July 13, 2011
This past weekend, I was in a mood for something Indian, but I was also of a mind to do some grilling, given it was a nice summer day. So, I decided to do both. I could have done something fairly standard - tandoori-style chicken, for example - but I decided to do something a bit more different than that. I decided to grill some pork chops flavored with Indian spices.
I knew there was a recipe for Indian-Spiced Grilled Chops in The New Best Recipe, so I consulted that as a place to start. I liked the basics of their approach, but I ended up going with a somewhat different spice rub. Beyond that, that recipe called for brining the chops, but I didn't have time with that. I still needed some salt in the seasoning, though, so I used some kosher salt, which works well for grilling.
The chops turned out really nice. Perfectly cooked, with a deeply-browned, flavorful spice crust. Since I used bone-in chops with a fair bit of fat, they turned out nice and moist despite not being brined and spending a bit of time on the grill. I don't think they're exactly traditionally Indian, but they sure were good.
Indian-Spiced Grilled Pork Chops
yield = 4 servings
1 cup applewood chips (or 1 large chunk),
soaked for 1/2 hour or more
2 teaspoons fennel seed, ground
1 tablespoon ground cumin
2 teaspoons (packed) light brown sugar
2 teaspoons freshly-ground black pepper
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground mustard
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
4 inch-thick pork rib chops
Soak the wood chips, then fill and ignite a charcoal chimney.
Grind the fennel seed in a mortar or spice grinder. Add the ground fennel to a bowl along with the cumin, brown sugar, black pepper, cardamom, coriander, mustard, cinnamon, kosher salt, cayenne and cloves and stir to combine.
Dry the chops thoroughly with paper towels, then rub them thoroughly on all sides with the spice mix. Let sit at room temperature.
When the coals are ready, pour 3/4 of the coals onto one half of the grill and spread the remaining 1/4 over the remainder of the grill. Spread the wood chips atop the coals on the hotter side of the grill. Brush and oil the grill rack and close the grill, leaving the vents fully open. Allow the grill rack to heat for 5 minutes.
Place the chops on the hot side of the grill. Replace the lid, grill for 4 minutes, then turn the chops, cover and grill for another 4 minutes. Move the chops to the cooler side of the grill and cover with a disposable aluminum pan for about 5 minutes, then turn the chops, cover them with the aluminum pan and continue to grill until a meat thermometer reads 145 degrees when stuck into the chop near (but not touching) the bone.
Transfer the cooked chops to a serving platter and cover with the aluminum pan or with foil and let them rest for about 5 minutes, then serve immediately.