Dangit, I just can't stop myself! I had a big pack of chops thawing in the fridge for a couple days, and didn't get 'em smoked on my last day off. Of course, I had chops on the brain for the past 2 afternoons of work, and tonight, I was home early enough after work to make something good happen, so, let's do it!!!
I wrote this one up lastnight while I was wishfully thinking of cooking them...now, it's time to make it happen.
This is a 2-part process, as I had little time for cooling and properly chilling the spice solution after heating, so I opted for a quicker method of cooling the solution with ice.
ZESTY LEMON / ORANGE MARINATED CHOPS
***for 6.75lbs assorted pork chops***
Zest of 1 lemon
Zest of 1 large naval orange
3 cups water
1 Tbls ground garlic
1 Tbls fresh ground black peppercorn
1 Tbls dried rosemary leaves
1/2 Tbls paprika
1 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1 Tbls salt
Combine zest with all dry ingredients and water. Heat to simmer in saucepan and remove from heat.
6 Tbls light brown sugar
Same lemon from above, peeled
Same orange from above, peeled
6 cups cubed ice
2 cups cold water
Add peeled lemon and orange chunks into blender or food processor with 1 cup ice cubes at a time until all ice is crushed.
Add cooling spice solution to blended and mix. Pour into large bowl or tall food container and add additional ice
and water to make at least 2.5 quarts.
Add chops, cover and refrigerate for 2-3 hours, stirring solution/chops every 30 minutes to aid in food contact
***Note: sugar was added to the juices only for the purpose of avoiding the possibility of any carmelization while heating the spice solution, as I was in a rather "heated" rush to get this started. It could be added to the spices instead, if slower heating were accomplished, but with only 3 cups water, it could get a syrup consistency going if not attended to closely. So, it's probably best this way afterall.
Blending is done...nice and cold, with condensation on the glass:
2 hours into the marinating:
2.5 hours marinating...I yanked 'em out, no rinse, dusted with fine ground black pepper and salt:
4 charoal briquettes and 2 pinky finger-size chunks of apple for cold smoke:
All set to go:
They sat in the smoke for 25 minutes by the time the briquettes were almost ready...just about to hit the platter here:
These were nice and juicy...none were well done, mostly med/well:
I don't do alot of marinating and I mostly dry rub or brine/dry rub my pork...this was an interesting marinade. Very mild all the way through, with hints of the tartness of citrus, a bit of spicy-sweet, with a very subtle background from the garlic...almost null. Very light smoke flavor, with the majority of the external flavoring during cooking from the charcoal fire. A surprisingly nice pairing, I thought.
I think in the future, I'd kick up the citrus volume about 50-100%, and maybe a bit more rosemary. Other than that...well, hold on a second...maybe just reduce the water used in the entire mix so all of it is a bit more intense...ah heck, it is pretty good as is, though. If I'd had enough time to let it ride in the marinade for about 4 hours, it would have made a big difference in the overall flavor as well.
Man, my wife asked if it was another masterpiece before she tasted it...then, said it was really good. Our house guest loved 'em...said they were the best chops he's had in a long time. The kids just snarffed 'em up like they always do with grilled or smoked meats. One of my boys said that the butchering of the pig for this meal was a worthwhile cause...I guess that means it was a hit. Yea, we'll do this one again sometime.
Well, it was too good to not share it with all my friends here, so there ya go...enjoy!
Ah, my bellys full and happy...mmm-mmm-mmm.
Edited by forluvofsmoke - 7/20/11 at 8:22pm