|It's called "gravy" when you add meat to it|
Sometimes when she felt unappreciated or if one of us gave a less-than-ringing endorsement of that night's menu, she'd say things like, "Why don't you go have dinner at (your friend's) house. I hear Mrs. (So-and-so) is making waffles or tuna fish sandwiches." Equally accurate and insulting. If you want to know where I learned my sharp wit, there's your answer. (Dad had a good hand in that too.) Or maybe she'd just give us a blanket, "Not many mothers do what I do, you know."
|Mom, Christmas 1995. Getting dirty in the kitchen.|
Why did my mom insist on this? Why do I? Because it's important for us to have that time together. She knew it and I know it. We have a strict no-phone-at-the-table policy. If someone calls the house phone or one of our blackberries buzz, it's ignored until after dinner. This doesn't just go for Sunday. It's every night. And while I know things could change with Peanut starting Kindergarten in the fall, with her getting more involved in more activities during the week, we will still make a nightly family meal a priority. Just like my parents did.
|Sometimes my meals are so good, |
Peanut can't wait.
So in honor of #SundaySupper, and in recognition of my (and I'm sure your) lack of time to cook, I am going to pull the curtain away from another one of my expert grilling techniques once again. Here is how to grill thick-cut pork chops that are still on the bone, and make sure they're nice and charred on the outside while juicy on the inside. (Like I've showed you with pork tenderloin and grilled chicken breast before, it's not easy to learn, which is why I'm sharing my secret.)
|These look awesome because they are.|
- 2 large thick-sliced pork chops, on the bone, untrimmed.
- Marinade of your choice. (If I'm not using Caribbean Jerk, I like something Asian. Like Sesame Ginger.)
- You (And your undivided attention)
- Beer (optional)
- Marinate your pork chops. Sometimes I do use a dry marinade of salt, pepper, fresh garlic, shallots, and rosemary. However, I have learned that Peanut is more likely to eat and enjoy a non-chicken protein when I use a traditional marinade.
- Try to marinate them at least 1/2 hour before cooking. I like to do it 2-3 hours before. For the pork chops, if I don't want to waste a freezer bag, I pour some marinade in a Pyrex, place the chops in, and then pour some more on them.
- Fire up your grill to high. All burners.
- Once it's fully heated, place your pork chops on the grill. Leave the cover open and the heat on high. Cook for 5 minutes.
- Reduce heat to medium. Turn pock chops. Let cook for another 2-3 minutes, until there's the start of a decent char. Close lid.
- Don't walk away. Drink your (optional) beer and relax. You're cooking your family a delicious meal. You're entitled to a few minutes of peace while grilling.
- After another 4-5 minutes, open grill. Slosh those choppy chops around in the leftover marinade that's still in the Pyrex which you have expertly left on the side of your grill for just such an occasion. Return chops to grill on either side. Close grill.
- Don't walk away.
- After 2 minutes, reduce heat to low. Two minutes later, turn those puppies over. The outside should be sufficiently charred. Now you're essentially "baking" the inside on low heat until they're cooked through. Keep turning every 2-3 minutes so you get an even char.
- Now if you're wondering why the healthy-eating guy said "untrimmed" above, here's my secret: the fat will tell you when the inside is done. (Theoretically, so will a meat thermometer. But who the hell uses those after the first couple of times? They're more trouble than they're worth. And the batteries are probably dead.) Once the fat is black and crispy, chances are the insides are done. The fat also provides an extra bit of moisture so the cops don't dry up.
- Like I said, a traditional marinade will give it just enough sweetness to allow Peanut to enjoy.
- She also won't eat any meat that's dry, which is why I am now comfortable making these for dinner now that I know how to do them perfectly. (It's also why I no longer make London broil.)
- Quick is also Peanut-friendly, since we start bedtime around 7-7:15. Summer is great for throwing something on the grill, tossing together a salad, and making some quick couscous. (Yes. I admit I make my couscous from a box, but from a brand I trust.) I do try to grill all year long, weather permitting.