Today, many people use a gas grill and may not have a traditional smoker or charcoal grill. While this would be the preferred method, I will give you some tips I use at home and in the restaurant to create your own smoker and that slow-cooked barbecue flavor.
One way I have found to get smoke flavor into fish, pork and seafood is a simple smoker you can make. Take a disposable aluminum pan (like you would use at Thanksgiving) and take a piece of foil about one third of the size of the pan and create a tray to put wood chips or saw dust in. Place it in the pan and then put whatever item you wish to smoke in the other two thirds of the pan. Take a couple of ounces of your favorite liquor and pour over chips and carefully, light the chips on fire.
After the chips have smoldered for about five minutes, cover the whole pan with foil tightly around all edges. You do not need water for this technique, as you are simply using the smoke to infuse flavor. Smoking time will vary with the item you wish to smoke, with a range of 15 minutes for seafood up to a hour for thick cut meats. This is a cooking method that is easy to do and you can control the portion size. For more flavor, put any type of marinade or rub on the meat.
At the restaurant, when I smoke pork chops, I brine them first in a mixture of sugar, salt, vinegar, water and herbs for 24 hours and then smoke them. The flavor is amazing! Add some grilled peaches and asparagus and you have a delicious and healthy meal.
Brined Smoked Pork Chop
2 -8 oz bone in pork chops
½ cup salt
½ cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon peppercorns
2 cups apple cider vinegar
3 cups ice
1 hand full hickory chips (or preferred type)
Combine salt, sugar, peppercorns and vinegar into a sauce pan. Bring to a simmer until all salt and sugar are dissolved. Remove from burner, add your ice and put in a freezer bag or resealable container. Submerge your pork chops and let sit for at least 24 hours (covered and refrigerated).
Take pork chops and place them in the smoker, light the chips and allow to smolder uncovered for about three minutes. Cover smoker with foil and allow to smoke for 35 to 40 minutes. Uncover and grill each chop for three to four minutes on each side or pan sauté.
If you want to cook ahead, you can freeze the pork chops after smoking and grill when you are ready to use them. Once brined and smoked, the chops will last up to four or five days without freezing and up to three months in the freezer.
Morris, owner of Rhett’s Restaurant, Personal Chef & Catering in Southern Pines, can be reached at (910) 695-3663 or email@example.com.