Moonlight Pork Sonata: Maple Glazed Pork Chops
So I was out at the pit the other night, raking about a bed of orange-glowing coals and smoldering embers. Well the word “night” isn’t quite the choice word I guess, when it’s only five in the afternoon. But what in the heck else was I supposed to call it, when the stars were already out, and the old Weber kettle is silently straddled its own moon shadow. Might as well have been the dark of night. All of that at five PM and two degrees below freezing too, is what you get in Minnesota come November. But like an ugly puppy or something, we love it anyway.
I flipped the old cooking grate over the coals, almost burned through from years of patio service, and scrubbed it down with a wire brush. Moonbeams dropped through the snow-tinted spruce trees whilst I plopped a handsome chunk of apple wood, through the access panel on the grate, directly onto the coals. It quickly caught flame, as I slipped on the old, enameled lid, and the aromatic pleasure of apple wood smoke soon filled the patio. To round off the ambiance, I clicked on the pit radio, and old Beethoven was doing his thing again. His ridiculously famous Moonlight Sonata, which at the time, seemed poetically apt, this night, under the shimmering stars and pale-blue moon wash. It relaxed me at once, patron to the pit, and soon two, portly pork chops met their destiny over the coals. And whilst the meat sizzled over the pit’s fiery bosom, I could feel my foot dutifully slide off the accelerator pedal of life, as the tendrils of wood smoke curled, and the soft music ascended into the night.
Let me tell you a little more about these chops. These particular ones came pre-smoked straight from the ranch we buy them from. They smelled fabulous right out of the sack, which, when you think about it, maybe ain’t a half-bad compliment for a pig. Anyways, even tho they were already smoked, of course we would smoke them again, because that is what we do, and amp up the flavor ten-fold, using apple wood. Before they hit the grate, however, I dusted them over in liberal fashion with one of our pit favorites, Famous Dave’s Rib Rub. That stuff works on everything. And it excels on pork chops.
Whilst the chops came along opposite the hot coals, and under the soft light of the kerosene lamp, I whipped together a batch of maple glaze for to bring our culinary end game to a proper and most agreeable dismount. Like an Olympic gymnast flipping through the air in one of them triple-whirly-toed-double-tucked-front-hand spring deals, it doesn’t garner the mojo if they don’t last stick the landing. This glaze, needless to say, stuck it like a lawn dart.
In a sauce pan over the coals, mix up the following:
- 3/4 Cup Maple Syrup
- 1 Teaspoon Mustard
- Pinch of Salt
- Pinch of Pepper
- Pinch of Garlic Powder
- 1/2 Cup finely diced apple (optional)
When the chops were of edible quality, I lovingly varnished them over with a fair coating of the maple glaze. Bits of apple clinging here and there, and after a fashion of in-direct cooking, the sugars caramelize some, as they ought to, wrought in smoke, and bathed in heat. The flavors, the time and the effort all come together now in one, last, glorious song that would leave Beethoven himself, verklempt. Is that your stomach I hear, bellowing? Plate up this succulent end game, your Sonata in Pork, and offer it unto your people, for you have done a good thing here indeed, amid the wispy plumes of wood smoke and the pale-blue moonbeams which tarried there. Amen.