Hopefully, you have access to a good butcher. If you are truly fortunate, you have a butcher who also smokes his/her own meat. I am truly fortunate and found a smoking butcher, although it is a three-hour drive, it is worth every minute in the car. My husband and I make a day of it and enjoy the ride, catching up on all the conversations we didn’t quite finish and studying the Italian language. When we arrive at the market, happiness. Local smoked meats from a butcher you can talk to, fresh vegetables and fruits that were grown locally and organically, fresh-baked breads, pretzels and goodies for the kids and fresh seafood. It’s a great day.
So, back to our favorite butchers at Smokehouse Meats. This week I bought his smoked pork chops (which, by the way, I got to pick the thickness and watch as each chop was sliced precisely as requested). At the house, the chops were in the refrigerator for 2 hours before I started dinner. The smoke in the meat is so pervasive that when I opened the refrigerator door, the deep aroma of smoke wafted out into the kitchen and my husband’s eyes glazed over. We knew we made a good choice. Onto making the entrée. With no further delay, let’s get to the cooking. This dish can be made any night of the week or on short notice, because it requires so little effort for such great gastronomical reward! Tonight’s smoked chop was served with a mashed potato, mushroom gravy and sweet Brussels sprouts (also from the market).
4 smoked pork chops, 3/4″ cut
2 sprigs fresh rosemary (remove leaves from stem) or (1 Tbsp. dried), chopped
1/3 c. balsamic vinegar
4 Tbsp. unsalted butter
1 Tbsp. olive oil
Kosher salt and fresh cracked black pepper.(not pictured, but recommended)
Add 1/4 c. white wine
1 additional sprig rosemary, chopped
2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
1. Season the chops with salt, pepper and rosemary on both sides. Place on a plate and allow to rest at room temperature for 20 minutes. You don’t want to put cold chops in the pan.
2. Bring a non-stick or stainless saute pan to medium heat. Add oil and butter. When the oil/butter begins to bubble, add the balsamic. When the mix again begins to bubble, add your chops. Make sure the pan is large enough that the entire surface of the meat touches the pan. If necessary, do this in batches and place the cooked chops in the over at 250 degrees to stay warm. Cook for about 3 minutes on each side or until you achieve some caramelization. Keep warm in the oven.
3. Serve. See, I told you it was easy! If you want to go a little deeper, when you remove the chops from the pan, pour out any grease then deglaze it with a 1/4 cup white wine, then add another 2 tbsp. balsamic (or any flavored balsamic, I used a Cherry Bordeaux) and the extra chopped rosemary. When the vinegar and wine have reduced by 1/2 and become a little thick, add 2 tbsp. butter and swirl to make a nice glaze. Remove from heat until you are ready to use or it will become thick and burn.