Recipe fantasy to food reality.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Salty Chops

After having heard Alton Brown disparage the modern pork chop, I thought I would take his suggestion and brine a few of them before cooking and see what happened. I used the brine recipe he gave for his grilled stuffed pork chops, which I'm going to reproduce here, because I just don't think it's right:

2 cups cider vinegar
1 cup salt
1 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon peppercorns
1 tablespoon mustard powder
1 pound ice

The directions have you warm the vinegar, and then stir in the salt and brown sugar until dissolved, and then add the seasoning, and then cool the whole mixture with the ice. Now that I'm sitting down to write about it, I realize I completely forgot to add the sugar, but I'm not sure how I could have - I used more like 3/4 cup of salt, and I could not get it to go into solution until I started adding water to increase the volume of liquid. Even then, when I added the ice, salt started crashing back out of solution. Not only did it bring back traumatic memories of chemistry labs, but it nearly became one of those kitchen tantrums that occur when you're making something new and it's already long past dinner time. Maturity did win out, and I brined the chops for about an hour and fifteen minutes before pan-frying them according to another food network recipe, pork chops with mustard bourbon sauce. (Note: listen when they tell you to remove the fat from the pan - igniting the bourbon can turn into a grease fire if you don't. I only had a little fat left in my pan, and it was still rather scary.)

The chops turned out okay, but a saltier than I would like. Maybe the sugar would have cut down on the saltiness, but I guess I'll have to find out next time. Not an incredibly successful dinner, but I've done worse.

How much worse? I was preparing salmon burgers, and thought the whole thing would go a lot faster if I threw the ingredients (eggs, salmon, onions, garlic, breadcrumbs etc.) into the food processor. This did cut down on the prep time, but what came out of the processor was more like a batter than a burger - I'm thinking too much liquid came out of the onions when they were processed so thoroughly. I did try to pour some of it onto a pan, and the result can best be described as a salmon pancake.

We went out for chinese food that night, and now have a little perspective on our cooking flubs. The pork chops might have been too salty, but at least they weren't salmon pancakes.


At 5:20 PM, Blogger michelle said...

Ha Ha! I hate it when that happens! And I totally know what you mean about the sandwhich on Spanglish - I felt the same way!

At 1:23 PM, Anonymous bitekman said...

I've had salt trouble with AB and meat before. Maybe he just really likes chloride ions.


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