The other day I was in Williams-Sonoma to redeem a gift card we got for our wedding not too long ago. I had my eyes on a tagine for some time and wanted to do a Chicken Tagine with Chickpeas, Olives and Preserved Lemon that I had in my head as I had recently made some Moroccan Preserved Lemons and wanted to put them to tasty good use. So, I finally picked it up and then my eyes came across outdoor cooking guru Fred Thompsom’s book Williams-Sonoma Grill Master. I flipped through it quickly to read a few passages and looked at the pictures. Who doesn’t love a good image of pork chops on the grill?
His three Golden Rules when it came to grilling pork chops were to Go Thick, Not Thin, Brine and Watch the Heat. The first and last I got, but have just recently been getting into brining. It does help keep the moisture of the meat there, even if you over cook just a little, it allows a little wiggle room. Plus you get the added benefit of getting some deep marinated flavors.
I wanted to do a anise seed flavored brine. With the addition of star anise, some bay leaves and peppercorns I was excited to eat the results. The Anise Brined Pork Loin Chops came out beautifully and with a little mint jelly on top of the beautifully grill marked pork loin chops, it made for a great presentation. Dave grilled up some asparagus and we made some Crushed and Crunchy Red Potatoes as sides, too.
Anise Brined Pork Loin Chops
- 2 - 3/4 " thick pork loin chops
- 2 tbsp butter melted
- 3 cups of water
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup kosher salt
- 1/4 cup toasted anise seeds
- 1 star anise
- 1 tbsp peppercorns
- 2 fresh bay leaves
- 1 lemon juiced
- Freshly ground black pepper
- To make the brine I combined in a large plastic container the water, lemon juice, sugar, kosher salt, star anise, toasted anise seeds, bay leaves and peppercorns. Stir until the sugar and salt dissolve.
- Place the pork chops in the brine. Seal the container and refrigerate overnight.
- Remove the pork chops from the refrigerator at least 30 minutes before you plan to begin grilling to bring to room temperature. Discard the brine, rinse the chops briefly in cold water and pat dry with paper towels.
- Melt the butter and coat the dried chops. Season with cracked pepper.
- Preheat grill to 400°.
- Brush and oil the grill grates, place the pork chops on the grill over the direct-heat area and sear, turning once, until nicely grill-marked on both sides, 2 to 3 minutes per side.
- Drop temp to 350° and cook until the pork chops are somewhat firm to the touch about 15 minutes more for medium. Transfer the chops to a platter and let rest for 10 minutes.