Fall is the perfect time for grilling. In the Southwest, the evenings are getting cooler. In the rest of the country that means sweater weather. In Arizona, it means 80 degrees. Pork is one meat that lends itself well to outdoor grilling. Its somewhat delicate taste allows the use of brines, marinades, and sauces to enhance the flavor. This recipe is one of my favorites. It incorporates the flavors of fall in a unique way. Enjoy!
Fall Flavor Stuffed Grilled Pork Chops
2 cups apple cider vinegar
1 1/2 qts. water
1/4 cup Kosher salt
1/4 cup sugar
1 piece cinnamon stick
4 - 1 1/2 inch-thick bone-in pork chops
Mix ingredients, stirring until salt and sugar are thoroughly dissolved. Take chops and add to brining liquid. Refrigerate for at least one hour. remove chops and pat dry
4 brined chops, patted dry.
4 slices Fontina cheese
4 thick slices apple wood smoked bacon
1 cup chopped raw spinach
4 wooden toothpicks or skewers
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
Bring grill to medium-high heat. Place bacon strips on grill and cook until almost done, turning when necessary. Allow to cool.
Alternative method - Place bacon strips on same foil-lined baking pan as sweet potatoes. Remove after 15 minutes and set aside.
Slit a pocket in the side of the chops. Add a slice of cheese, a slice of bacon, and 1 tablespoon of chopped spinach. Seal with toothpick or skewer, trying to close pocket well to prevent cheese from running out during grilling. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Grill on medium-high heat about 6 minutes per side, turning 1/4 turn after 3 minutes per side.
Grilled Sweet Potato Cakes
4 medium sweet potatoes
4 pats butter
1 tsp. dried thyme
1/8 tsp. cinnamon
S/P to taste
Bake in 400 degree oven for 45-55 minutes. Check doneness by inserting a toothpick. Should go in easily.
Scoop out meat, chop, add thyme, cinnamon, salt and pepper, and form into 4 round patties.
Place on medium-high heat grill. (Can be grilled with chops) Grill 2 minutes and turn. Add pat of butter to grilled side.
Serve with chops.
Cranberry-Mandarin Orange Salsa
1/2 cup dried cranberries, chopped
1 cup Mandarin oranges, small diced
2 tablespoons chopped white onion
1 tsp chopped jalapeno
1 tablespoon lime juice
1 tablespoon Mandarin orange juice
1/2 tsp dried thyme
S/P to taste
Mix all ingredients. Allow to sit 1/2 hour for flavors to marry. Serve over grilled stuffed pork chops.