Grilled Brined Pork Chops With Radish Cream

Radishes often take a backseat to more versatile vegetables, ending up as just another salad ingredient or in the occasional stir-fry. But I think this beautiful, peppery, slightly pungent vegetable deserves a little more attention-especially when the garden is teeming with them.

Here, I paired the sharp flavor of the radishes with tangy sour cream, tart lemon juice, and a little honey to sweeten it all up. While the pinkish color of the finished dish may look a bit unusual on the plate, any radish fan will love the taste.

About brining: You don’t have to brine the chops before grilling them, but it’s an easy, hands-off preparation that results in some of the juiciest, most tender meat you’ll ever eat. High-temperature grilling can dry out most meat, but a few hours in a salty brine bath helps keep it moist throughout the cooking process.

For this recipe, I added allspice berries, coriander, and peppercorns to the brine. Other common brining ingredients include bay leaves and fresh herb sprigs. But you can use only salt and sugar, if you choose-the tenderization will be the same.

Serves 4

Ingredients

For the Pork Chops

  • 1/3 cup salt
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 6 allspice berries
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp black peppercorns
  • 1/2 tsp pink peppercorns
  • 5 cups water
  • 4 center-cut, bone-in pork chops, about 3/4-inch thick
  • olive oil, for rubbing
  • sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper

For the Radish Cream

  • 1/2 cup finely chopped radishes
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp water
  • sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper

Preparation

For the Pork Chops

  1. Place the first 6 ingredients (through pink peppercorns) in a large, deep bowl. Stir in 5 cups of water, continuing to stir until the salt and sugar are completely dissolved. Place the chops in the brine, submerging completely. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 6 hours (or up to 12).
  2. Light a grill for medium heat. Remove the chops from the brine and pat dry, rubbing off any spices clinging to the meat. Rub both sides with oil and season with salt and pepper (not much salt, since the brine will have penetrated the pork).
  3. Grill, turning 2 or 3 times, until slightly charred outside and juicy, tender inside, 12-15 minutes total, depending on thickness.

Remove and let the chops rest 5 minutes. Serve dolloped with radish cream (recipe follows).

For the Radish Cream

  1. Combine the first 5 ingredients (through water) in a food processor, pulsing until a thin, creamy consistency forms. Transfer to a bowl and season with salt and pepper.

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