grilled pork chops with apple compote

Tonight, dear Seattlites, needs to be a meal not cooked in your hot, sweltering kitchen. So break out the grill, a beer and a wading pool and join me outside.

For those of you not familiar with these lovely Seattle heat waves, 90 degrees is just about when we start complaining. For a city that’s never heard of air conditioning, it’s tricky business walking around trying to pretend that those sweat marks on your shirt are just spills of lemonade. We’re all on to each other. So tonight, and tomorrow, and the next day, go easy on yourselves and take the family outside for a meal from the grill.

I adore chops on the grill—they get a nice smoky flavor and are harder to overcook if you do them quickly at high temperatures. However, I still feel that a marinade is in order to impart some moisture and flavor. For a quick, easy marinade, grab some lemon juice, salt and pepper, fresh rosemary, red wine vinegar (any kind of vinegar would do), and olive oil. For the chops, I’m using the bone-in variety that are about 1″ thick.

Whisk the marinade ingredients together rapidly until the mixture emulsifies. I just threw the rosemary sprigs right in—no chopping required.

Pour the marinade over rinsed and dried chops…

…and give ’em a few flips to make sure they’re coated evenly. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to overnight.

For the apple compote, you’ll need some apples (I used Braeburn, but pretty much any variety would do, except for those pesky red delicious kind, which are not delicious nor should be considered apples), brown sugar, and a pinch each of salt and cinnamon.

Pour some water into a saucepan…

…and add the sugar, salt and cinnamon. If you had one of those handy burners on the side of your grill, this would be the perfect time to use it!

Peel the apples…

…and give them a quick dice. I like big chunks of apple, but whatever size you prefer works for me.

Add the apples to the water/sugar mixture, and bring to a simmer over medium heat.

Cook until the apples begin to become tender and most of the liquid has evaporated, about 10-15 minutes. Remove from heat. The mixture will thicken as it cools.

Ready to grill? Let’s go. Pre-heat to medium high and lay those chops on, baby. After about 2 minutes, give a quarter turn to create…

…some purdy grill marks. Cook for 2-4 minutes per side, depending on the thickness of your chops. Boneless chops will cook more quickly.

(A note about undercooked pork: don’t be scared of it. My personal opinion is that medium is fine and tastes way better, as long as you’re using all natural, high-quality meat. And if you’re still curious, here’s a handy article from Chow.)

Pull off the chops, top with the apples and serve to hungry people.

This is such an easy meal for the grill, yet pretty enough to serve to company.

Whip up a side salad and you’ve got dinner. Outside. Preferably with a nice mister spraying over you.

Stay cool, Seattle! If you need me, I’ll be in the backyard with a cold Stella in my hand and my feet in Lucy’s wading pool.


Grilled Pork Chops with Warm Apple Compote

The chops need to marinate for at least 1 hour. During that time, you can make the apple compote, or the compote can be made in advance. Makes 6 bone-in, 1″ chops. For thinner or boneless chops, reduce cooking time.

For the chops:

  • 6 bone-in pork chops, 1″ thick
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar (any savory vinegar would do)
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 4-5 turns freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 sprig fresh rosemary, needles removed from stems

Rinse pork chops and pat dry. Stir together olive oil, vinegar, lemon juice, salt, pepper, and rosemary. Place chops in a large dish or plastic bag and pour in marinade. Turn to coat evenly. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to overnight.

Preheat grill to medium-high. Cook chops for 2-4 minutes per side depending on desired doneness (see link above if you’re afraid of undercooked pork). Remove from grill and place on a platter.

For the apple compote:

  • 4 apples
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 pinch cinnamon

Peel apples and chop into a 1″ dice (or smaller if desired). In a large saucepan stir together water, sugar, salt and cinnamon. Add apples and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Cook for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until apples become tender. Remove from heat. Let cool for 5 minutes before serving, or refrigerate until ready to use. Pour over grilled pork chops when ready to serve.