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Dinner Rush! Porterhouse Pork Chops with Balsamic Roasted Grapes

Butchery has never been my strong suit. I was a baking and pastry major in college and managed to pick up cooking along the way. I think I’m pretty good at it. Meat, however, has just never been my thing. Navigating my way through half of a cow or pig to net out with individual cuts is a feat that has always left me baffled.

Earlier in the year, the USDA started a new press campaign to rename common cuts of beef and pork, which I’m super on board with. The overarching goal (which will really help us aspiring butchers) is to sync up the names of similarly shaped cuts from two different animals. I’ve got a tremendous amount of respect for the craft of the butcher, but I cannot, for the life of me, keep all of the different cut names straight. Imagine my elation when this whole thing came full circle and porterhouse pork chops starting showing up in the meat case at my local market. I know exactly what I’m getting. I know exactly how to cook it. And I feel just a bit smarter because of it.

Here’s the problem with too much information, though: The more you know, the less material you have when flirt-chatting with Jeremy the blue-eyed butcher.

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Dinner Rush! Sweet and Sticky Pork Chops

I’ve seen lots of savory jams popping up in food magazines and blogs lately. As the name would imply, chefs lately have taken a liking to making jams flavored with savory ingredients like mustard seeds, bay leaves, tomatoes, onions or  — everyone’s favorite flavoring agent  — bacon.

The sauce served with this week’s Dinner Rush! is a riff on this idea. While not going through the whole process a professional chef might, we’re achieving the same effect  — blending sweet and savory into a deliciously balanced sauce that’s great to serve with grilled meats, or even a cheese plate should you have leftovers.

I went with a BBQ-Thai fusion for this particular recipe, bringing in chili powder, fish sauce and lime. Experiment and use what you like; just be mindful that the more the syrup cooks the thicker it’s going to get, which will eventually mean a panful of rock candy. If the sauce gets too thick, add a splash more chicken stock to bring it back to a pourable consistency.

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