I really don't think I'm cooking my pork chops any other way again! These just turned out so amazingly excellent – evenly cooked, slightly pink, and really tender and moist.
I like cooking with pork, knowing that I could get practically any flavor to work with its rather neutral taste. Like for this time, I was craving for something Asian so I've decided to create a Chinese-inspired bbq marinade which would double up as a glaze for my pork in the end.
I like playing with my bbq sauces, creating something new each time. I went for the staples of soy sauce, honey, and brown sugar of course. But to give this an Asian flare, instead of catsup, I reached for Hoisin sauce. Instead of the usual smoky blend of spices which is dominantly paprika-based, I went for Chinese five-spice powder. For some tang and for its tenderizing effect on the meat, I've added Chinese cooking wine in place of the usual vinegar. To round up the flavors, some aromatics have to go in too – my choice of garlic, ginger, and black peppercorns should keep those Asian flavors in harmony.
Given this quick breakdown, you'll get the idea. So mix up something unique for your next bbq!
All the chops go in a bag together with the sauce to marinate overnight. The good thing is, this should be good to go into your sous vide bath the following day.
Pork and apples. . . a well-tested pair. Let's just give these apples some Asian flavor too. The pork chops would end up on the sweet side with the Asian bbq sauce that we've prepared. A tangy and slightly spicy pickled apple relish would be an excellent side dish.
Chop up your apples thin so they get to pickle quickly. I went for match-stick cuts for more even pickling and for the texture that I'm after. These apples will oxidize really quick so having a bowl of water acidulated with about a tablespoon of lemon juice or vinegar would keep the apples from browning.
Make up a pickling solution, which basically is just a mix of vinegar, sugar, and salt. The spices you'll put in would really be based on your preference. Again, keeping flavors Asian, let's put in some star anise, black cardamom pods, chili, coriander seeds, and black peppercorns.
Set the pot over a very low simmer, just enough to get the salt and sugar dissolved and the aromatics infused. About 5 minutes should be enough.
While the pickling solution is still hot, pour it into your apples(which you should have drained) and shallots. Make sure everything is fully submerged. A pickling jar or a resealable bag would really come in handy.
Allow the mix to come to room temperature before sealing it and chilling it in the refrigerator. This quick pickle would be ready by now, though allowing it to “pickle” for a few days would intensify the flavors.
Preheat a water bath to 140F and set a cooking time of about an hour. Don't forget to read about or favorite sous vide immersion circulators!
Get those pork chops in.
After they've cooked, get the pork chops submerged in an ice bath. This should stop the cooking process and more importantly, bring down the core temperature of the meat, keeping it from overcooking during the final sear.
Prepare the chops for the final sear. To achieve a good crust, pat the meat dry with paper towels.
Get a skillet smoking hot and sear the chops for about 45 seconds per side. Take the chops out to rest for about 10 minutes before serving.
Meanwhile, empty the liquid contents of your sous vide bag into the same pan. Scrape all those pan drippings loose, and bring this sauce down to a glaze.
Brush the chops with the bbq glaze and serve with the pickled apples on the side.