The City Magazine Since 1975

Grilled Orange Pepper Brined Pork Chops with Grandma’s Squash Casserole

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For the squash casserole:  
1 (8.5 oz.) box Jiffy Corn Muffin Mix
4 yellow squash, washed, trimmed, and sliced (about 1¼ lbs.)
3 oz. water
1/4 tsp. kosher salt
Pinch black pepper
5 1/2 Tbs. salted butter, divided                                          
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup shredded mild cheddar cheese                                    
2 1/2 Tbs. finely chopped cooked bacon
8-inch by 8-inch baking dish, buttered  

For the pork chops:
2 qts. water
1/2 cup sea salt
3/4 cup orange pepper plus extra for  seasoning (can be purchased at
2 qts. ice water
1 (approximately 4 lb.) Frenched pork rack with at least 4 bones on it (a good butcher will french the rack for you)
Olive oil


For the squash casserole:

Prepare the muffin mix according to package directions for a pan. Cool to room temperature. Trim off brown edges and discard. Coarsely crumble the remaining corn bread (about two cups) into a medium bowl and set aside.
Preheat oven to 325°F. Combine squash, water, salt, and pepper in a saucepan over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer about 20 minutes, or until tender. Drain.

Meanwhile, heat 11/2 tablespoons of the butter in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring frequently, until translucent, three to five minutes. Melt two tablespoons of the butter in a small saucepan.

Put the cheese, bacon, and crumbled corn bread in a large bowl and mix to combine. Set aside six tablespoons. Add the squash and onions to the remaining corn bread mixture and combine. Slowly mix in 1½ tablespoons of melted butter to achieve a wet, crumbly consistency. Add an additional tablespoon of butter if needed.

Put the squash mixture in the baking dish. Sprinkle the reserved corn bread mixture evenly over the top. Dot with the remaining two tablespoons of butter. Bake for 20 minutes, or until the casserole is bubbly and the topping is golden brown. 

For the pork chops:
Put the water, sea salt, and orange pepper in a large pot over high heat, stir well to combine and bring to a boil. Boil for two minutes and remove from the heat. Add the ice water, strain through a fine mesh strainer into a large heatproof container and cool to room temperature. Place the pork in the container, cover, and refrigerate for at least 12 hours. Turn the pork occasionally.

Remove the pork from the brine and pat dry. Slice the rack along the bones to create four equal-sized pork chops, about 1¼ inches thick. Let come to room temperature.

Prepare a hot grill with the coals high on one side and low on the other. Once hot, scrub the grilling surface clean. Rub olive oil very lightly on each side of the pork chops. Sprinkle each side lightly with orange pepper.

Sear the chops on both sides over the high coals, then move them to the side with lower coals and cover the grill. Grill them for approximately six minutes, or until a digital thermometer registers between 145 and 150°F. They should be lightly pink inside and still juicy. Place them on a platter and allow them to rest for five minutes before serving. The temperature will rise another five degrees. Serve with the squash casserole.