to the savoury meat. Although 3/4-inch chop is very nice, I’d make this again with a minimum 1-inch-thick chop.
This is a very simple recipe, which might have bordered on plain if the pork hadn’t been so succulent and the peaches such a perfect match. I was concerned that the brine, which the recipe doesn’t instruct to rinse off, would make the chops overly salty, but I didn’t find that to be the case. The bourbon glaze for the peaches was so delicious, I used a little extra to sauce the chop. The recipe could be even easier, however: Salt will readily dissolve in room-temperature water, and there’s plenty of time for the herb and garlic flavors to permeate the meat. So there’s no need to boil the brine and cool it.
These were a hit with my family. The saltiness from the brine paired with the bourbon and honey mixture made for very tasty pork chops. I made this recipe with center-cut boneless pork chops that were pretty thick, only because that’s what I had in the freezer. I had them in the brine for eight hours instead of overnight, which was long enough to make the chops moist and full of flavor. There was just a hint of saltiness to the pork, but not too much. I’ve used other brine recipes with salt-to-water proportions that made the meat way too salty. The proportions for this recipe were perfect. The peaches on the grill were delicious, and complemented the pork nicely. Make sure that you get freestone peaches. The ones in the market here in the Pacific Northwest are not yet freestones, so they were a bit of a pain to pit, especially the ones that were not quite ripe.
We really liked this. It’s the first time I’ve brined pork chops and felt it really made a difference, especially since I used ones from the grocery store instead of from the specialty meat store I usually frequent. The peaches were excellent, too, although be careful you don’t burn them. I used salted butter because that’s all I ever use, and it worked fine. An excellent Sunday supper!
“If this was described on a menu at a restaurant, I’d have ordered it. My expectations were fulfilled and I’d order it again.” This is what my husband said after tasting these chops. I’d have to agree with him. The brine was one of the best I’ve made, with an excellent salt-to-water ratio. The meat was tender and succulent. The glaze was so yummy—you can’t possibly go wrong with butter, bourbon, and honey! I’m the kind of person who loves glazes, sauces, reductions, demi-glaces, and so on, but I must say this pork was just fine without them. My personal preference would be to throw some crushed juniper berries into the brine. We’re definitely going to make this recipe again. This one’s a keeper.
Originally published July 27, 2010