I remember clearly the first time I had a Daddy George pork chop. Barely in Junior High, I was invited for lunch at my brother-in-law’s parents George and Lorena Sparkman. For me it was a remarkable experience, and I can still savor the taste memory today.
Using a barrel water smoker and charcoal, Cavender’s Greek Seasoning (which I still use!), and the thickest pork chops I had ever seen, Daddy George was able to coax the most amazing flavor I had ever tasted from a pig. The combination of charcoal smoke and the oregano from the seasoning with a perfectly cooked (read: medium) pork chop changed my approach to cooking pork. Up until this point in my life I had only tasted thin “breakfast chops” that were intentionally over cooked.
To this day whenever I smell the aroma of these pork chops on the grill – I think of Daddy George. He might have been a World War II veteran and State Commander of the Texas VFW, high ranking Mason, bingo caller, car salesman, and wonderful human being – but he was a master of the pork chop.
So to get this recipe right you have to follow some basic direction from Daddy George. You have to buy thick-cut pork chops. Many meat markets will look at you funny but insist on having them at least one inch thick and 1 1/4 inch is probably better. And, buy local. For me it is Dutchman’s in Fredericksburg, but regardless find a butcher that you know and have them cut them for you to order. Also, ask them for pork chops that look like “mini” T-bones – you will thank me later. The loin chops that look so inviting in the meat counter lack the tenderloin that is perfect on the grill.
I’m not sure if Daddy George brined his pork chops but I’m betting that he did not. And, frankly I don’t blame him. Brining is amazing on pork (and essential on turkey), but I rarely have the space in the fridge or want to deal with the mess. This recipe calls for a “dry brine” and I think you will find it worth doing.
You have to season them with a Greek seasoning. I really like this flavor combination and actually make my own to save money, but you can easily find Cavender’s at your local grocery store. That is what Daddy George used so you won’t go wrong.
And finally you have to grill them over charcoal. I typically blog quite a bit about live fire cooking, and although I’m sure you can cook these pork chops over oak coals, the flavor is just amazing over charcoal. I use a Hasty-Bake Charcoal Grill from Oklahoma (I have three of them thanks to my good friend and star chef John McClung) and they are by far the best charcoal grill ever made. Just make sure you use hard wood charcoal and you will capture the right flavor combination to match Daddy George.
I’ve added a few twists on the basic recipe so I can call it my own, but you could frankly stop here. Daddy George nailed it. I think pork benefits on the grill from a mop sauce that can enhance and speed up the caramelization of the surface while the middle gets correctly cooked — so here I use one that contains schmaltz. I cook over direct heat rather than a water smoker so having the extra fat helps in preventing the chops from getting dry. Also, I think your friends will like the peppery bite of a persillade added as a garnish before serving. This very simple combination of garlic and parsley adds a bit of herbal fire to the fattiness of the pork.
Have fun with this recipe and I know you will really enjoy it. I hope you develop your own taste memories.
6 pork chops, T-bone cut, at least 1″ thick
3 tbs kosher salt
1 tbs Greek seasoning, see link for recipe above or use Cavender’s Greek Seasoning
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup schmaltz, see note below
1 tbs sorghum
1 tbs apple cider vinegar
1 tsp Dan’s House Spicy Rub, or use your favorite seasoning rub
2 cloves of garlic, mashed and minced
1/3 cup parsley, minced
At least 8 hours and up to 24 hours before, mix the salt, Greek seasoning, and black pepper together and apply evenly to the entire surface of the pork chops. Place them uncovered on a wire rack in the refrigerator to dry brine and have the surface become slightly dry.
Prepare a grill with hardwood charcoal. Remove the pork chops from the refrigerator and allow them to sit at room temperature for one hour. Mix the schmaltz, sorghum, apple cider vinegar, and spicy rub and place in a cast iron pot on the grill to warm for the mop.
Grill the pork chops over direct heat and apply the mop every time you turn them. Watch
carefully and use an instant read thermometer for best results. Take them off when the internal temperature reads 150F degrees. They will continue to cook as you let them rest for at least 15 minutes.
While the pork chops are cooking, mince together the garlic and parsley and then sprinkle the fresh mixture over the chops before serving.
Note: Schmaltz is the rendered fat of a chicken and can be bought at some local grocery stores although I usually just save it from defatting chicken stock.
#porkchops #drybrine #greek #charcoal #hastybake