Planked Pork Chops with a Balsamic Maple Reduction. Wait, you can’t plank pork chops. You can only plank salmon. Bull shoes. My New Year’s Resolution is not some life changing decision to lose weight or stop cussing or giving a shit if anyone named Kardasian bursts into flames and dies a painful death. No, mine is to do more plank grilling.
But you can only eat so much salmon, right? Well, no, I can eat my weight in salmon. The reason I plan on doing more plank grilling is two fold. First, I find myself using my Char-Broil TRU Infrared gas grill more and more. Why? I have three kids, a wife, a job, a house and I run this website. I’m busy. Like mad busy. The convenience of the gas grill has me using it more and more and more. My one and only knock on my gas grill is no smoke flavor. Enter the grilling plank!
Now I get my convenience along with the smoke I crave. WINNING!
But aren’t you going to get bored with salmon? No and no. No, I won’t get bored with salmon ever. And no, I don’t have to plank salmon every time I bust out a wooden grilling plank. Just a couple days ago, I planked a pork loin. Today, I’m going to plank some fat pork chops and glaze them with a balsamic, maple reduction sauce. Who was the jackass that came up with the idea that we can only plank salmon? Why only impart those sweet, seductive smoke curls into fish when we could be pairing that smoke with beef or pork or turkey or lamb, or well, anything. The possibilities are really endless. Hell, I planked squid last October. We can plank anything. For some reason we only plank salmon. That needs to change.
Planked Pork Chops with a Balsamic Maple Reduction Ingredients:
2 pork chops, approximately 1.5 inches thick
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
1/3 cup chicken (beef or mushroom) stock
1 tbsp syrup
1 tsp stone ground mustard
1 clove garlic, minced
¼ tsp dried thyme
¼ tsp dried rosemary
½ tsp of Sriracha for some heat (not pictured as I decided to add that at the last minute)
2 tbsp butter
If you want to omit the Sriracha, feel free. After all there’s a shortage. Yeah, I believe that’s a bunch of crap too, but I love the sauce. If you want to omit the heat from the Sriracha that’s up to you.
First, let’s get a shot of the stars of the show – the pork chops:
Those bad boys are an inch and a half thick courtesy of the fine folks out at C and C Butcher in Ellisville, MO or as we like to call it, our favorite butcher in west county. These guys have ridiculous meat and just recently added seafood to make them the one stop grilling shop out on Manchester.
To get an idea of how monstrous these bad boys are, check out the bone to bone overhead shot:
So hit them with the coarse salt, black and white pepper on both sides:
Now that the meat is prepared, toss a wooden grilling plank into the sink and fill it with a couple inches of water. In this case, it was a maple plank. Sorry no picture. I was pressed for time and forgot to get a shot. But a piece of wood in a sink full of water is not hard to imagine. You’ll survive.
While the salt and pepper are working their magic on the pork chops and the plank is soaking up water to keep it from bursting into flames on the grill, let’s prepare the balsamic maple reduction. Combine the rest of the ingredients except for the butter in a pot, give a good whisk and set to a low simmer. Once the liquid reduces by about half, toss in the butter:
Let’s talk about grilling planks. I get all of my planks from Bob’s Smokin’ Hardwood (as well as my smoke wood and wraps). After the plank has soaked in liquid for about an hour, prep the grill for high heat grilling and then place the plank on the grill:
Close the lid for about three minutes. Then open the grill back up and flip the plank over:
Now we’re ready for those glorious pork chops!
Close the lid and drop the temp down to between medium and medium high. The goal is to get smoke without catching the wood on fire.
Here we are about 20 minutes in. The pork chops are browning nicely and the plank is putting off some decent smoke. Considering the wind outside that night, getting smoke shots was tough:
At 30 minutes, my pork chops are sitting about 110 degrees, so I brushed them with balsamic maple reduction:
And finally the wind died down and I was able to get this shot after they were both brushed with the reduction:
I brushed them twice more, about 10 minutes apart, before my ThermaPen showed me that they were ready to come off at an internal temperature of 148:
But wait. Pork needs to be cooked to 160 or greater, right? Nope. Pork is good to go after it reaches 145 according to the USDA. Leave a little pink in your pork and stop freaking out you Nancies.
And yes, my ThermaPen is resting on a hot grill grate. It got a little melted there on the edge, or as I like to call it, broken in! That’s what happens when you have to document everything with a camera and only have two hands.
I pulled them from the plank, and the grill, and placed them on a plate to rest to allow the juices, in an excited state from the heat of the grill, to calm down and redistribute throughout the meat and not run all over the plate when sliced.
The chops picked up a nice smoke flavor before I applied the sauce, which caramelized nicely on the pork. The meat was perfectly tender and uber juicy and that sweet and savory (and slightly spicy) glaze made these pork chops almost elegant. Expect a wide variety of flavors intermingling in the mouth.
I highly recommend busting out the wooden grilling plank to add that wonderful smoke to any protein. It also adds the one thing the gas grill is missing – smoke.
If you’re wondering about the T and Thomas behind some of these pictures, that’s my new cutting board from my Mother in Law. It will be soon festooned to the wall somewhere in my kitchen because it is too pretty to cut on.
If you have any questions about Planked Pork Chops with a Balsamic Maple Reduction, feel free to ask them below or shoot me an email. I’ll answer them either way as soon as I can.
Also, Bob’s Smokin’ Hardwood is a sponsor of the site and we are ecstatic to have them. Their products are so ridiculously good. The smoke wood is so clean it looks like it was prepared for an operating room, not a grill.
- 2 pork chops, approximately 1.5 inches thick
- Coarse salt
- Black pepper
- White pepper
- ⅓ cup balsamic vinegar
- ⅓ cup chicken (beef or mushroom) stock
- 1 tbsp syrup
- 1 tsp stone ground mustard
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- ¼ tsp dried thyme
- ¼ tsp dried rosemary
- ½ tsp of sriracha for some heat
- 2 tbsp butter
- Coat each chop with the salt and pepper
- Place a grilling plank in a couple inches of water to soak
- Combine the rest of the ingredients in a sauce pan, whisk and set to a low simmer
- When the reduction cooks down by about half, add the butter
- Prepare the gas grill for high heat grilling
- Place the plank on the grill and close the lid for 3 minutes
- Open the lid, flip the plank and place the pork chops on the plank
- Close the lid, wait for smoke to start coming out of the grill and reduce heat to medium high (high enough to smoke the plank without igniting it)
- When the pork chops reach an internal temperature of 100-110 degrees, baste with the balsamic maple reduction
- Continue to baste every 10 minutes until the meat reaches an internal temperature of 145 degrees
- Remove from the heat, allow to rest for 5-7 minutes
- Slice and serve