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Stuffed Pork Chops

Stuff and grill these pork chops full of flavor

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The first thing you probably think of when I say stuffed pork chops is some thick chop filled with a traditional breadcrumb stuffing. While this might be fine for oven roasted chops where you can get away with leaving them undisturbed for the whole cooking time, this doesn't work quiet as well on the grill. And, of course, you can do so much more with stuffing than pulling out the stale bread. A pork chop should be stuffed with flavor, not filling.

Making a Pocket: There are several ways to cut a pork chop, just as there are several cuts of chop. I suggest that you leave out the bone and go with loin chops. Loin chops are more tender and just a better kind of pork chop. If you get them about 1 1/2 inches thick (about 4 centimeters) you'll have plenty of room to make your pocket. Some people will tell you to butterfly the chops, but I don’t find this as easy on the grill. A butterflied pork chop is cut all the way through, leaving a thin connection on one side so you can open it like a book. This means you need to pin the chop back together to hold in the stuffing.

The other way to cut the pork chop is to make a pocket. While this is more difficult in the carving it will make a stuffed chop that holds together better. To make a pocket, start by pushing a knife into the side of the chop and cutting out a square space inside the chop that has a small opening. The goal here is to make a space inside the chop with about a 1/4 inch point of connection on three sides of the chop. This makes room for the stuffing but also holds it inside the chop where you want it.

Preparing the Chop: Once you have the pork chop ready for the stuffing it is time to prepare the pork chop. Just because you are going to put in stuffing doesn't mean you have made your pork chop as flavorful or tender as you can. Now you want to consider either a marinade or a brine for your pork chop. You want your pocket made before you do this so that your brine or marinade can get into the pocket. This increases the effect of the brine or marinade. However, you need, to make sure that this gets inside the pocket, so you can either pour the solution inside the pocket while you hold is open or prop open the chop with a toothpick.

Stuffing the Chop: Now you are ready for the easy part, stuffing the pork chop. You want a stuffing that is firm enough to stay put and fine enough to fit into the pocket. Remember that the stuffing should compliment the chop, not overpower it so choose something with a lot of flavor and don't over stuff. You want to work the stuffing into the pork chop so that it is evenly distributed. Don't put a big ball of stuffing in there. Also, over stuffing will lead to the stuffing leaking out. The pork chop is going to shrink as it cooks so don't stuff tightly. You might need to thread a toothpick through the pork chop to keep it closed.

Grilling the Chop: With the pork chop stuffed and ready to cook get your grill good and hot. You want to put the pork chop onto a hot grill for a few minutes then reduce the heat or move them to a cooler part of the grill. Because of the thickness of the chop and the stuffing it will need a little extra cooking time to get done through to the center. So, aim for about one minute on each side over a high heat and then about 5 minutes per side over a medium low heat. When the chops are done remove them from the grill and let them rest for five minutes. This will allow the meat to relax and the juices to flow back. It also allows the pork chop to continue cooking through the center. For this reason you want to remove the chops from the grill a little before they are completely cooked.

The one thing to watch out for with stuffed pork chops is how you turn them. You need to be gentle and you need to not squeeze the chop with your tongs. You don't want to squeeze out the stuffing. Other than that, these are great, flavorful chops that make a great meal.

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