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Bourbon-And-Vanilla-Brined Pork Chops

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For the brine

1 oz. kosher salt (1/4 cup if using Diamond Crystal; 2 Tbs. if using Morton)

1/4 cup bourbon

3 T bs. dark brown sugar

2 T bs. unsulfured molasses, or maple syrup

2 tsp. Vain Mexican Vanilla extracted in Kentucky Bourbon

4 bone-in pork rib chops (1-1/4 to 1-1/2 inches thick; 2 to 3 lb. total)

For the spice rub:

1 Tbs. sweet Hungarian paprika

1 Tbs. dark brown sugar

1 Tbs. kosher salt

1 Tbs. freshly ground black pepper

2 tsp. ground dried sage

1-1/2 tsp. dry mustard

1 tsp. ground cayenne

1 tsp. ground cumin

1 tsp. ground coriander

1/4 tsp. ground ginger

1/8 tsp. ground cinnamon


Brine the pork chops

In a large mixing bowl, combine 2 cups warm water with the brine ingredients; stir until dissolved. Add 1 cup ice to the bowl and stir to quickly cool the brine to at least 45°F.

Put the chops in a 9×9-inch (or similar size) baking dish and pour the brine over the chops. They should be submerged. Cover with plastic wrap and put on a tray (in case of spills); refrigerate for 3 to 4 hours (3 hours for thinner chops, 4 hours for thicker ones). Remove the chops from the brine (discard the brine), and pat them dry.

Make the spice rub

Combine all of the spice rub ingredients in a small bowl or jar.

Grill the chops

Prepare a gas or charcoal grill fire for indirect cooking over medium-high heat (400°F to 450°F).

Sprinkle 2 to 3 Tbs. total of the spice rub generously over all sides of the chops. Grill the chops over direct heat, flipping once, until dark brown grill marks form on both sides, about 2 minutes per side (move them to indirect heat if any flare-ups occur). Once the chops are well marked, move them to the cooler side of the grill, cover, and cook until their internal temperature registers 140°F to 145°F on an instant-read thermometer, 4 to 6 minutes more per side. Transfer the chops to a serving platter, tent loosely with foil, and let rest for 5 minutes before serving.