Gluten Free Maple Brined Pork Chops Recipe

by Carol Kicinski on June 16, 2011

Gluten Free Maple Brined Pork Chops I remember once going into a beautiful, expensive restaurant in California with some really good friends almost giddy with the anticipation of having a delicious meal and some great wine with the fabulous company. I hadn’t checked out the restaurant ahead of time and it turned out there were only two main dishes on the menu that were gluten-free, one was fish and the was other a pork chop dish. I was leery of ordering the pork chop but the waitress assured me their chops were juicy and flavorful so I went for it. It arrived looking gorgeous; thick, glossy and promising succulence.

Unfortunately, like a Hollywood set facade, the beauty was deceptive. It was dry and flavorless and the fact that it was huge made it seem even worse as now there was just way too much of not-a-good-thing.

As I have mentioned before, the secret to making moist, flavorful pork chops is brining. For a simple explanation of why brining is the answer you can take a look at this post. Or you can just take my word for it!

Pork and maple have a natural affinity for each other which makes brining chops with maple a pretty brilliant idea. Personally, I love the flavor of maple but I have two problems with it. First is that it sends my blood sugar on a chaotic roller coaster ride with a few moments of bliss followed by sinking into a deep sugar coma. The second is that when it is cooked it seems to me to have a bitter, almost metallic, after-taste. Some people don’t get that with maple but for some reason I am pretty sensitive to it. So instead of using pure maple syrup for my pork chops I use Maple Flavored Organic Blue Agave Nectar from Wholesome Sweeteners. It tastes like maple but it is agave, all that wonderful maple flavor without the wild ride!

I like to use those great big, bone-in, center-cut pork chops but this recipe will work just as well with those cheap, skimpy little things you find on sale, just adjust the cooking time.

If you have time, make your brine in the morning, let the chops hang out in the fridge while you are at work and when you get home you can grill them up in less than 15 minutes. You can brine the chops anywhere from 1 to 12 hours but no more than 12.

If you have dreams of the perfect pork chop, try this recipe. You can thank me later.

Gluten Free Maple Brined Pork Chops

Gluten Free Maple Brined Pork Chops Recipe

Ingredients

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons Maple Flavored Agave Nectar, use divided
1 cup kosher salt
¾ cup Sucanat or sugar
3 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard, use divided
2 tablespoon fresh rosemary, minced
1 teaspoon black pepper
6 cups water 2 cups ice
4 center-cut loin pork chops (approximately 1 inch thick)
olive oil for brushing the chops

Directions

Combine 1 cup Maple Flavored Agave Nectar, salt, Sucanat or sugar, 3 tablespoons Dijon mustard, rosemary and black pepper with the water in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar and salt. Take off the heat, stir in the ice. Pour the brining liquid into a large plastic storage bag or into a glass baking dish deep enough to hold the chops. Add the chops and refrigerate for between 1 and 12 hours.

Heat a grill pan or skillet over medium heat until hot. Combine the remaining 2 tablespoons Maple Flavored Agave Nectar with the remaining teaspoon of Dijon mustard.

Remove the chops for the brining liquid, rinse with cold water and pat dry. Sprinkle some black pepper on each side of the chops and brush with oil.  Place the chops on the hot pan and cook 4 – 5 minutes per side depending on the thickness of the chops. Brush the cooked chops with the Maple Flavored Agave Nectar/Dijon Mustard sauce. Let the chops rest for 5 minutes and serve.

Servings

This gluten free recipe serves 4 people.

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Categories:    Main Dishes
  • http://www.heatherbrandt.com/blog Heather Brandt

    I need a sub for mustard. Our son can’t have mustard so we’re having lots of trouble figuring out yummy recipes like this one.

    • http://www.simplygluten-free.com Carol Kicinski

      Heather,

      Just leave out the mustard, it is totally great without it!

  • Elsie Hodges

    Hi Carol,

    That pork chop looks absolutely delicious! The suggestion for using Agave Nectar is great. I know about the sugar roller coaster and it’s not fun (although I went into total insulin shock only once when they were doing a glucose challenge on me.)
    I’m still not sure why the brining works to make the chops juicy and succulent though, and I’m wondering about all that salt. Isn’t that a lot of salt for four chops?

    Cheers!

    • http://www.simplygluten-free.com Carol Kicinski

      Hi Elsie, The salt goes in and out of the pork chops by means of osmosis and you rinse it off before grilling. I am not a nutritionist so I can’t answer about salt if you need to be on a low salt diet for some reason but I do know these make really moist and juicy pork chops :)

  • Donna

    This looks and sounds amazing! It is going to be on my menu this weekend!

  • http://glutenfreeeasily.com Shirley @ gfe

    I do love maple and pork together, Carol. And I didn’t know about this new agave product–thanks. You are so right about big dry, tough pork chops being the worse. It’s criminal to mess up pork. :-( This meal looks fantastic!

    xo,
    Shirley

  • http://intolerantchef.blogspot.com/ InTolerantChef

    What a terrific idea! I’ll make these next time I’m putting some chops on the BBQ, pork is one of hard ones to cook without drying out and brining is a fantastic technique. Yummm…

  • Pingback: Weekly Gluten-Free Round Up – June 19, 2011 « Celiac Kitchen Witch

  • http://blog.glutenfreeclub.com Angie Halten

    I can’t wait to try this one! I find pork chops so dry and flavorless, that I rarely make them. I brine my turkey, but never thought to do it on small cuts of meat. Thanks for the idea!

    • http://www.simplygluten-free.com Carol Kicinski

      You are very welcome Angie and thank you!

  • http://www.familyfreshcooking.com/ Marla

    Pork and maple do have a natural affinity for each other, then again rosemary does too. This recipe would be great on the grill too.

  • Pingback: Tasty Eats at Home » Dijon and Honey Pork Chops

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