The perfect marriage: Pork chops and Jack Daniels
The whiskey glaze on a pork chop shouldn’t taste like a sweet barbecue sauce, said Sean Lawler in Cook’s Country. “But it shouldn’t burn your throat, either.” The pairing of mild pork with an earthy, smoky whiskey is a perfect marriage of flavors, but there are several ways to upset the balance. In experimenting with several approaches, I found that marinating the chops in bourbon overnight gave the meat “a sour, medicinal flavor.” Similarly, sautéing the chops in hot oil also backfired. After I added a shot of whiskey to the finished sauce, “the harsh taste of raw alcohol came through.” This version marries a marinade with a pan sauce. When making this recipe, remember to “break out the good stuff.” For a deep, caramel-flavored glaze, use Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey.
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Tennessee-Whiskey Pork Chops
Refrigerate the marinating chops in a shallow bowl in case the zipper-lock bag leaks. Watch the glaze closely during the last few minutes of cooking—the bubbles become very small as it approaches the right consistency.
1/2 cup Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey
or 1/2 cup bourbon
1/2cup apple cider 2 tbsp light brown sugar
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
4 tsp cider vinegar
4 bone-in, center-cut pork chops,
about 1-inch thick
2 tsp vegetable oil
Salt and pepper
1 tbsp unsalted butter
Whisk whiskey, cider, brown sugar, mustard, cayenne, vanilla, 2 tsp vinegar in medium bowl. Transfer ¼ cup whiskey mixture to gallon-size zipper-lock plastic bag, add pork chops, press air out of bag, seal. Turn bag to coat chops with marinade; refrigerate 1 to 2 hours. Reserve remaining whiskey mixture separately. Remove chops from bag, pat dry with paper towels, discard marinade. Heat oil in large skillet over medium-high heat until just beginning to smoke. Season chops with salt and pepper, cook until well browned on both sides and thickest part of a chop using paring knife yields still-pink meat 1/4 inch from surface, 3 to 4 minutes per side. Transfer chops to plate and cover tightly with foil. Add reserved whiskey mixture to skillet, bring to boil, scraping up browned bits with wooden spoon. Cook until reduced to thick glaze, 3 to 5 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low and, holding on to chops, tip plate to add any accumulated juices back to skillet. Add remaining 2 tsp vinegar, whisk in butter, simmer glaze until thick and sticky, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove pan from heat. Return chops to skillet, let rest in pan until sauce clings to chops, turning chops occasionally to coat both sides and thickest part of a chop using paring knife shows completely cooked meat (145 degrees on instant-read thermometer). Transfer chops to platter, spoon sauce over. Serves 4.
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