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September 2009

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Apple Cider Brined Pork Loin Chops Topped with a Smoky Apple Compote

Apple Cider Brined Pork Loin Chops

I love a big ole juicy pork chop.  But to make my pork chop a “big ole juicy” pork chop, I brine it.

I think pork chops taste best when brined. Not to say you have to brine your pork chops every time you prepare them.  But it does create that juicy moist texture.  In the words of one of my favorite chef’s, brining pork “kicks it up a notch”!

I’m sure you’ve read by now how important sauces and assorted toppings are to the Bennett Crew.  Well this didn’t disappoint.  The smokey apple compote is the perfect topping for these darn good pork chops. Yep… brine, grill and top.  I think that should be my new motto.

Apple Cider Brined Pork Loin Chops Topped with a Smokey Apple Compote

Adapted from multiple sources

For the Brine:

4-6 Pork Loin Chops, bone in

3 Cups Apple Cider

2 – 12oz beers, preferably dark beer

½ Cup Kosher salt

½ Cup sugar

1 tablespoon Chipotle Powder

Mix together the cider, beer, salt, sugar, and chipotle powder.  Put the pork in a large Ziploc bag and pour the brine over the pork.  Close the bag and place in a baking dish in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours or overnight.

When ready to prepare, pre-heat the grill to 400F.  Place the loin chops on a cutting board or platter and dab with a paper towel.  Brush with olive oil and sprinkle just a little dusting of salt and pepper on one side of each chop.  Grill on Medium to low heat, careful to not burn the pork.  The pork loin chop will be done when the internal temperature reaches 145F, about 5-6 minutes each side depending on thickness.

Once the pork is done, place them on a platter and top the Smoky Apple Compote.  This is also delicious served with roasted potatoes and sweet potatoes or a wild and brown rice prepared with equal parts apple cider and chicken broth.

Smokey Apple Compote

2 Granny Smith Apples, peeled, cored and chopped

1 tablespoon honey

½ teaspoon chipotle powder

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 cup Apple cider

Place the apples, honey, chipotle powder, cinnamon and apple cider in a small pot.  Let the apple mixture reach a slow boil and then turn the heat to a simmer.  Reduce the mixture by half or until the consistency has thickened a bit.  The apples should still be a bit formed and not too mushy.

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Grilled Wisconsin Style Brats

I adore a good Brats, especially on a sunny weekend afternoon.  One of the best methods for cooking brats is simmering in a beer, onion and garlic mixture prior to grilling.  There are many different recipes using this method, however, this particular recipe came from a friend of mine who grew up grilling this Mid-West favorite.   Although I’ve used several different brands of brats, I’ve come to prefer the taste of one of America’s finest and most familar brands, Johnsonville. 

So the next sunny weekend, break out the brats and celebrate the days of summer!

The Best Grilled Brats                                       101_5262

6-8 Brats

1 yellow onion sliced

10 cloves garlic, crushed

Olive oil

36 oz dark beer (or my personal favorite Heineken)

Buns (Large Stadium Buns are best)


Pickle relish

Deli Mustard

In a large skillet, heat a few tablespoons of olive oil on medium high heat.  Add the sliced onions and sauté for about 8 minutes or until the onions are translucent.  Next, add the garlic and sauté for a few minutes more. 

Add the beer and let it come to a slow boil.  Once the beer and onion mixture have reached a slow boil, add the brats.  Turn the heat down to simmer, and let the brats cook for about 8-10 minutes. 

While the brats are simmering in the beer, preheat your grill.  When the brats are ready, grill on medium heat until nicely browned and cooked through, about 5 minutes. 

Place the grilled brats back into the beer and onion mixture and let them soak on simmering heat for another 5 minutes.  Serve the brats on a platter with some of the sautéed onions and garlic.  Serve with sauerkraut, pickle relish, deli mustard, and large sturdy stadium buns.