Smoked Pork Chops with Dijon Cream Sauce
Pork chops, lightly smoked over apple wood, make a wonderful entrée or ingredient in stews and casseroles. The pork chops freeze well so you can prepare many more than you need for one meal and have them ready to reheat during a hurried evening. These chops are also brined, so this recipe does require some advance preparation. Serve with sautéed sugar snap peas and mashed potatoes. Note: This recipe requires advance preparation.
4 (or more) center-cut pork chops, about 8 ounces each
2 tablespoons Cajun spice
Cracked black pepper
2 cups apple wood chips, soaked for 1 hour and drained
For the brine:
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup coarse kosher salt
2 tablespoons diced shallots
1 tablespoon minced garlic
2 teaspoons cayenne pepper sauce
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
3 bay leaves, crumbled
For the sauce:
2/3 cup half-and-half or light cream
2/3 cup chicken stock
3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 1/2 teaspoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon crushed rosemary
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
Prepare the brine: In a large stockpot over high heat bring 4 cups (1 quart) of water to a boil. Add the remaining brine ingredients and stir until the sugar and salt dissolves, about 3 minutes. Remove stockpot from the heat. Add two more quarts of cold water. (For faster cooling, add 2 1/2 trays of ice cubes and 1 quart of cold water. “Standard” ice cube trays, not the small cube trays, hold about 1 1/2 cups of water.) Stir. Cool to below 40 degrees F. before adding the pork chops.
Add the pork chops, cover and refrigerate 2 to 4 hours. Remove the chops from the brine and rinse under cold water. Pat the chops dry with paper towels. Season both sides of the chops with Cajun spice and black pepper.
Prepare the smoker and stabilize the temperature at 225 degrees F. at the cooking grate (not necessarily the same as the temperature reading at the dome thermometer). [For my Grill Dome ET with a full load of lump, it usually takes 30 to 40 minutes to get the temperature stabilized. Both the top damper and the bottom vent should be open about one-half an inch to maintain a 225 degrees F. temperature.] Add 2 cups of soaked and drained apple wood chips (or 2/3 cup apple wood pellets in an aluminum foil pouch with a few holes poked in it) to the coals.
When a good smoke develops, place the chops on the cooking grate, lower the cover and smoke-cook the chops about 1 to 1 1/2 hours or to an internal temperature of 155 degrees F. Remove chops from smoker, tent with aluminum foil and keep warm until service.
Prepare the sauce: Combine the ingredients in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Cook until the sauce is reduced by one-third, about 15 minutes.
Yield: 4 servings
Heat scale: Mild
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