Despite a recent blast of chilly weather, it's been a mild Oklahoma winter, which has prematurely stirred my inner grill-master from hibernation.
Oh, you wicked, wicked global warming, er, climate change.
While we've had plenty of sunshine and some splashes of springlike weather, it's still a little too chilly to cook out after 5 p.m. — certainly after dark.
Never fear: The cast-iron griddle I got a couple of Christmases ago from my in-laws is here.
The kids have gotten to where they actually like burgers made on the flat side of the griddle better than, pause for dramatic effect, those cooked on grill. Gasp ... Protestations of disbelief ... Curse words and raised, shaking fists from my friends at American Propane.
All right, all right, I'm not trying to convert anyone away from using the outdoor cookers the good Lord gave us. But alternatives are great.
The reason the grill is in no danger is because the cast-iron griddle works great on anything you can grill, but not everything you cook on the grill is optimal for homes without industrial vent hoods.
A rib-eye steak cooked on your griddle will fill your house with smoke faster than a Cheech and Chong film festival. Burgers aren't much better.
Enter pork chops. And at the top of the pork chop hierarchy is the Porterhouse pork chop, a dense cut that includes tenderloin. Unlike the Porterhouse steak, the pork chop is very lean. So, it needs a flavor boost, perhaps even gravy.
For today's recipe, you can do both and decide.
If you're trying to watch your calories, use a simple rub and grill some blood oranges, which are currently in season and make a great natural pop of flavor. I simply cut the oranges into thick slices, season them and griddle them alongside the chops. Either squeeze the oranges over the chops before you eat or place a slice or two on each plate and press pork bites into them before popping them into your mouth.
Otherwise, you can simply go for a classic smothered pork chop, using a garlic and onion gravy that is easy enough to prepare while the chops finish in a low-heat oven.
Since the chops won't finish in the gravy, you'll miss the fusion of pork drippings, so I recommend making your roux with a mix of olive oil and bacon drippings.
This is a simple, inexpensive meal that can be prepared in way less than an hour.
So, while you're waiting for spring to spring, find yourself a cast-iron griddle, which you can pick up for as cheap as $20. They are available in most places that peddle cast-iron implements.
Griddled Porterhouse Pork Chops with Blood Oranges
4 Porterhouse pork chops, 3½ to 4 pounds
2 small onions, sliced very thin
2 cloves garlic mashed in 2 teaspoons salt until paste
2 cups chicken stock or reduced-
1½ teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon toasted fresh ground
¼ teaspoon chile de arbol or cayenne pepper
1 or 2 blood oranges, sliced thick
¼ cup mix of olive oil and bacon drippings
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon fresh thyme
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons fresh ground black pepper