Every Saturday when we go to the Broad Ripple Farmers Market, I stop to chat with the folks who have the shagbark hickory syrup stand. You may have read about their syrup many blogs ago. It's a really fun story. Recreate an old recipe. Become a source for some of the best restaurants in the nation. And, OMG, is it ever wonderful stuff. So, on the side, he's got this basket filled with bags of hickory bark. Connie, as usual, has a ton of questions. Have you already processed this for syrup? How long do you soak it? How many do you use? How do you smoke meats anyhow? Our buddy (ok, next weekend I'm going to try and remember to ask his name!) patiently responds. Yes, it's already been processed for syrup. Soak it for 30 -60 minutes. Depends on how much meat you're cooking. Depends on whether your grill has a smoker box or you need to create your own aluminum foil smoker... Luckily, our grill has a smoker box. My bet is that this recipe originally came from the folks who make Kikkoman since it calls for Kikkoman soy sauce. We get home from a long day at the office Monday and pull these marinated pork chops out of the refrigerator to bring them up to room temp. Connie soaks the hickory bark then puts it in the smoker box. Soon, the wonderful aroma of hickory smoke fills the screened porch. I keep finding excuses to wander out there just to sniff. He has the heat on the right, the indirect heat in the middle and the smoker on the left. We put the chops on for about 4 minutes a side. Take them off to rest for a couple of mintues - rest, it lets the juices redistribute. And, finally, serve dinner. Nirvana!
Hickory Smoked Pork Chops
1/4 c soy sauce
1/4 c dry white wine
1 T vegetable or olive oil(not EVOO!)
1 t grated lemon peel
1 sprig fresh thyme or 1 t dried, crumbled
4 T minced green onions or 1 T TJ's dried shallots
4 center cut pork chops
hickory bark or chips
Combine all the marinade ingredients.
Put the pork chops in a freezer bag.
Pour in the marinade and allow to marinate overnight in the refrigerator.
Soak the chips or bark for at least 30 minutes. If you've got a smoker, put the bark in the smoker. Otherwise, use heavy duty aluminum foil and make your own smoker. Put the bark in the foil and punch several holes in it. Place it on your charcoal to smoke. While the bark is soaking, bring the chops up to room temperature. The amount of time on the grill per side will depend on the thickness of your chops. Ours were about 1/2" and we did about 4 minutes per side -totally on the indirect heat. Connie may have to arm wrestle me for the last chop for lunch tomorrow. It was that good!