Brined pork chops

Jana purchased some boneless, center-cut pork chops from Sam’s Club, so tonight I decided to grill them using a flavor brine.  My simplistic explanation:  The salt in a brine is more concentrated than the salt in the meat so initially water flows out of the meat into the brine solution to attempt to balance the salt concentrations. After 30 minutes or so, this process reverses itself, with the water and salt going back into the meat. The salt breaks protein bonds in the meat, capturing water molecules within the proteins and increasing the moisture content of the meat. Any flavors added to the brine will enter the meat along with the salt, infusing flavor into the depths of the meat.

I made a 5% brine solution plus I added 1 tablespoon of Cluck and Squeal’s All Purpose Rub as the flavor.  I kept the pork chops in the brine in the refrigerator for about 2 hours, before removing and briefly rinsing under running water to remove any excess salt. I dried them, added a light coating olive oil on all sides and dusted liberally with the same rub that was in the brine solution.

I wanted a smoky, slow initial cook, with a quick finishing sear at the end. I got a good fire going in my large BGE with a platesetter in place and a foil drip pan on it. I added a couple of handfuls of dry cherry chips and smoked the chops until their internal temp was about 118-120*.

I removed chops and the platesetter, added 2 panels of my Grill Grates and got the dome temp up to 400*. I then seared the chops about 90 sec. on each side, then I held them with tongs while I seared the fat along the edges.

They were very juicy and one could taste the flavor throughout the whole chop. Delicious!!



Here are colorful pictures of Jana’s mixed, oven-roasted veggies, including our garden squash, and her tasty sautéed Asian green beans.







A little black rice finished off the meal!

Misippi Egger
(Clark Ethridge)


2 center-cut, boneless pork chops (a least an inch thick)
50 gm Morton Kosher salt
1 T Favorite rub
800 ml water
Olive oil

(1) Make a 5% (6% if using non-metric measures) brine solution. Add 50 gm Morton Kosher salt and 1 tablespoon of rub to 800 ml water. Mix with a whisp until all the salt is dissolved, then add ice until the volume equals 1 liter. Pour this into a ziplock bag with the pork chops and place in the refrigerator for at least an hour or up to overnight. (For non-metric measures, use 1/4 c Morton Kosher salt, 1 T rub, and 3.5 quarts of water. When mixed well, add ice to a total volume of 4 quarts (6% solution).
(2) Remove the chops from the brine and rinse briefly under running water to remove some of the salt. Dry them well, then coat all sides with olive oil. Apply rub to both sides of the chops and allow sit at room temp while getting the fire ready.
(3) Prepare a low-temp (250-300*) indirect fire. Add any preferred wood chips then the chops. Cook until they reach an internal temp of 118-120*. Remove the chops, convert the fire to a direct, hot fire for searing (400-500*). Sear the chops for abut 90 sec. per side, then using tongs and gloves, sear the fat edge of each chop.
(4) Remove and rest for 5-10 minutes before serving.

Plum Pork

I was looking for a good appetizer that could be served at room temperature and would also be great for tailgating this fall. My Gulfport friend, Terry Helms came to the rescue (again)! He referred me to a familiar blog (Playing with Fire and Smoke) by fellow Egghead, Wayne Nelson, and to this Chinese appetizer recipe: Plum Pork .

I purchased a 4-pack of pork tenderloins from Sam’s Club and prepared two for this test cook. This recipe requires some planning as it requires an overnight marinate.

First I prepared the dipping sauce and placed it in the fridge to allow the flavors to blend over a day or so.  Then I made the marinade and planned to marinate the pork overnight, but it ended up being about 28 hours (it didn’t seem to make any difference).

As soon as an intense, but brief, thunderstorm passed, allowing me to get outside, I cooked the tenderloins at 375* over an indirect fire.


I basted them with reserved marinade and turned frequently. When they were close to being done (140-145* internal temp), I “painted” them with the finishing sauce. I then removed them from the fire, removed the indirect piece and ramped up the direct fire to about 600*. (With a non-ceramic grill, a 2-level fire allows one to do the first part away from the coals, then move them directly over the fire for this second part). I then charred them, carefully turning to prevent burning of the sugary finishing sauce.


I rested the pork for a few minutes, then sliced into thin pieces (16-18 per tenderloin). The recipe calls for one to dip each piece in the dipping sauce, then into a bowl of toasted sesame seeds. I decided that might be messy with a large crowd, so I drizzled the dipping sauce over the slices then sprinkled with the toasted sesame seeds.

Plated with steamed broccoli, mushrooms sautéed in olive oil & wine, and pan-roasted onions and peppers.
Misippi Egger
(Clark Ethridge)


Makes 50-75 slices

4-6 pork tenderloins
Sesame seeds

  • 5 teaspoons Sugar
  • 1.5 teaspoons Salt
  • 2 cloves Garlic, minced (in the tube ok)
  • 1 teaspoon Ginger, minced (in tube ok)
  • 4 tablespoons Ketchup
  • 4 tablespoons Soy sauce
  • 5 teaspoons Wine
  • 1 teaspoon 5-spice powder

Finishing Sauce:

  • 1 tablespoon Hoisin sauce
  • ¼ cup Honey

Dipping Sauce:

  • 12 ounce jar Plum preserves, or jam
  • 2 tablespoons Vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Brown sugar, packed
  • 1 teaspoon Red chili pepper, finely chopped, dried
  • 1 clove Garlic, minced (or in the tube)
  • 1 tablespoon Green onions, finely chopped
  • ½ teaspoon Ginger, ground

(1) Make the dipping sauce 1-2 days ahead of the cook. Combine all the ingredients, except the sesame seeds, and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Remove from the heat and cool. Refrigerate in a covered container overnight to blend flavors. Prior to serving, toast sesame seeds and place in a separate bowl.

(2) Make the marinade and marinate pork for at least 4 hours, or overnight (8 hours) if you wish. Make the finishing sauce while the cooker is coming up to temp; keep at room temperature. The finishing sauce can be warmed slightly or thinned with a little apple juice.

(2) Preheat cooker to 375° with an indirect or raised direct set up. Roast the tenderloins until the internal temperature is around 150°, basting occasionally with the reserved marinade. Turn & rotate as needed. When close to done, baste with the finishing sauce, remove and rest for a few minutes. You can add more finishing sauce to even out the coating. Either ramp up the cooker and briefly move the tenderloins directly over the coals or move into an oven set on broil in order to glaze the meat. Be careful not to burn the glaze.

(3) Let pork cool and cut into thin slices. Serve the plum sauce and toasted sesame seeds along side the sliced pork. Dip the sliced pork into the plum dipping sauce, then into the sesame seeds. As an option, you can drizzle the dipping sauce over the slices and sprinkle with the sesame seeds.

(Thanks to Wayne Nelson (aka “Third Eye”) for this recipe).

Pork tenderloin steaks


Plain pork tenderloins and loins have not been Jana’s favorite because they are often bland or even dry. In the past I have stuffed them with a variety of ingredients. Since the stuffing retains moisture and adds internal flavor, they have been acceptable.

A couple of months ago I purchased some packets of pork tenderloins from Sam’s Club (their pork is not injected with water or salt solutions, like most grocery store brands).  These packets weigh about 2 pounds and have 2 tenderloins per pack. After a bit of Internet research I came up with this recipe. Jana said it was perfect and was definitely a “do over”!

The keys to this recipe are two-fold: (1) A flavor brine, and (2) flattening the cut tenderloins with a meat mallet or the edge of a heavy glass. According to Cooks Illustrated one can increase the surface area of a filleted pork tenderloin by 33% by pounding out the rounded surface. More surface area equals more surface in contact with the grill and the benefits of caramelizing the exterior of the ‘steak’.

Pork Brine:  A 5-8% solution of salt in water is a basic brine. One can use the brine alone or add rubs, herbs, or other flavors that will be infused into the meat along with the salt. The penetration of the moisture and flavors into the meat is dependent on the time in the brine and the thickness of the meat. The easiest way to make salt solutions of different percents is using metric measurements. 50 gm (by weight) of salt in 1 liter (1000 gm weight) of water is 5%. Since most of us don’t have scales that weigh in grams, the closest “English” formula is to use 1/4 cup of Morton Kosher salt in 1 quart of water (this makes an approximately 6% salt solution). The type & brand of salt used with the “English” formula is important, as table salt, Morton & Diamond Crystal Kosher salts have different equivalents, based on the size of their crystals (Explanation of different salts).

The recipe: The first step is to brine the whole tenderloin in a 5-6% salt solution with a tablespoon of the rub added to help the flavor penetrate the dense muscle fibers of the pork. The recipe calls for adding ice cubes to the brine to help get the solution cool quicker before it goes in the fridge for a minimum of 45 minutes up to overnight.

Once brined, the meat is removed from the solution and some of the salt is briefly rinsed off under running water. Cut the tenderloin in half crossways, then cut each piece lengthwise, giving you 4 pieces that are flat on one surface and curved on the other. In the picture below one of the halves has been split lengthwise and the other has not.

Put the pieces into a heavy baggie (freezer bag), then pound flat with a mallet or the bottom edge of a heavy water glass. Try to leave the filet (steak) about an inch thick.

Lightly season with the seasoning or rub of your choice (tonight I used a locally made rub – “Rebel Rub” by Rebel Butcher Supply in Pearl, MS).

The grill:  Prepare the Egg (or other grill) for an elevated direct cook at 400-500* (I used “Grill Grates” on top of my regular grid). Oil the grid with a paper towel soaked in vegetable oil to prevent sticking. Grill the steaks for about 2-3 minutes on each side and remove when the internal temperature reads between 135 and 140*. Cover and rest until ready to serve.

Let night, t0 be compliant with our Ideal Protein diet, we each had 8 oz (precooked weight) and 1.5 cups of oven-roasted asparagus. We also had a salad of 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes with sliced cucumbers and radishes. Jana made a dipping sauce (soy + Sriracha) from an IP video for the meat.

Misippi Egger
(Clark Ethridge)

 Serves 2

1 pork tenderloin, about 1#
50gm (or 1/4 cup) Morton’s Kosher salt
1 liter (or 1 quart) cold water
tablespoon of rub, seasoning, or savoy herbs, plus more for seasoning for the grill

(1) Add the salt and rub to 800 ml (or 3 cups) of cold water. Mix well to dissolve the salt in the water. Add ice cubes to bring the volume up to 1 liter (or 1 quart).  Place the whole tenderloin in a gallon ziplock bag, add the brine solution and seal the bag, squeezing out as much of the air as possible. Put the bag in a pan or bowl (in case of leaks) and place in the refrigerator for 45 minutes or up to overnight (turn occasionally to help the brine stay in contact with all sides of the meat).
(2) About 30 minutes prior to grilling, prepare the Egg (or other grill) for a 400-500*, elevated direct cook. 
(3) Remove the meat from the bag and briefly rinse under running water to remove some of the salt. Cut the tenderloin in half crossways, then cut each piece lengthwise to create 4 filets that are flat on one surface and slightly rounded on the other. Place these filets in a thick bag and pound with a meat mallet (or the bottom edge of a heavy water glass) until the filets are flattened, trying to leave them about 1 inch thick.
(4) Soak a paper towel or rag in vegetable oil and using tongs swab the grid generously to reduce the meat sticking to the grid. Place the filets (steaks) on the grid and grill for about 2-3 minutes on each side. Remove when the internal temp reaches between 135 and 140*. (Overcooking might result in dry, chewy steaks). Rest, covered until ready to serve.

Pork chops (a rub comparison) and Roasted Sprouts

St Patty's Egg Pic

Happy St Patrick’s Day!!  (Photo courtesy of my tailgating friend – David Hyde).

Last night we had a healthy meal of pork chops and a new oven-roasted Brussel Sprouts recipe. Pork chops can be boring, so I decided to liven things up by doing a rub comparison. The chops came from the “Farmers Market” in Oxford, MS and were local, farm-raised hogs.

The rubs for this “test” were Carnivore (Carnivore BBQ) “Rub Me Raw” – one of my favorite butt rubs – and Mike’s All Purpose Seasoning “Spicy Recipe” that I purchased at the Livingston Farmers Market a while back. The Mike’s rub had a lot of paprika, making it easy to tell which chop it was on.

I smeared a small amount of olive oil on each chop before applying the rubs, allowed them to melt for about 20 minutes, then onto the Mini BGE (it was raining on the large) at 300* for 4 minutes on one side and about 3 minutes on the other side. They temped out at about 135-137* internal so I pulled them and let them rest a few minutes.


Assessment: I split each chop in half, so we could both compare the rubs. We both agreed the Carnivore needed a little more salt, thus making the bolder “Mike’s All Purpose Seasoning” the slightly better choice tonight! I have to admit I deliberately sparingly applied the Carnivore, as I was unsure how salty it would be and thus chose to err on the light side – apparently a little too light. (It has more subtle flavors, although it makes a great bark on a Boston butt). I will definitely layer on more next time. Either of these rubs will give you excellent results, as will other choices like “Sprouts” (a local rub), lemon pepper, Greek seasoning or an herbal choice like Italian Seasoning or Herbes de Provence.

Of course, the Egg shined again with this cook – delivering chops that were so juicy one would find it hard to believe they had not been brined before grilling.


Serves 2

2  8 oz center-cut pork chops
Olive Oil
Carnivore, Mike’s or your favorite rub

(1) Smear a light coating of olive oil on both sides of each chop.
(2) Liberally apply the rub to both sides of the chops and allow them to rest at room temp for 20-30 minutes.
(3) Prepare a direct fire at 300-350* dome temperature.  Grill the chops for 4 minutes , then flip and grill until the internal temp is 135-137*.
(4) Cover with foil and rest for 5-8 minutes before serving.

Bonus recipe: Roasted Brussel Sprouts with Smoked Salt

Serves 2

4 cups Brussel sprouts, halved
4 tsp. olive oil
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp smoked salt
2 tsp Maple syrup (I used Walden Farms brand – no calories)
2 slices of bacon, chopped (leave this off if on the Ideal Protein diet)

(1) Preheat oven to 425*.
(2) Mix together all ingredients to make the marinade. 
(3) Put the halved sprouts in a ziplock with the marinade and shake around to thoroughly coat them.
(4) Place the Brussel sprouts, cut side down, on a baking sheet and roast for 15 minutes. Flip them over and roast for another 10 minutes or until they are a nice brown color.


Happy St. Paddy’s Day from Misippi Egger (Clark Ethridge)