Updated: Aug 9, 2019
I'm always excited to experiment with new techniques and gadgets in the kitchen. Recently, I picked up a sous vide stick from Sunset Ridge Home and Hardware (my fave place in San Antonio to shop for cookware). I've been wanting to try out sous vide cooking for years- boy oh boy am I excited about my latest gizmo. It's very easy to use (even for a first timer like me), and it's a lot smaller than I was imagining, so doesn't consume a lot of space in the kitchen. You just set the stick up in a deep pot filled with water, prep whatever you're cooking in Ziplocks or sous vide bags, and then turn the knob to whatever temperature and time you are aiming for and press start.
I decided to try the sous vide stick out for the first time on my parents, who came over for dinner last weekend. My dad looooooves pork chops so I made an old favorite: Pork Chops Agrodolce. I usually cook these solely on the grill (and by all means, you can still do that if you don't have access to a sous vide cooker). This time, however, I decided to do most of the cooking using the sous vide and then doing a quick finish on the grill to get the glazed chops beautifully caramelized. Pork is really easy to overcook, but using the sous vide stick insured that it cooked to the exact temperature that I wanted (140° for medium-moist and slightly pink in the middle). Quickly finishing your sous vide chops in a hot pan, or in this case on the grill, is imperative in order to develop a brown crust on the outside. Otherwise, they look pretty unappetizing! I like using an easy balsamic "agrodolce" (or sweet and sour) glaze on my chops, but you could grill these using whatever glaze or sauce you like!
prep time: 15 min. cook time: ~1hr. and 15 min. (if using sous vide method, if grilling about 15 min.) serves: 4
4 bone in, double cut (2" thick) pork chops
8 sprigs rosemary (if using sous vide)
extra virgin olive oil
coarse salt and black pepper
1/2 cup good balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup water
3 tbsp honey
1 sprig rosemary
1 tsp salt
3 tbsp butter
If using a sous vide stick (I own the All-Clad brand), set up the machine in a large pot according to package directions. Fill with water to reach somewhere between the min. and max. fill lines. Preheat to 140° degrees and set the timer at 1 hr. (double check your specific model's instructions- they are all a little different). Rub pork chops with some olive oil and generously season both sides with salt and pepper. Place each chop in a ziplock with 2 sprigs of rosemary. Squeeze as much air out of the bag as possible and tightly seal. When the sous vide bath has reached 140°, place the bagged pork chops into the water, clipping the tops of the bags to the side of the pot with binder clips. Make sure the chops are fully submerged.
Meanwhile, make the glaze by bring the balsamic vinegar, water, honey, rosemary and salt to a boil in a small pan. Lower heat to a simmer and let the glaze reduce by half, until it is thick and syrupy (about 15 minutes). Off the heat, stir in the butter. Set the glaze aside.
Preheat a grill to high heat and oil the grate with nonstick spray. Remove the pork chops from the sous vide when the timer goes off and check their temperature with a meat thermometer. They may be a little underdone, but that's ok because they will finish cooking on the grill. Pat the chops dry with paper towels and place them on the hot grill directly over the coals, brushing the chops thickly with the glaze as they sear on both sides. Be careful not to leave the pork chops on the grill for too long or they will overcook- no more than 5 minutes total. Check for doneness with a thermometer and transfer them to a platter. Let them rest for 10 minutes and then serve whole or sliced.
*if you aren't using a sous vide, remove the chops from the fridge about 45 min before grilling to come to room temp. Rub the pork with olive oil, and season liberally with coarse salt and pepper right before grilling. Grill the chops about 7-8 minutes per side, brushing with the glaze as they sear.