Cocoa and Chile Rubbed Pork Chops Recipe
This recipe is adapted from chef Tim Love, in an old (June 2009) issue of Food and Wine magazine. This is a delicious rub that uses a bit of sugar to help the meat brown, but cooks over low heat so the sugar doesn't char. The combination of the cocoa powder with the pepper gives a wonderful depth of flavor.
Cocoa and Chile Rubbed Pork Chops
2 quarts water
1 1/2 teaspoons crushed red pepper
Four 1 1/2 inch-thick boneless pork loin chops
1 tablespoons cocoa powder (Pernigotti is the best!)
1 tablespoon light muscovado sugar
1 tbsp. pure ancho chile powder
1. In a large bowl, combine the water with the crushed red pepper and 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt and stir until the salt dissolves. Add the pork chops and let brine at room temperature for one hour.
2. Light a grill and create a cool zone. For a charcoal grill, rake the coals to one side; for a gas grill, leave one side unlit. In a bowl, mix the cocoa, sugar and ancho powder with one tablespoon of salt.
3. Drain the pork chops and pat dry, removing any bits of crushed pepper. Brush generously with olive oil. Roll the pork chops in the cocoa rub and pat to help it adhere. Grill over moderately high heat for 4 minutes, turning the chops once or twice until lightly browned. Transfer the chops to the cool zone, cover and grill for about 15 minutes, until an instant read thermometer inserted in the center of the chops registers 135 degrees for medium meat. Let the chops rest for 10 minutes before serving.