Sunday, March 21, 2010

The Bachelor Marinade: Pops and Pork Chops

Pops and I are famous for grilling (in our own minds). That whole post-grad school living in the mother-in-law's basement apartment at Pop's because, well, there was no mother-in-law and it was cheaper than getting my own place when I finally stopped the education gravy-train and got a real job.

We were the Bachelor-Kings of Whitehall Creek. The world was our oyster. Only I didn't like oysters then and dad only eats them cooked. you have come to expect here where we geek...I digress.

There were several variations on grilled themes. Pork chops were always in the fridge. They were marinated and grilled and served with sweet potatoes and sauted spinach with red onions. Or there was flank steak and sauted broccoli with capers and chopped black olives. The marinade was typically soy based. When I had it perfected it was soy, Worcestershire sauce, garlic, ginger, salt, pepper, and oil. Thin chops? 30 minutes of soak time would be fine. Chops from when I used to buy whole hogs from the Baltimore County 4-H kids? Give those 2-inch think monsters a solid 2 hours in the pool.

For those who are curious, go find your local 4-H club. See if they raise animals for summer projects. Find out when they sell them. In Bal'mer: The County, they have an auction in the summer and a deal with two local butchers. Buy your animal, raised with love by kids being taught how to do it right. Call up the butcher a few days later and walk down the check list. Do you want your hams fresh or cured? Bacon? Yeah, thick cut, okay. How thick do you want your chops? Really? 2 inches? That's huge, can I come visit when you grill those? Okay, sausage. you'll have about 30 pounds total. You want 1/3 hot Italian, 1/3 sweet Italian, and 1/3 salt and pepper breakfast sausage? Sure, we can do that.

Wait a few weeks, go pick it up. Cryo-packed and frozen when you pick it up.

And the best pork chops you will ever eat in your life.

One whole hog on the hoof, processed, and packaged for you will fit in a standard freezer if there is nothing else in the freezer. So yeah, you're better off buying a 1/2 a cow as well and splitting it with a few friends to justify the chest freezer you really wanted to buy all along.

However the chops came, Pops and I were happy. Sitting on the deck in the sun watching a blue heron join us across the canal for its dinner. Hot air and crickets chirping.

Last night we did a redux. Just Dad and I and the grill. Well, Dad on the couch or meandering the living room with a book in his hand. And me at the grill. But that's okay by me.

And I'm down with the tomato now. So they were the accoutrement...broiled. With salt, pepper, Herbs de Provence, and a healthy dose of grated Parmesan as soon as the tomatoes were half broiled.

The marinade was a twist as well. I'm more comfortable in the kitchen. I have a better sense of flavors and herbs, pairings and acids.

So here you go. A marinade for the grill this season. It would work well with chicken too, especially dark meat. Grilling thighs? Go here.

Add garlic and ginger if you like. I didn't have either at the house. They'd both be EXCELLENT with this and I'm including them in the recipe. Trust me, I've done this before.

Soy Marinade (for Four Chops or a Half Chicken)

2/3 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup Worcestershire Sauce
4 cloves garlic, minced
1-inch piece of peeled garlic, minced
1/4 olive oil
3 T Marjoram
1 T Sage
1/2 t salt
1 t cracked black pepper

Mix it all together and pour it over the meat.

Marinate in a plastic bag. Push all the air out of the bag. Gets the meat coated so much better.

Find a deck with a nice view and put a table on it. Find chairs, plates, forks, knives, and wine (I went with a Spanish red from Jumilla that was uber-fruit).


Melissa, Mia, Chez, and everyone else on that Worst Date Meal e-mail chain: Does this beat Chicken Parmesan?

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