Smoked & Maple Glazed Pork Chops + My Pork Brine Recipe ( Keto Friendly )
For The Brine:
1-2 bay leaves
6 cloves ( whole )
1 - 4 " stick of cinnamon
1 Tbsp ( heaping ) of Juniper Berries
3 Tbsp. Sweetener ( I used Lakanto Monkfruit because I want to keep it Keto. You can use whatever sweetener you want. )
3 Tbsp. salt - I used the Pink Himalayan from Costco
1 Tbsp. peppercorns - I like green but you use whatever kind you want to.
4-8 garlic cloves or 1 - 2 Tbsp. of minced garlic
1 cup of water
4 cups of ice
I used this recipe on approximately 5-6 pounds of pork chops from Costco. Lightly crush the bay leaves, cloves, cinnamon, Juniper Berries, peppercorns, and garlic cloves. Heat up a medium size pot and add your crushed spices. Allow the spices to warm up for a minute or two too bring out their flavors and make them bloom. Add in the cup of water, salt, and sweetener. Let this cook together for 5-10 minutes to bring everything together. Once your brine is infused nicely with all your flavors add in the ice cubes to cool off the mixture.
I place my pork chops in a large zip lock bag and add in the brine. I like to take a pyrex bowl and put the bag of chops inside to prevent any leaking from dripping into my refrigerator and making a mess. Let the pork chops sit in your fridge over night. I have had circumstances happen where I couldn't cook them the next day and they sat in the brine for two days. They turned out just fine, however if your chops are very thin, this might be a problem.
For BBQ Sauce or Glaze
1 cup of BBQ Sauce ( shown above or whatever sauce you choose )
2 Tbsp. Lakanto Monkfruit Sugar Free Maple Syrup Substitute
4 Tbsp. melted butter
Once your chops are done brining, gently rinse them off. I don't rinse them too much, because I don't want all the brine rinsed off, only some or most of it. Pat your pork chops dry. Wet chops are not your friend. You won't be able to get them seared well if they haven't been dried well. I like to brush them with a little avocado oil because in my opinion any oil or fat helps them stay juicy and not dry out.
If you're using a smoker maze, place the maze off to one side with a thick sheet of aluminum foil underneath and no flame going under or near the maze. Add in the smoker pellets of your choice. I like cherry with pork. It can take a while to get the smoker going steadily and at a nice pace so you may want to start it going before you are ready to start cooking the pork chops. Light one end of the smoker maze until it starts smoldering. Keep water near bye in case anything goes wrong and you need to extinguish any unwanted fires. Make sure you read and follow all the instructions and warnings that come along with your smoker maze. Now the pellets can handle a little water being sprayed on them but if you drench them to the point that they expand and come apart, you will have to dispose of them once its safe to do so and start over again. Once these pellets absorb water they are no longer good for smoker as they will no longer smoke and smolder but act as kindling and start a fire! Not what we want here.
To grill and smoke your chops, get the grill going high at the opposite end as the smoker maze ( if using ). Sear the pork chops both horizontally and vertically on both sides. Once they are all seared and have beautiful grill marks. Use 1-2 aluminum trays ( again on the opposite side of the grill as the smoker maze ) and place your pork chops in them as separated as possible as we want the smoke to have access to as much surface as possible. Make sure you watch the video as well as reading here to make sure you are as safe and successful as possible. Brush your chops with the bbq sauce on all sides. Make sure you don't leave any flames unattended and re-baste your chops with sauce as many times as you want. Cooking times will vary considerably depending on how thick your chops are, how hot you get your bbq, what the weather outside is like, and etc. Use a meat thermometer to make sure your chops are done before serving.
I like to serve these with coleslaw, my keto country gravy, fully loaded mashed potatoes, or any combination of the above.
Below is a picture of the maple syrup substitute that I use. I like it because I think that Monkfruit is better than artificial sweeteners. Now I do use artificial sweeteners sometimes but when possible I try and reduce how much I use them, but you do whatever works best for you. If you can't get your hands on this in time to make your bbq sauce you might want to try and use a little maple extract and some sweetener to your favorite bbq sauce.
Below is a picture of the green peppercorns that I use. Sometimes spending more money will get you a better product and sometimes it won't. This luckily is one of those times that I have found spending more will get you no additional benefit. This brand sells a really good product and at a very reasonable price. I got mine from Amazon. Many regular grocery stores do carry this brand so you might want to check your local store first.