There is something special about a sweet and tangy sauce slathered on pork. Bourbon and Brown Sugar Glazed Pork Chops served alongside turnips cooked three ways reminds me of growing up in the south. I’ve taken several of my favorite classic southern dishes and given them a modern twist.
I grew up in a rural area outside of Houston, Texas, where the only chain restaurant was the local Dairy Queen where you would go for a burger or soft serve ice cream dipped in chocolate that formed a crisp shell. The few other locally owned restaurants in town served homestyle cooking where you were often given a choice of a meat and sides. Sometimes referred to as the “blue plate special” or “meat and three”, it was tasty meal at an affordable price. When we went to The Swinging Door, the local barbecue restaurant, I chose pulled pork with potato salad and coleslaw. At the local diner, it was either country friend steak or fried pork chops with mashed potatoes, gravy and long simmered turnips and their greens cooked with ham.
For this meal, my meat of choice was brined pork chops that were pan seared, topped with a sweet and tangy sauce, and then finished in the oven. If it had not been a rainy day, I would have cooked the pork chops on the grill, brushing them with the sauce during the last few minutes of cooking. Either way you decide to cook the bourbon and brown sugar glazed pork chops, they will be tender, juicy and lip smacking good.
Bourbon and Brown Sugar Glazed Pork Chops
This recipe serves two, adjust accordingly.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
For the brined pork chops: combine 1 Tbsp. kosher salt, 1 Tbsp. dark brown sugar, 1 Tbsp. bourbon, and 1/4 tsp. each of garlic powder and onion powder with 2 cups of water. Stir until the salt and sugar are completely dissolved. Place two center cut loin pork chops in a container, cover the chops with the brining liquid, cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to 4 hours. Remove the chops from the brining liquid, pat dry and let come to room temperature before cooking.
Bourbon And Brown Sugar Sauce
- 2 Tbsp. bourbon (I used Wild Turkey Kentucky bourbon)
- 1 Tbsp. dark brown sugar
- 1 T. butter
- 1/4 c. ketchup
- 1 tsp. Dijon mustard
- 1/2 tsp. Tabasco (or pepper sauce of your choice)
- 1/2 tsp. lemon juice
- 1/4 tsp. each of black pepper, garlic powder and onion powder
Add all the ingredients to a small sauce pan and bring just to a boil, reduce heat and let simmer for 10 minutes. Taste and adjust seasonings, if necessary.
Add about 2 Tbsp. of vegetable oil to a ovenproof sauté pan and heat to shimmering. Add the pork chops and sear until they are brown, about two minutes on each side. Spoon about half the sauce on top of the chops and place in the oven for 5 minutes. Then place under the broiler for about two minutes until the sauce starts to caramelize. Remove and let rest for about 5 minutes before serving. Serve the remaining sauce on the side.
For sides to serve with this meal , I chose one vegetable…turnips and cooked them three ways. I sautéed the tender greens with sliced garlic in olive oil and a spoonful of bacon drippings, then added some chicken broth and braised them until they were just tender and the broth had evaporated. I boiled diced turnips and then mashed them with heavy cream and butter. I also took a couple of whole turnips, cut them in quarters, pared them into a pretty shape, then boiled them until they were tender crisp. I then sautéed them in a tablespoon of butter until they were brown and tender.
This meal was delicious. There was a depth of flavor in the glaze from the slightly sweet and smoky tasting bourbon…it paired well with the molasses flavored dark brown sugar. The garlicky and slightly bitter turnip greens were a perfect contrast to the sweetness of the pork chops. One might not think it, but the turnips were almost the star of the show… they were so good. This meal reminded me of some the southern dishes I grew up eating but with more modern flair.