Summer is just a few weeks away, and I am ready for warm evenings and al fresco grilled dinners perfumed by the smell of smoldering mesquite charcoal and sweet, floral star jasmine. Perfect for a summer evening, today’s recipe for Sweet Tea Pork Chops with Grilled Peaches is prepared in partnership with The Coca-Cola Company.
Start with two double-cut pork chops brining in an aromatic mixture of Gold Peak ® Sweet Tea , onion, garlic, thyme, bay lemon and black peppercorns. The brine will help keep the pork juicy while it cooks on the grill. Next, cook the chops on the grill over high heat until golden and charred in spots. Finish them off over indirect heat until fully cooked through. The contrast of the charred exterior to the juicy, tender pork within is so delicious.
I’ve thrown some peaches into the mix to complement the smoky, grilled pork, and they couldn’t be easier to make! Toss quartered, ripe peaches with olive oil, maple syrup, salt and pepper, then transfer to a foil pouch. The peaches cook in the foil over high heat until tender. They’re sweet and tart with just a hint of smoke. Continue reading for the recipe.
Cooking pork chops on the grill seems like a simple task, but they can often turn out dry and chewy. I’ve outlined two techniques in this recipe that help alleviate those issues. First, be sure to brine the pork. My sweet tea brine is infused with aromatics, herbs and spices, and as the pork sits in the brine, the meat absorbs all of those delicious flavors. The brine helps the pork retain moisture as it cooks on the grill, and it also seasons the meat throughout. No additional salt is needed once the pork comes out of the brine!
Before I get to the next tip, I just need to take a moment for some pork appreciation. I recently discovered that Sam’s Club , a secondary partner here, sells gorgeous double-cut pork chops. Their meat section in general is impressive, and I’ll definitely be shopping there during grilling season!!
Next, cook the pork using both direct and indirect heat. If using a charcoal grill, pile up your coals on one half of the grill. The side with the coals will be used for direct heat cooking, and the cooler side will be used for indirect heat. If using a gas grill, preheat one side of the grill on high, and leave the other side off. Sear the chops first using direct heat until they turn deep golden and charred in spots. Then move the pork to the indirect heat side, and let them gently cook through. This double heat method allows you to develop that delicious golden crust while keeping everything moist and juicy on the inside!
Coca-Cola and Sam’s Club have put together a fun program called 100 Ways to Summer, featuring recipes, activities and products to help you up your summer game this year. They’re also hosting weekly sweepstakes! Get all the details here. I stocked up on Gold Peak Sweet Tea during my last Sam’s Club trip along with several packs of Member’s Mark double cut pork chops, ripe peaches and pure maple syrup.
Sweet Tea Pork Chops with Grilled Peaches
For the pork chops:
- 15 ounces (scant 2 cups) Gold Peak® Sweet Tea
- 6 tablespoons kosher salt
- 1/2 medium onion, peeled and sliced
- 5 cloves of garlic, peeled
- 4 sprigs thyme
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 teaspoons whole black peppercorns
- 1 small lemon, halved
- 15 ounces ice cubes (about 18 - 20)
- 2 Member’s Mark double-cut pork chops (or 4 single-cut pork chops)
For the peaches:
- 2 firm ripe peaches, pitted and quartered
- 2 tablespoons Member’s Mark pure maple syrup
- 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
In a medium saucepan, combine sweet tea, salt, onion, garlic, thyme, bay, peppercorns and lemon. Bring mixture to a boil over high heat, stirring until the salt has dissolved. Take mixture off of the heat, cover and let steep for 10 minutes.
Add ice to a large bowl. Pour over hot brine and stir until the ice has melted. Place pork chops into a large freezer bag. Add brine and seal tightly. Let sit for 2 hours at room temperature. Rinse pork chops under cold, running water, pat dry then set aside. Discard brine.
Prepare an outdoor grill. Cooking double-cut pork chops requires both direct and indirect heat. If using a charcoal grill, pile up your coals on one half of the grill. The side with the coals will be used for direct heat cooking, and the cooler side will be used for indirect heat. If using a gas grill, preheat one side of the grill on high, and leave the other side off (no heat). With either method, let the grill grate preheat for 15 minutes. Also, the grate should be cleaned and oiled just before cooking.
Place the pork over direct heat, and sear for 3 – 4 minutes per side. Move the pork over to the indirect heat side, cover, and cook until the internal temperature reaches 135°F (15 – 20 minutes). Let the pork chops rest for 10 minutes before serving.
To make the grilled peaches, place peaches in a medium bowl with maple syrup and olive oil, tossing to combine. Season with a pinch of kosher salt and a few grinds of black pepper. Transfer peaches (and any liquids at the bottom of the bowl) to a sheet of aluminum foil. Scrunch up the sides of the foil around the peaches, but leave the top open. Place the foil on the hot side of the grill, and cook covered until the peaches are tender but not falling apart (8 to 10 minutes).
To serve, plate up the pork chops with the peaches and a simple side (baked potato, mashed potatoes, rice, salad). Be sure to drizzle any leftover juices remaining in the foil over the peaches.
This post was written in partnership with Coca-Cola® and Sam’s Club. All thoughts, opinions and recipes are my own.4