My son asked me to smoke some pork chops for he and his girl friend. My goal is to make them, or make them better, than you can buy them at a good German butcher shop. The way I've usually fixed them when I bought them was over a bed of sauerkraut and a little white wine in covered Dutch oven. Just heat everything in a moist environment so the chops don't dry out. I'd suggest that he take the chops to at least 145 I.T. before serving.
I've read through a bunch of posts about smoked pork chops but almost all of them are going from smoker to table. This would be smoker to fridge for a day or two and then oven to table. A couple of questions came to mind and I was hoping folks here might have some answers.
Do the butcher shops fully cook the chops, or are they cold smoked? If I was to hot smoke them, I'd probably pull them at 135 or so to make sure that they didn't get too dry. Or course, taking them to 145 would mean that he didn't necessary have to cook them, just heat them up. If I cold smoked them, I'd leave them in smoke for 2-3 hours on a cold day using my AMZTS and no heat in the MES-30. Wouldn't let the meat get past 60 degrees and then right back into the fridge. Any ideas as to what is best practice?
I was planning on brining them and using a small amount of cure #1. I mixed up the below to make Lox last week and only used about half of it since I made double the recipe. (BTW, the lox recipe http://www.smokingmeatforums.com/t/87043/making-lox-a-picture-guide came out great. )
1 cup - white sugar
1/2 cup - brown sugar
1 cup - Kosher salt
2 teaspoons - Cure #1
2 tablespoons - Montreal Steak Seasoning
I was going to dissolve 2 cups of the above in 1/2 gallon of water and brine the chops. My goal was to get moisture into the chops but not to get a real "hammy" flavor. Would this small amount of cure#1 have the desired effect of adding moisture and tenderness while not contributing too much flavor? I'm not adding the cure from a food safety point of view but more to get the moisture and tenderness.
If you don't want the ham flavor that cure can give, how about just using a normal brine without the cure? Any ideas on how the butcher shops turn out such great smoked pork chops?
Thanks in advance for your thoughts.