This is Part II of my National Pork Board and Kroger sponsored post to generate excitement for grilling season, to promote their Top #ChopGriller national contest and to giveaway a $250 Kroger gift card plus a Grilling Essentials Kit. It’s just too much excitement to be contained in one post!
Don’t forget to visit HERE to enter to win the $15,000 backyard makeover, a Big Green Egg grill and a free summer of pork! It only requires you to state why you are the best at grilling in pork, in 140 characters or less.
I was officially assigned the Porterhouse cut of pork chop to grill, and I had so much fun creating that series of recipes (click HERE to view if you missed it) that I decided to create a completely different meal, while still using this same amazingly awesome bourbon brine. Since bacon butter and bacon fat combined together for one very decadent meal in my previous post, I wanted to also offer a lighter option because while tempting, one certainly cannot live on bacon, butter and fat alone.
With the Kentucky Derby happening this weekend and fresh mint beginning to be plentiful in our yard, the flavors of a Mint Julep seemed the obvious way to go. A quick search of the web and a few of my own tweeks provided me with an easy Mint Julep Sauce that acted as both dressing for my orzo pasta salad and basting liquid for my grilled, boneless New York pork chops. As with the Porterhouse chops, I grilled these pork chops to 145°F, followed by a 3-minute rest.
Peas, mint and feta are a pretty familiar combination so that is what I tossed my cooked orzo with, along with some of the yummy mint julep sauce and some extra-virgin olive oil. This a very refreshing, Springy meal that certainly does not need to be limited to Derby days. Enjoy and don’t forget to enter to win this prize package worth over $300!
- 4 thick-cut boneless New York pork chops
- 3 c. water, divided
- 1/4 c. bourbon
- 3 T. light brown sugar
- 3 T. salt
- 10 whole peppercorns
- 5 whole allspice berries
- 1 t. dried rosemary
- 1 t. onion powder
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 2 T. canola oil
- 2 T. unsalted butter
- 2 T. minced shallots
- 1 c. apple cider vinegar
- 1 c. water
- 1/4 c. bourbon
- 1/3 c. sugar
- 1 c. chopped fresh mint
- 1/2 t. salt
- 1 box orzo pasta
- 2 c. sugar snap peas
- 1 1/2 c. feta cheese
- 1/3 c. extra virgin olive oil
- In a 4-cup, glass measuring cup combine one cup of water, the brown sugar, salt, peppercorns, allspice berries, rosemary and onion powder. Microwave for 3 minutes, or until salt and sugar mostly dissolve when stirred.
- Remove from microwave and whisk in the remaining 2 cups of water, the bourbon, the garlic, bay leaves, cinnamon stick and oil.
- Rinse the New York pork chops under cold water and pat dry with paper towels. Place flat in a large dish and pour the marinade over the chops to coat. Refrigerate for 4 hours, turning chops over once halfway through.
- In a large saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the shallots and cook, stirring occasionally for about 5 minutes. Add the vinegar, water, bourbon and sugar. Increase heat to medium high and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer liquid until reduced by about half, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the fresh mint and salt. Allow to steep and then strain sauce through a mesh strainer to remove the mint and shallot bits.
- Cook the orzo according to package directions. During the final one minute of cooking time, add the sugar snap peas and stir. Drain the pasta and peas together and rinse thoroughly under cold water. Place in a large clean bowl. Whisk together 1/2 c. of the mint julep sauce with the olive oil. Pour over the pasta and peas and toss well to coat. Add the crumbled feta cheese and toss again. Refrigerate the salad until ready to serve.
- Preheat your grill, turning all burners to low setting, except for one on the end, leave it at medium. Grill the New York chops until the internal temperature registers 145F. Baste the chops with the reserved half of mint julep sauce as you grill. Remove the cooked chops and allow to rest for three-minutes before slicing and serving with the mint julep pasta salad.