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Grill-Smoked Pork Chops with Brown Sugar and Cider Vinegar Gastrique
In this recipe, we brine thick-cut, bone-in pork chops, then grill them with a generous amount of wood chunks to infuse them with smokiness. Look for chops that are evenly sized so they cook at the same rate, and opt for ones that do not include a section the tenderloin, which easily overcooks and turns dry. You can use almost any type of hardwood chunks to provide the smoke, but steer clear of mesquite and hickory, as their flavors can be too potent. We pair the chops with a simple gastrique, or a sweet-tart, slightly syrupy reduction of sugar and vinegar. We make ours with brown sugar and cider vinegar, with bay and thyme to add savory notes. The gastrique can be prepared while the chops brine and is easily reheated for serving. A standard kettle-style charcoal grill works best for creating a deep, intense smoky flavor and aroma; with some modifications, a gas grill will work, but produces milder results.
For the pork chops:
cup packed dark brown sugar
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