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Sweet Tea Brined Pork Chops

Posted: Friday, Sep. 27, 2013

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Chef Troy Gagliardo

CChef Troy Gagliardo is a self-taught chef that has parlayed his years of kitchen experience into many other culinary ventures. Including a proprietary spice line, cook books, commercials, food styling, cooking/restaurant columns, endorsements, cooking classes, and live appearances. Troy has been voted as one of the Charlotte’s Top Five Chefs two years in a row by Creative Loafing readers. Chef Troy has appeared in two national commercials with NASCAR legend Dale Earnhardt Jr. and joined him for a media tour day just days before Dale Jr. won his second Daytona 500 to start the 2014 NASCAR season. For the past seven years, Chef Troy has appeared each week on Charlotte's morning show WCCB News Rising, cooking his way through "Troy’s Everyday Eats". Filmed live each week at the WCCB Charlotte studios, Chef Troy teaches his unique style of food with a simple Warren publishing recently signed Chef Troy to publish his new cookbook entitled Pseudo Southern-a playful twist on the art of southern cooking, which has been endorsed by Top Chef Alum and best-selling author Fabio Viviani and also star of “A Chef’s Life” Vivian Howard. Fabio said of Pseudo Southern, "Southern food is my second home. It's as close to my heart like Italy is, and that is why I love Troy's recipes so much. They remind me of the childhood I would have had if I was born in the south”. Vivian had this to say, “Troy’s take on southern food is just left of center, fun, and refreshing. His recipes are approachable that even the most jaded cook will be intrigued to try.” Chef Troy is also a free-lance food writer for the Charlotte Observer and Examiner.com and lives in Mooresville, NC with his wife Tracy, of twenty-three years, and their two daughters, Ally and Isabella. He can be seen every Tuesday morning from 7-9 am on WCCB News Rising.

Sweet tea, oh how we love you on a hot summer day with lemon and lots of ice; or even on a cold winter day with really good fried chicken. Of course sweet tea used to be only served in the south but it has made its way around the country and is swiping the nation as a most popular alternative to soda drinks.

So not that we are all acclimated to this thirst quenching beverage I thought I would find another use for it…as a brine. Brines are simply water, salt, sugar and any other flavoring you want to add. Its purpose is to rehydrate the cells of the protein that is being brined, (submerged into like a marinade) leaving the finished cooked product moister than you could ever imagine.

It is a simple process, as listed below in this recipe for pork chops, so much so that you will want to brine chicken, shrimp or even fish. Fish and shrimp won’t need as long as a brine as a whole chicken, or even these pork chops but will make a noticeable difference on your plate.

Sweet Tea Brined Pork Chops

• 4 Cup-Sweet Tea
• ¼ Cup-Kosher Salt
• 2 Cups-Ice
• 1 Each Lemon-halved
• ¼ Cup-Parsley-rough chopped stem and all
• 4 Each-Thick Cut Bone-In Pork Chop
• To Coat-Olive Oil
• To Taste-Chef Troy’s Spice Mix


1. Place tea in a stock pot and heat to a slow simmer.
2. Stir in salt until dissolved.
3. Remove from heat and let cool for 10-15 minutes and add ice.
4. Squeeze lemon into team, add lemon halves and parsley.
5. Place chicken in large zip bag and add cold brine.
6. Seal bag, place bag in a large bowl and place in refrigerator for 24 hours.
7. Remove chicken, discard brine and pat chicken completely dry (inside and out).
8. Pre-heat grill for direct and indirect heat to medium high heat.
9. Lightly coat chops with oil and season with Spice Mix.
10. Place over direct heat season side down, season other side and close lid.
11. Cook for 3-5 minutes or until slightly charred, turn without flipping and cook another couple of minutes.
12. Flip chops, cook 3-5 minutes and move over to indirect heat side.
13. Cook to desired temperature and remove.
14. Place on a serving platter and let rest for 10 minutes.
15. Serve with Bourbon Demi Glaze, see recipe below.

Easy Bourbon Demi Glaze

• 2 Strips-Bacon-sliced into thin strips
• 2 Tablespoons-Carrot-fine dice
• 2 Tablespoons-Onion-fine dice
• 2 Tablespoon-Celery-fine dice
• 2 Tablespoons-All Purpose Flour
• 2 Tablespoons-Bourbon
• 2 Teaspoons-Balsamic Vinegar
• 3 Cups-Beef Stock
• 2 Bay Leaves
• 5 Stems-Thyme
• To Taste-Kosher Salt/Black Pepper


1. Warm pot over medium heat and add bacon.
2. Cook until bacon starts to color and add carrot, onion and celery.
3. Cook stirring frequently until veg begins to brown.
4. Add flour, stir to coat vegetables and cook until flour starts to turn a light tan color.
5. Add bourbon and cook until most has evaporated and add stock.
6. Tie bay leaves and thyme together and place in pot.
7. Bring to a light simmer, reduce heat and cook until sauce starts to thicken. (should coat a spoon)
8. Strain sauce, place back in pot and season to taste with salt/pepper.
9. Keep over low heat, stirring occasionally until ready to serve.

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