A simple basic brine combined with tangy apricot and smokey grill flavors makes for some seriously tender and juicy glazed grilled pork chops.
Fruit flavors and pork go together like beer and football. I was going to say “peas and carrots”, but I don’t like the gratuitous use of vegetables when it should be all about the meat. Perhaps I should go with: “goes together like burger and fries”. Yeah, let’s go with that.
Fruit woods, fruit juices and fruit sauces are all perfect pork partners. Cherry and apple are perhaps the most common combos, but I urge you to reconsider the humble apricot. Not only is the sweet-tart taste great, but the vivid orange color gives an incredible lacquered finish. And, as I’ve said time and time again, we eat with our eyes, so it’s important to have great looking food, too.
A couple of tips for nailing this recipe:
- Because of the high sugar content of the preserve, you’re going to need to set your grill up with a hot and cool zone for cooking. This will help you keep the pork chops juicy and avoid burning the glaze. To learn more about setting up a grill for two zone cooking, check out this guide.
- You are going to need to use a meat thermometer for this recipe, and it’s important for two reasons. Firstly, pork needs to be cooked to a certain temperature for safe consumption (which is 145f, btw). So you can make sure the food you’re cooking, serving and eating is safe. Secondly, if you are more aware of the internal temperature and remove the pork right as it is safe to eat, you’ll also avoid drying it out. I use and recommend professional-grade thermapen thermometers, but you can use any type of meat thermometer. The advantage of the professional style one is that it reads very fast (especially important when smoking meats), and is calibrated for accuracy.
- Finally, if you are using a jam, jelly or preserve that has large pieces of fruit, I thoroughly recommend you strain it after warming with the other ingredients. The fruit chunks get in the way of your brush, and also can mess up your perfect mirror-finish glaze.
Apricot Glazed Grilled Pork Chops
6 thick cut bone in pork chops
For the brine:
1/2 cup kosher salt
1/2 cup sugar
8 cups water
For the glaze:
3/4 cup Apricot preserve
1/4 cup cider vinegar
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon paprika
extra salt to taste
- Start by preparing the brine. Combine sugar, salt and water in a saucepan and heat gently, stirring until granules have dissolved. Allow the mixture to cool and return to room temperature.
- Place pork chops in a bowl or large zip top bag, and add in cooled brine so meat is completely immersed. Cover or seal, and place in fridge for 2-6 hours.
- Heat a grill for two zone cooking. Instructions for doing this can be found linked in the post above.
- Prepare the glaze by combining the preserves, vinegar, garlic powder and paprika in a small saucepan. Heat 3-5 minutes over a low flame and stir to combine. If you are using preserves that have larger fruit chunks, you will need to strain your glaze at this stage, then return it to the pan.
- Remove the chops from brine, and place onto the direct heat/ hot part of the grill. Sprinkle with a little extra salt. Cook 4-6 minutes until color has developed, then flip and cook on the other side.
- Once your chops have developed a deep brown color with grill marks, move them to the cool size of the grill. Brush with the glaze and continue cooking, turning the chops every 4-6 minutes and applying more glaze until the internal temperature reaches 143f. Remove from grill.
- Coat with one final application of glaze before serving.