Primo (XL Oval) Perfect Pork Chops

11 Dec

Every Friday afternoon, I get an email from the fine folks at Weber-Stephens Products ( featuring a Recipe of the Week. The Recipe of the Week is usually for a wonderful looking, large, tasty hunk of meat. I like that. A few weeks ago, the Recipe of the Week was for Brined Pork Chops with Balsamic Glaze and Grilled Yukon Gold Potatoes. When I was deciding what to cook for the return of Dynamic Daughter #1 from Auburn for Christmas break, I stumbled across the recipe. The recipe struck a chord since I had just purchased some really nice, thick, deeply-colored boneless pork loin chops from the local Sam’s. These chops averaged about 9 ounces each and I had been wanting to cook a couple. I also had some maple-bourbon glaze left from last week’s glazed sweet potato cook and some Yukon Gold potatoes from a shopping trip earlier in the week. So, with the menu selected, I set about to get the ingredients ready.

I thawed the pork chops and whipped up a brine of a quart of water and just shy of a quarter cup of salt (Thank you Michael Ruhlman for your excellent Ratio application for the Android), and then poured in about a quarter cup of the maple-syrup/bourbon mixture. The pork chops brined for about 5 hours before I took them out of the brine, dried them off and seasoned them with salt and pepper. Meanwhile, I cut the Yukon Gold potatoes into slices about a half-inch thick and thought about the cooker.

I decided that since it was the weekend, charcoal was the fuel of choice and since I was going to be cooking vegetables and meat together, I needed a big grill. That meant either the Weber Performer or the Primo XL Oval. Since I had just cooked on the Performer a couple of nights ago, and since I had some new accessories for the Primo, I decided to go with the Primo XL Oval.

I slipped the firebox divider into the Primo because I wanted to have one side of the Primo running at high heat and one at medium to medium high heat. The firebox divider let me fill one side of the firebox about 3/4 of the way with Redneck Lump and the other to about 1/3 of the way so it would be run a bit cooler. I lit the charcoal with my propane burner and put the grill grate over the hotter side of the grill on “low” and the grate over the cooler side of the cooker on “high” and went to tend to the potatoes.

I brought the salted water to a boil and then added the potato slices. I let them cook for about 8 minutes, then drained them into a colander and shocked them with cold water so they wouldn’t continue to cook. After draining the potatoes, I poured in some olive oil and seasoned the potatoes with salt, pepper and rosemary.

I carefully balanced the pork chops, potatoes, the remaining maple syrup & bourbon glaze, tongs, silicon brush and an Old Forester’s Signature Bourbon “whiskey drink” and headed outside to the Primo. The grill was running about 450 degrees at the  the dome – perfect. I put the pork chops over the hot side of the grill, closed the lid and took a sip of the Old Forester. After about 5 minutes, I turned the chops and added the potatoes to the cooler side of the grill, then brushed the chops with the glaze, and took another sip of Old Forester. Did I mention that the Old Forester seemed to go particularly well with this recipe?

After about 10 minutes total, the chops were reading about 110 on my Thermapen so I did a switcheroo and moved the chops to the cooler side of the grill, hit them with the glaze, hit myself with the Old Forester and moved the potatoes to the hotter size of the grill to finish. After about 14 minutes total, the chops were looking nice and browned, the internal temperature was pushing 145 and the potatoes were showing nice grill marks and char around the edges. I had been heating my platters on the top of my Genesis gasser so I moved the chops to the heated platter and gave them a few minutes to rest while I pulled the potatoes and tidied up my cooking area. By now the Old Forester was running a little low.

While I had been cooking, Dynamic Daughter #1 had arrived from Auburn and the World’s Most Wonderful Wife had made a big salad, so we were set for dinner.  After one bite, Melanie announced, “YUM! This is tasty!” and Missy followed with “these potatoes are good!” Done! I was happy.

But how were the pork chops? They were very, very good. The combination of the brine, the glaze and the sear on the Primo resulted in moist, tender and tasty pork chops and finishing them on the cooler side of the grill left them cooked uniformly throughout, with just the slightest hint of pink color (as it should have been). The potatoes were a great accompaniment to the chops and the salad (with Ken’s Lite Thousand Island dressing) rounded out a wonderfully satisfying meal that was fun to prepare on the Primo, and which was made more special because Melanie is home…..


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