Friday, October 7, 2011

Grilled Pork Chops, Sweet Potatoes, and Delicata Squash

I've heard tell you can grill anything.

Sure, why not?

I had six fat pork chops, 3 big sweet potatoes (ok, yams, they were orange) and two pretty yellow-and-green striped delicata squash.  They all wanted to sacrifice themselves on my grill for the benefit of my family - wasn't that kind?

This meal was meant to be cooked night before last, but then our family of 8 had too many directions to go and threw in the towel on dinner.  They ate mac and cheese and pizza instead.

But it all worked out in everyone's favor, because I'd already put the pork chops into a marinade.  Splash of white wine, some salt and pepper, and a couple of chopped garlic cloves.  I remember something I'd read in a magazine about letting pork chops sit in a "brine" for 24 hours before cooking and I said "ah ha!" and added a couple cups of water to the previous marinade.  Oh, and two tablespoons of sugar.  Into a plastic bag, into the fridge til the next day.

The squash and sweet potatoes would be easy, surely.

Delicata squash is lovely.  It's a winter squash, but you can eat the skin, as it's not terribly thick, and when cooked, becomes tender and sweet.  I sliced the squash about 1/2 inch thick (rings) and then used a small biscuit cutter to remove the center seed and pulp part.  The rings got tossed with olive oil and seasoned salt.

The sweet potatoes stayed unpeeled, sliced 1/2 thick as well into rounds, and went into a pot of boiling water, until they were just starting to get tender.  Then I drained them, let them cool, and peeled off the skin.  They got a treatment of just olive oil and salt, because later I'd crumble on blue cheese (for those who like) after they came off the grill.

I cook on a 20 year old Weber charcoal grill.  Rather, I should say Eric does most of the grilling.  Sorry to be severe on my own sex, but I really do believe that men were designed to cook meat over fire.  And they look so good doing it.

But I digress.

Tonight I grilled.  And learned two important lessons - go ahead and put the pork chops over the direct heat, but for pete's sake, don't cover the grill and let the heat go out.  A desperate phone call to my husband was made and I got things going properly, and the pork chops got marked nicely, and not at all over-cooked, and were the must tender, juicy, succulent chops I've ever put in my mouth.  It was due to the BRINE.  Trust me, it was not the cook.

The other important lesson I learned is DO NOT put delicata squash over direct heat.  That is, of course, you like your squash blackened.  Indirect heat.  Oh, well.  I learned!

All in all, the chops took about 7-8 minutes per side.  The squash and potatoes took about 3 minutes per side, if that.  Do the meat first, remove to a plate and cover with foil, then do the veggies. 




Here's a little plate of goodness.

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