Sunday, February 16, 2014

Spare rib chops in barbecue sauce

If you find that pork chops are too often dry, you may be pleased to find spare rib pork chops, which come from the shoulder (whereas, confusingly, spare ribs come from the belly). You can grill or fry them, and you can also braise them slowly, without causing them to turn tough. The ones I cooked yesterday – from the excellent Highbury Butchers – were tender, with just enough fat to keep them moist.

In a recipe for Hawaiian pork chops in yesterday's Guardian, Yotam Ottolenghi advised that you marinate the chops, then scrape off the marinade before grilling them, and then recombine them with the marinade for a brief roasting. If cooked for longer, the chops will become tough. But you can poach spare rib chops, for about an hour and a quarter, before slicing them and combining them with your marinade. Finish them by blasting them in a hot oven (gas mark 8, 230C ) for 15 minutes.

The first advantage of this two-stage process is that you get tender meat. The second is that if you had roasted the chops from raw, you would have found that they exuded a good deal of water, making it difficult to achieve the ideally sticky result. The third is that if your marinade includes ingredients such as honey and soy, it will not spend long enough in the oven to burn.

My marinade, for 2-3: two cloves of garlic, crushed with a little salt; 2tbsp tomato ketchup; 1tsp honey; 1tsp Dijon mustard; a few splashes of soy sauce; 1dsp sunflower oil; generous grindings of black pepper.

Don't throw away the liquid in which you poached the chops. Today, we enjoyed a lovely soup made with this liquid and onions, garlic, squash, and red lentils.

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