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.

Slow-smoked Chickens on a BGE

You know how good the smoked pulled chicken is in a BBQ joint or how tender the rotisserie chickens are at the local grocery store? I have been unsuccessful in achieving these kinds of results when roasting chickens on my BGE. I’m not saying I don’t roast great chickens, just not easily pulled or “fall apart tender”. So I bought 4 whole chickens at the grocery store and started developing a plan…….

I wanted to cook them low & slow to get a good smoked flavor in addition to making them very tender. My plan was also to place roasted chickens in the freezer for future meals. At 300-350*, most whole chickens are usually done in 45-60 minutes, but I wanted to cook these at 180* or so for a longer time.

To be able to cook all four, I used the chickens (still in their packaging) to help determine the fit on the Egg and I came up with a plan using products from the The Ceramic Grill Store. After loading the large Egg with lump and apple chunks plus apple and cherry chips, I placed a ‘spider‘ on the fire ring. On that (about 2″ below the fire ring), I placed a 13″ BGE pizza stone as my indirect piece. I then put a rectangular, foiled drip pan on a ‘slide guide’ on the bottom level of the ‘Adjustable Rig (AR)‘, with an oval grid on a slide guide just above the drip pan. The ‘rig extender‘ fit on top of the AR with the second oval grid on that.

While the Egg was coming up to temp, I put 4 different rubs on the chickens – Rebel Rub (local), Cluck and Squeal’s All Purpose rub, Dizzy Pig’s Shaking the Tree rub, and Gunpowder (a new rub I got in a “swap” with a neighbor who reads this blog). The chickens were placed on the BGE, after it had been stabilized by my DigiQ controller at about 180*(with the stone, drip pan and grids inside).


I ran into issues when my controller would not maintain the 180* grid temp, where it was set. I suspect this was related to the need to replace my ‘leaky’ gaskets. The grid temp crept up to 240-260* despite almost completely closing the top vents. After about 2 hours (chicken internal temp at about 140*), I turned off the DigiQ, barely cracked open the daisy wheel and left it alone for about 2 more hours. The grid temp drifted down to 210*, so I turned it back on and it stayed in the 210-225* range for the balance of the cook. When the thigh temp reached 180*, I removed all four chickens – a total cook time of 8 hours.


The ones in the picture below were on the top rack and the skin got a little more crispy than the bottom rack (note to self – rotate the racks at least once in the future so all four get exposure to the heat coming off the dome onto the top rack).

Bottom rack – the left one had the “Gunpowder” rub (which ‘looks’ like gunpowder).

After resting on a cooling rack, then spending the night in the refrigerator, I cut them into halves, vacuum-sealed and froze for future meals. We did eat the first one, which happened to be the “Rebel Rub” one, and it was tender, juicy and flavorful. They all had a prominent (not overbearing) smoky aroma! Success!

This is a great way to cook several meals in one smoke session, if one has the accessories to create a multilevel cook. This can also be done with fire bricks separating the two grids or with other brands of multilevel grids.


Misippi Egger
(Clark Ethridge)

Serves 2

1-4 whole chickens (4-5# each)
Olive Oil
Rub of choice

(1) Remove the neck and other parts from inside the chicken cavity and rinse well.
(2) Drizzle olive oil on the outside of the chicken and spread around to cover all areas to help the rub stick.
(3) Liberally cover the outside of the chicken with the rub, as well as inside the cavity.
(4) Prepare the grill for a 180-200* indirect cook with a drip pan to catch the considerable fat that will be rendered. Use large amount of fruit wood chunks and/or chips (cherry or maple will help enhance the skin coloring).
(5) Roast slowly until the internal temperature of the thigh reaches 180-200*. Remove and serve immediately or allow to cool before cutting up 

Hanger Steak


I finally carried my new MiniMax (MM) Egg to Oxford this weekend. It will replace a small egg that will come home to Madison.  For the inaugural cook on the MM, I thawed out a hanger steak we had purchased at The Farmer’s Market in Oxford. They sell beef and pork that is processed at Stan’s on highway 6 near Batesville. The pork is locally raised and the beef is aged Angus.

Hanger steak? What is that?  Actually it comes from the part of the diaphragm that is closest to the spine and tenderloin. The outer, tougher part of the diaphragm is called the skirt steak. Hanger steaks are difficult to get unless using a custom butcher, but they are one of the most tender cuts from the cow (3rd most tender, I believe) and have lots of beef flavor.

I seasoned this steak with Cluck and Squeal’s “Beef Specific” rub and let it come to room temperature on the counter for about an hour.


I prepared the MiniMax for a direct cook at 500*.


Since this was the inaugural cook, one can appreciate the new, white ceramics that will soon become nice and seasoned.


The steak was flipped after about 3 minutes, then removed when the internal temperature was 130*.


It was rested for 5 minutes, while the asparagus finished roasting in the oven, then plated with the asparagus.


Misippi Egger
(Clark Ethridge)


Serves 2

Hanger steak (3/4 to 1 pound)
Cluck and Squeal Beef Specific Rub (or preferred steak rub)

(1) Liberally apply the rub to both sides of the steak, patting it in. Let it rest on the counter for 45 minutes to an hour to come to room temperature.
(2) Prepare the Egg (grill) for a hot (450-500*) direct cook.
(3) Grill for 2-3 minutes on each side and remove when internal temperature reaches 125* (medium rare), 130* (medium), or your desired doneness. Cover with foil and rest for 5-8 minutes.
(4) Important! Slice against the grain for the most tender results.

Lamb Chops

This is a quick and easy weeknight cook:


My friend from New Zealand, Chantelle, taught me the best lamb in our area is found at Sam’s Club. Considering her background and experience raising and cooking lamb, I had to believe her. Sam’s (we have no Costco here) has not disappointed. Lamb chops, rack of lamb and leg of lamb have all  experienced hot charcoal in my Egg – great flavor with essentially none of the “mutton” taste many associate with lamb.

Lamb, like beef, will handle a bold rub, so many people use coffee-based rubs. I use one of 2 rubs with chops and racks of lamb – Dizzy Pig’s Red Eye Express, which is coffee-based. More recently I have been using Cluck and Squeal’s Beef Specific on lamb and as well as on beef.

Here are the chops seasoned and letting the rub ‘melt in’ while I got the Egg going.

I prepared my Egg for an elevated, direct cook at 400-450* with Grill Grates (Amazon – Grill Grates) on the grid. The chops were grilled for 3 minutes on one side, then flipped and grilled until their internal temp reached 125-130*.

They were rested 5-8 minutes, then served with pan-roasted mixed vegetables (peppers, mushrooms, and squash).


Serves 2

20 oz. of bone-in lamb chops (about 16 oz of meat)
Bold rub (Dizzy Pig ‘Red-Eye Express’ or Cluck and Squeal ‘Beef Specific’)

(1) Trim any thick, hard fat along the edges of the chops. Liberally coat both sides with the rub, including the edges. Pat in the rub.
(2) Prepare the grill for an elevated, direct cook at 450-500*. Add Grill Grates to the grid, if using.
(3) Place chops on the grid for about 3 minutes, then flip. Cook until internal temp reaches 125-130* (for medium rare), moving around on the grid to prevent burning if there are any hot spots.
(4) Cover with foil and rest 5-8 minutes before serving.
Misippi Egger
(Clark Ethridge)