‘Cue June. The days are getting gloriously longer, things that grow are getting riper, Fathers are waiting to get pampered, July and August will soon follow and it’s time to get the heck out of the kitchen and into the backyard to play with a little fire. BARBECUE!!
The rebel cry rises up and echoes through the valley, “Put a cork in it! Your Shiraz that is.”
“What?!” say all you devout wine enthusiasts. Really though, you have to admit that most often nothing goes better with barbecued goodies than a tall, cold, frothy one. Right?
Summer, grilling and beer. Kismet!
What makes it ultimately more fun these days is that there are so many delicious choices when it comes to beer. Mouthwatering dilemmas indeed. From hoppy pale ambers to toasty golden, red brews to deep, dark delicious, peppery stouts and porters. Not only are these diverse flavours perfect for sipping while you’re ‘cueing, they can add layers of delectable flavors to your grill recipes.
The burning question of the day, “what should we make?” I know, I know………Beer Brined Grilled Pork Chops. Now we’re talkin’!
"What’s brining?", you ask. It’s an age old trick that chefs and those in the know use to keep meat and poultry perfectly juicy, flavourful and succulent. Bravo, that’s definitely what we want our chops to be. Take my word for it, once you brine, you’ll never look back.
We’re not going to get complicated here, grilling is about letting the flavours heat up and speak for themselves. Barbecues are all about fun. So get outside, fire it up, get that grill smoke rising up into the tall Okanagan skies and indulge in as much scrumptious backyard bliss as you can because Labour Day rolls around way too quickly. And don’t forget just play it by beer. Cheers!
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BEER BRINED PORK CHOPS with Fiery Apple Sauce
Big, aromatic flavours from the inside out and incredibly tender, juicy chops. Best served with frosty mugs of your favorite Honey Beer; like Killer Bee Dark Honey Ale, Shaftsbury Easy Honey Pale Ale, Rickard’s Honey Brown, Granville Island Cypress Honey Lager, or, or, or…….
2 cups of water
2 cups dark lager or ale
¼ cup coarse sea salt, or Kosher salt
3 green onions, chopped into about 2-inch lengths
¼ cup dark brown sugar
3 tablespoons molasses
2 teaspoons Sambal Oelek, or other Asian chile paste
6, 1 ¼ -inch bone-in centre-cut loin chops
6 Granny Smith, Honeycrisp, Fuji or your favorite apple – peeled, cored and chopped
1 cup water
¼ cup dark brown sugar
2 tablespoons fresh squeezed lemon juice
1 – 2 teaspoons Sambal Oelek or other Asian chile paste (how fiery do you want it?)
6 plump garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon brown sugar
Combine 2 cups water, dark lager or ale, salt, green onions, ¼ cup dark brown sugar, molasses and 2 teaspoons Asian chile paste in large resealable bag. Seal bag and mix, mix, mix until sugar and salt pretty much dissolve. Add chops to bag, reseal. Let chops laze in all that flavour for at least 4 hours and up to 8 hours, in the fridge.
Make applesauce by combining chopped apples, 1 cup water, ¼ cup dark brown sugar and lemon juice in a pot over medium heat. Bring to a boil. Turn down the heat so the apples simmer and cook, stirring occasionally for about 10 minutes. Cover and cook another 7-10 minutes. You want the water to evaporate and the apples to become a thick, chunky sauce. Remove from heat and stir in 1-2 teaspoons Asian chile paste. Set aside.
Preheat BBQ to medium-high. Remove chops from brine and pat dry with paper towels. Combine minced garlic, black pepper, olive oil and 1 teaspoon brown sugar. Rub spice mixture on both sides of chops. Grill pork chops, covered, turning once, until meat is done to tender, juicy perfection, but ever so slightly pink in the middle, about 10 minutes per side (145F–150F on an instant-read thermometer). Transfer chops to platter, tent with foil and let rest for 5 minutes. Serve with warm, fiery applesauce. Raise your frosty mugs high, "Here's to Summer in the Okanagan. Cheers!"