Sunday, June 17, 2012

Grilled Pork Chops with Tarragon Butter #SundaySupper

 

I'm lucky. I have a great dad. AND my husband is the best dad ever too. I don't know how I wound up with all the best dads. Once again, I must be lucky. How did I get so lucky? I don't know. Lucky I guess. 

And not only are my dad and my son's dad the best dads, several of my friends are also the best dads. There's Dave and Brian and Russ and Ho and Scott and Dylan and Steve and Jonathan and Mark and Geir and Bassi and John and Paul, and well, you get the picture. Lots of great, loving dads who work hard to love and care and inspire. 

The truth is, great dads never get the credit they deserve. Too often they get the beady eye when they enter mom territory like the park or the grocery store or school. One day, once a year, is just not enough to show dads how much we appreciate the hours of sitting on the floor playing with Legos; the screaming shoulders from carrying the kiddos around; the complete assumption of responsibility for life and security (even though we moms feel like we carry a lot of that too, so give yourselves a break sometimes); the reading, bathtime, lessons, affection, attention great dads put in every day.

But one day a year is all they get, so let's at least make it count. A nice piece of meat on the grill with a delicious herb butter melting with the juices into a luscious sauce. I think that says special occasion. I used pork chops for this recipe (from my favorite farm, Haskins Family Farm, of course), but steaks would work nicely too. What makes these pork chops especially good is the combination of a dry rub with a compound butter that includes tarragon, a herb with a slight licorice flavor. Tarragon is the herb that's used to flavor Bearnaise sauce, and this compound butter reminds me ever so slightly of that classic sauce. Serve up the pork chops with a baked potato and a green salad, and you have a nice summer meal. What am I saying? An amazing summer meal. 


The dry rub doubles easily and can be stored indefinitely in an airtight container. Also, feel free to mix up the spices any way you like. Just try to maintain the same proportions (4 parts sugar, 2 parts salt, about 2 parts spices). Similarly, the compound butter is easy to double. If you have any left, just roll it into logs and freeze for another occasion. (However, I like it on toast or crackers.)

Ingredients
  • 2-4 large pork chops, about an inch thick


FOR THE DRY RUB
  • 4 Tbsps brown sugar
  • 2 Tbsps kosher salt
  • 1 Tbsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp each of dry mustard, ground white pepper, cayenne pepper, dried ginger, and cumin 

FOR THE COMPOUND BUTTER
  • 4 Tbsp butter, softened
  • 2 Tbsp fresh tarragon, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt




Instructions
  1. Prepare the dry rub: Mix sugar, salt, and spices into an even mix. 
  2. Rinse the pork chops, pat them dry. Place them on a large plate. Sprinkle about a tablespoon of dry rub on both sides of every pork chop. Place in the refrigerator for at least 20 minutes, up to 24 hours. Let them sit at room temperature for at least 20 minutes before putting them on the heat.   
  3. Prepare the compound butter by blending butter, chopped herbs, crushed garlic, and salt into an even paste. Set aside for now. 
  4. Fire up the grill. (I have a strong preference for charcoal, but if you've got a gas grill, well, I suppose you must.)
  5. When the fire is medium hot, place the pork chops on the grill. Cook them for five to seven minutes on each side. Check the internal temperature with a meat thermometer. According to my thermometer, the internal temp should be 160 degrees. However, I usually pull the pork chops off the grill at about 155 to avoid drying them out.  
  6. Take the pork off the heat. Put a tablespoon of the tarragon butter on each pork chop and let them rest for 10 minutes before serving. 
Happy Father's Day! And, if you would like a little more Father's Day goodness, check out #SundaySupper, a group of food bloggers who are trying to highlight the importance of connecting with family and friends for a Sunday meal. #SundaySupper is the brainchild of Isabel at Family Foodie.

Here is the whole #SundaySupper menu and links to participating blogs:

Father's Day Brunch:
Dad's Favorite Soup, Salads, and Bread:
Father's Day Favorite Mains:
Dad's Sweet Tooth:
Wine Pairings for Father's Day ENOFYLZ

And don't forget to join the conversation on Twitter. Just follow the hash tag #SundaySupper.

32 comments:

  1. I love, love, love tarragon! I have had it in many dishes but not yet with pork chops. I have to give this recipe a try.

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    1. It's kind of a messy herb, but easy to grow and really has a unique and wonderful flavor. I loved the way the rub and the butter came together in this.

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  2. Gorgeous!!Love the color and the lovely flavors in your dish!!Thanks for sharing :)

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    1. Thanks! I adore color, so I think I instinctively make sure there's color in my food.

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  3. Great combination of flavors! Fresh tarragon is such a great herb.

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    1. Thanks. The combination of flavors is really what made this dish.

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  4. Replies
    1. Yeah, I love butter, and I think that the occasional serious indulgence in it isn't going to hurt you.

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  5. These chops look fantastic! All the men in my life would approve!!!

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    1. Oh good! I hope they get a chance to enjoy them.

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  6. I too love Tarragon and can never find enough good recipes that call for it - thank you so much for sharing this - can't wait to try it!

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    1. Yeah, tarragon is definitely one of those herbs that doesn't get enough love. It has a fantastic flavor, and it's very easy to grow. I think people are put off when they hear it tastes a little like licorice and don't give it a chance.

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  7. Hi Tora,

    My does that tarragon butter look good! You're growing your own tarragon as well? It makes me want to run out and buy a tarragon plant! I haven't cooked much with tarragon, but you've just inspired me. Your blog is just lovely!

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    1. Aw thanks! Tarragon is definitely easy to grow, but it's a bit messy (doesn't shape itself nicely), but it tastes amazing.

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  8. These pork chops look amazing and I especially love the tarragon butter! So glad to have found your blog through #sundaysupper!

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    1. Thanks! I am glad to have found yours too!

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  9. I am a big fan of herbed butter. Wouldn't have thought of using it on meat, but it makes perfect sense. Bookmarked!

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    1. :) Meat, steamed vegetables, potatoes. Hard to go wrong with herbed butter, really.

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  10. I love pork chops, but don't make them often (hate when I accidentally overcook them)... this recipe sounds too good to pass up!

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    1. Well, this butter would be great on steaks or just about any other kind of meat. Actually, it just occurred to me that it would be delicious on fish too.

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  11. I am new to pork chops so I welcome new ways to cook them. And this sounds amazing! Grilling is so much better in this heat.

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    1. Yes, it is a lot nicer to keep the heat outside. Besides, I love how cavewoman cooking over an open fire makes me feel. :)

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  12. Oh my gosh Amazing tarragon butter! Thanks for sharing it with us for #SundaySupper

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    1. Oh sure, I was just excited to get to use some of the tarragon I've got growing. I haven't had it for a quite a while.

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  13. I have plenty of tarragon growing in my herb garden and don't really know what to do with it-now I do! Can't wait to try this butter, thanks for sharing!

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    1. Yeah, it grows a bit like a weed! When it comes time to harvest it, you could make a big batch of the butter and store in the freezer. That way you could have that fresh herb taste for most of the winter. (Tarragon is one of those herbs, like basil, that just doesn't seem to retain much flavor when it's dried.)

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  14. Grilled pork chops are on my menu this week. I will have to give the tarragon butter a try.

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    1. It's so easy and so delicious. I am sure you will love it.

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  15. These look so good. My dad loved pork chops. He would have flipped his lid for these.

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    1. Well, I hope you can enjoy them and remember your dad with happiness and love.

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  16. This looks Yumm ! Love pork chops and this looks like a neat recipe ! Lovely pics :) Thanks for sharing !!

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    1. Thanks! I know I have so much more to learn about taking good food photos, but I appreciate the compliment!

      The recipe is fairly easy and creates some complex flavors. I hope you enjoy it!

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