Everyone needs an Angelo, your local Italian butcher. He does live and work an hour away and that is local enough for us. Angelo over the years has been a good friend and spectacular butcher. We recently visited our friend Angelo to pick up some smoked pork chops. We visited our friend and swapped stories. Let me give you a small secret when visiting Angleo. Be prepared for the handshake. Angelo possess hands the size of baseball catchers mitts. He also believes in an old fashion ‘mano y mano’ firm if not death grip shake. If you are not prepared to exchange a strong shake be prepared to drop to the ground to Angelo’s amusement. I have learned my lesson in proper greeting etiquette.
Angelo’s smoked pork chops have been pre-cooked in the smoker. They only really need to be browned and heated thoroughly. We are going to brown them in a skillet and finish them in the oven with rice and vegetables. We used a melody of garlic, onion, celery, chopped tomato’s and spices to flavor our rice. A couple of slices of bacon provided a little love to start the process. Our rendered bacon love was used to briefly brown the pork chops. They were reserved. We briefly sauted the rest of the ingredients. We returned the chops to the pan and covered with chicken stock. A 30 minute trip to a 350 degree oven and we were ready to enjoy dinner.
We always look for an excuse to visit our friend Angelo. There is the added bonus we will leave his shop with meaty treats. (You may also leave with a sore hand if you are not careful). These smoked pork chops had just the right amount of smoke. They also had a hint of sweetness from the initial brine. The all important element of balance of smoke, sweet,and seasoning was perfect. This was a dinner to be enjoyed.