Thursday, September 19, 2013

Jerked Pork Chops and Smoked Potatoes

J has been after me to make smoked potatoes, which we discovered recently at a restaurant that I can't remember. Last night I made them, using the tried and true recipe that I got from Laura Calder and eight minutes in my Cameron stove-top smoker.

The potatoes spurred me to fill out the menu with Caribbean Jerk Pork Chops, rubbed with a jerk paste and, again, smoked in my stove-top stuffer. The sauce is from Big Bob Gibson, the procedure is the product of experimentation by yours truly.

It's easy to dry out pork chops, especially when smoking them, so it's important to find moist ones with some fat. The other approach - brining them - helps but does not produce the rich flavor that rendering fat produces. I made the trek to the Essex Market to find chops at Heritage Meat Shop (the retail space of Heritage Farms), and was rewarded with these gorgeous Tamworth chops.

Tamworth pork chops from Heritage Meat Market
Now it was just a matter of rubbing them with the jerk sauce, smoking them and finishing first in the oven and then under a broiler. Here's the result, with the potatoes and some sauteed zucchini; not a great picture, I'm afraid, but the tastes were there. The accompanying jerk-spiced barbecue sauce tied the plate together a bit and brought the chops to life.

Smoked potatoes, Tamworth pork chop and grated zucchini
The recipes for the pork chops and the smoke potatoes follow:

Caribbean Jerk Pork Chops
(Big Bob Gibson)


·       1 habañero chile, seeded and chopped
·       1 small onion, coarsely chopped
·       1 scallion, thinly sliced
·       1 garlic clove, thinly sliced
·       1 teaspoon ground allspice
·       3/4 teaspoon dried thyme
·       1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
·       1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
·       1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
·       Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
·       1 tablespoon vegetable oil, plus more for brushing
·       1 cup store-bought Kansas City–style barbecue sauce
·       4 pork rib chops (12 ounces each)
·       2 ½ TBS hickory, pecan or oak chips


1.     In a mini food processor, combine the habañero, onion, scallion, garlic, allspice, thyme, ginger, nutmeg and cinnamon. Add 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt and 1 teaspoon of pepper. Process until finely chopped. Add the 1 tablespoon of oil and process to a smooth paste.

2.     In a small bowl, whisk 1 tablespoon of the paste with the barbecue sauce. Spread the remaining paste all over the chops and let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes.

3.     Put wood chips into Cameron smoker. Cover and let the chips begin to smoke, about 5 minutes.

4.     Cook the chops in smoker over moderately high heat for 30 minutes.  Check temperature with a meat thermometer close to the bone. If necessary, put into 400 oven and roast for a few minutes, until they are lightly charred the temperature is about 140°. Transfer the chops to a platter and let rest a few minutes.  Then broil on one side until they get a nice color, about 3 minutes, and serve with the spiced barbecue sauce on the side.

NOTE 1: This is a very hot sauce.  Best to put less jerk mix into the BBQ sauce.

NOTE 2: Big Bob uses the jerk rub for slow-cooked pork.

Smoked Squished Baby Potatoes
(Laura Calder, Bobby Jay)


·       2 lbs baby Yukon Gold potatoes
·       Kosher salt and pepper
·       olive oil
·       2 TBS hickory, pecan or oak chips


1.     Scrub the potatoes and place them in salted water. Bring to a boil and cook until tender, but not totally soft.

2.     Flatten the potatoes a little with a mallet, a ramekin or your hand.

3.     Put wood chips into Cameron smoker. Cover and let the chips begin to smoke, about 5 minutes.

4.     Cook the potatoes in smoker over moderately high heat for 7-8 minutes.

5.     Put the potatoes on a baking sheet and bake in 400° oven for about 35 minutes, until they are crispy on the outside and soft on the inside.


Bobby Jay

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