Grilled Country Pork Chops with Grilled Peaches
Grilling gives peaches and other stone fruits a flavor boost, bringing their natural sugar to the fore. Use freestone peaches so that you can easily twist the halves off the pit. Baste them with butter, honey, and bourbon as they grill to give them a sheen, then serve with a juicy pork chop, brined for a full day to season it all the way through.
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For the brine:
- 1 ½ quarts water
- 6 tablespoons kosher or sea salt
- 1 teaspoon coarsely cracked black pepper
- Handful of thyme sprigs
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed with the side of a chef’s knife
For the pork:
- 4 bone-in pork loin chops, about ¾-inch thick
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons bourbon
- 2 teaspoons honey
- 2 large freestone peaches (such as O’Henry or Elberta), halved and pitted
For the brine:
In a medium saucepan, combine all the ingredients. Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring to dissolve the salt. Set aside until completely cool.
For the pork:
Put the pork chops in a container that holds them snugly in a single layer. Add the brine, which should cover them. Cover with plastic wrap. Alternatively, you can put the pork and its brine in a 1-gallon heavy-duty resealable food storage bag. Refrigerate for 24 hours.
About 1 hour before cooking, remove the pork chops from the brine and set them on a wire cooling rack at room temperature to dry.
Prepare a moderate charcoal fire for indirect grilling or preheat a gas grill to medium (375 degrees), leaving one burner unlit.
Combine the butter, bourbon, and honey in a small saucepan. Set over moderately low heat, stirring until the butter melts and the honey dissolves. Keep warm.
Pat the pork chops with paper towels to remove any remaining surface moisture. Set the chops directly over the coals or gas flame and brown on both sides, turning once, for about 3 minutes per side. Transfer to indirect heat, cover the grill, and cook until the chops offer some resistance to the touch but are still springy, not firm, about 4 minutes longer. If you are unsure of doneness, measure the internal temperature with an instant-read thermometer, inserting it horizontally into a chop; it should register about 150 degrees for medium.
Once you have moved the pork chops to indirect heat, you can grill the peaches. Brush them all over with the butter-honey mixture and place, cut side down, directly over the coals or gas flame. Cook until they are nicely charred, then turn, baste again, and cook just until they are tender and juicy. The pork chops and peaches should be done at roughly the same time, but if not, move whichever is done first to a cooler area of the grill to wait. Serve each pork chop with a grilled peach half alongside.