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New Faithful: Lemon Thyme Pork Chops

By October 12, 2011September 19th, 2019Cuisine, Uncategorized

It took me a long time to come back to pork chops.  



They haunted my childhood in the dried and tasteless form of a dish always referred to in our family as “Old Faithful,” which was hands-down my Dad’s top favorite dish (I get my culinary tastes from my mother.)   Old Faithful went like this:  you put down a layer of Uncle Ben’s rice in a pyrex dish, then you sat some pork chops on top of them and then a tomato slice, a ring of onion, and a ring of (yeeeeeechhhhhh) green pepper.  Then you poured water on top of it and bunged it in the oven at 350 for an hour.

It was horrible.  I can’t do it justice, but I’d love to see someone like Jonathan Franzen have a go.  It was six kinds of horrible and everyone except my Dad realized it.   I vowed, as you do when you are 12 and very very very bored, to grow up and never ever have Old Faithful again.

Then I learned about brining and grilling.   I came hesitatingly back to pork as a food group and then started to experiment with treating pork chops before cooking them.  A whole new vista opened up.    Great things happen to pork chops when you give them a bit of TLC!    The combination of a sweet and salty brine and a tangy marinade get the meat ready for a quick grill or pan sear that locks in flavor and moisture.   Most of the work can be done ahead of time, which make these an idea dinner party dish or a quick midweek meal.   They go well with mashed potatoes, risotto, or just a nice green salad and a loaf of french bread.

Even my Dad has given these his seal of approval, so I’ve christened them “New Faithful.”  Give them a try!

New Faithful — Lemon Thyme Pork chops


  • 4 pork chops

For The Marinade

  • 60 ml (1/4-cup) Dijon Mustard
  • zest of one lemon
  • 45 ml (3 Tbl) fresh thyme buds
  • 60 ml (1/4-cup) good quality olive oil
  • 10 ml (2 tsp) coarse sea salt

For The Brine

  • 2 liters (2 quarts) water
  • zest and juice of one lemon
  • 60 ml (1/4-cup) salt
  • 60 ml (1/4-cup) brown sugar
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme


  1. Prepare the brine: In a large non-reactive shallow dish, combine all of the brine ingredients. Stir until the salt and sugar dissolves.
  2. Add the pork chops to the brine, taking care to ensure that the chops are completely submerged into the brine. Cover and refrigerate at least 3 hours (or up to 12).
  3. Make the marinade: combine all of the marinate ingredients in a blender or food processor.
  4. Approximately two hours before you plan to cook the chops remove them from the brine. Rinse briefly under cold running water and pat completely dry with paper towels. Brush the marinade on both sides of the chops and place them on a tray or shallow dish. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit for two hours.
  5. Cook the chops: These chops can be grilled or pan seared.

To Grill:

Preheat your grill to the hottest setting. Temper the grill with a wad of paper towels dipped in vegetable oil (use tongs for safety). Place the chops on the grill and sear for 3 minutes. Salt and pepper the opposite side before flipping. Sear the opposite side for 3 minutes. Use a pair of tongs to lift and char the fatty edge of the chops. Remove to a platter and tent with foil. Serve immediately.

To Pan Sear: 

Place a large skillet on high heat and skim with 1 teaspoon of vegetable oil. Use a paper towel to mop up excess oil. When the oil is smoking, add the chops. Sear for 2/3 minutes on each side, then remove to a platter and tent with foil.

Serve, and enjoy!


Hey there Moscovores!

Do you have an Old Faithful lurking in your culinary closet?  What’s your story? Hit the comment button and share!

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