How to Talk to Your Meat: Peach Smoked Stuffed Pork Chops
Strolling the local grocer this afternoon, hands in my pockets, I seemed to have had what you might call a chance encounter with a lovely stand of pork chops. They were plentiful and magnificent, and the obvious spoor of a butcher in a good mood, for they were about one-and-one-quarters inch thick I should wager, iffin they weren’t more than that even. That and they were on sale too, a modicum of reasoning I’m sure my bride would approve. It was destiny in the meat aisle, or something there short of it. If pork chops could talk, these dudes beckoned heavily from their frigid wares, if but to yammer, “Please, take me oh pit keeper, and eat me henceforth! Make me all that I can be!” I cast a glance side-to-side, eyes darting about like a predatory cat – this on the off-chance I might need to fend off a little old lady heading for my spoils. But I was in luck, and no old ladies were in sight. I gazed upon the chops there and promptly croaked “Your mine!” Snatching up two of them like young Richard Simmons to a donut buffet. Its best I suppose not to let the locals there, nor the governing bodies see you talking to their meat, for it stirs up a mild controversy you could say. But if the conversation doesn’t draw out too long, you should be alright. Quietly pay for your plunder, then tuck it under your arm like an NFL fullback, tip your hat to the cashier, and make a good expression of haste.
I brought these beautiful chops home and immediately immersed them in a homemade honey garlic marinade. A brew of which has proven more that adept over the years at bringing out the better side of pork. Its real easy to make, and we’ve mentioned it here before, but who cares, here it is again!
Honey Garlic Marinade
3 tablespoons sugar
1/3 cup soy sauce
3 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons sesame oil
2 teaspoons garlic salt
1 teaspoon cracked pepper
After four long hours in the marinade, suppertime shadows fell across the pit area out back. The coals were already conspiring in the old chimney starter, weathered from the ages, belching forth that initial rush of smoke into the evening air. Plumes of it, curling, and rising into the thin blue sky. Signifying to yourself and who ever else is paying attention, that you are once again in your glory, doing precisely that which is well with your soul. And there is a giddiness in the air, electric almost, like the first day of summer vacation as a kid. It is a good day, but all days are I guess, to be a patron of the pit.
These beautiful, thick chops, I sliced a little pocket into them with a sharp knife before they hit the marinade. A strategy, it stands to reason, to get more of that delicious marinade into the heart of the meat. But also, to create a useful void in which to fill, nay, to pack to the gills with a heaping pile of home-made stuffing. Oh yes, cram it in there good, for this is your feast, your opus in meat. After they were packed tight with stuffing, and sort of held together with a some toothpicks, they were ready for the grill. So let’s get out there, where the metal meets the meat. And let us do what we were born to do. To put meat to flame, and declare that it is good!
The Stuffing is your basic Thanksgiving stuffing affair, consisting, well, of what we had handy.
3 cups of bread crumbs
1/2 onion, chopped and sauteed
1/4 cup of finely Chopped Italian Parsley
A little water or broth to bring it all together
Anyways, over in-direct heat as usual, carefully place your beloved and betrothed, pork chops that is, and listen to them sing and sizzle whence they merge onto that hot, fiery grate. Oh how we favor that sound. Tongs in my hands, I glance out over the pond, just in time, it turns out, to see the local Great Blue Heron gliding effortlessly on giant wings, and splashing down into the water there. Ripples radiate outwards across the pond, shimmering in the slanting shafts of a golden sun. I smile to myself, as I toss some peach wood chips, directly onto the coals, and carefully put the black-enameled lid on the old kettle grill. Say what you will, but this is living. And living well.
When the chops reached what I estimated to be mostly done, I got out the old black iron pan, and began putting together the home-made caramel apple sauce. Its pretty easy to do. Two apples diced as you desire, a few pats of butter and enough brown sugar to make it interesting. And do not forget a little cinamon too. Sizzle it all together in the pan over the coals, stirring frequently until apples are cooked, and tender. Perhaps splash a bit of your pit beverage in there too, just because. Nothing is quite so fine as standing over your old kettle grill, whilst the sun dips behind the houses to the West, and the song birds serenade thee from atop the fragrant Spruce. Stirring the apple sauce, the aroma of the chops, and smoldering peach wood, wafting up past your nasal front, and the sweet summer breezes caressing through the garden greens and pit-side Petunias. Glory be! Now why would you ever want to cook inside!
Around about when the applesauce was complete, so to were the pork chops which once wooed me so fiercely. They looked good. A lot better than they did in the butcher’s shanty. And I told them this. Told them that they looked mighty attractive now, and that they would be proud if they could see themselves. That if that quantum entanglement deal I once heard about on PBS, some how applied to pigs and their parts, that maybe the previous owners of these chops would be suitably flattered. No, I don’t expect you to follow that. Suffice it to say, however, these chops kicked pig butt, and they were good! Real good! Leastwise, that’s what I keep telling them. Tho I’m not sure why.
Honey Garlic Marinated, Peach Smoked, Stuffed Pork Chops with a Home-Made Caramel Apple Sauce. Good golly!
Grill on, Folks!