Grilled Double-Cut Pork Chop and Braised Cabbage
- 1 double-cut Berkshire pork chop, tied with the fat cap left on
- canola oil for brushing
- coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 6 thick strips smoked bacon, chopped
- 1/2 large onion, sliced
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 Fuji apple, peeled and sliced
- 4 cups sliced cabbage
- one 12-oz bottle Unibroue Ephemere (or wheat beer)
- 2 pinches fresh thyme leaves
- maple syrup for brushing
My dad grilled outside year-round-weather didn't matter. There could be snow on the ground, and he still wouldn't pull anything off the fire until there was charring on the edges. Crusty black charring isn't just a look, it's a smell-a smell that means grilling to me. You can get that charring without sacrificing moistness by grilling a double-cut chop (rather than two single chops), a dish that'll keep you warm till spring. Ask your butcher for a double-cut Berkshire pork chop tied with the fat cap left on.
Adjust the grill so it's about 3 inches from the heat source and get the coals white-hot. Brush the meat with canola oil, season with salt and pepper, and sear over the hottest coals until browned on both sides. Ideally, you'll turn it only once -- so, say, 5 minutes per side.
Place a heavy enamel pot over medium-hot coals, off to the side. While the meat sears, render the bacon in the pot for about 3 minutes. Add the onion, a pinch of salt and pepper, and the bay leaf. Stir once or twice and cook until the onion softens but doesn't color, about 5 minutes. Add the apple and cook until soft, about 2 minutes. Add the cabbage and stir well to coat. Add the Ephemere (a Canadian ale made with apple) or wheat beer such as Hoegaarden, thyme leaves, and more salt and pepper, and cover.
Move the chop to indirect heat and close the grill lid, creating an oven. After 15 minutes, open the lid, brush both sides of the chop with maple syrup, uncover the pot (so the ale can evaporate), and close the lid, continuing to cook until the chop is cooked through with a slight edge of pink, about another 15 minutes. (A meat thermometer should read 140degrees to 145degreesF.) With a total of 40 to 45 minutes cooking time, plus the browning action of the sugary syrup, the meat will get a little crusty. But that's good. You want a little love on the edges.