It’s the middle of March, but at our little cabin a mile and a half east of Stevens Pass in the Cascades snow is still falling. When I got here the other day, the trees held a slim margin of snow on their boughs. Overnight their branches became heavy with vast epaulettes of snow. It’s awesome to see and – as the day brightens and the snow continues to fall – it’s even more spectacular to behold.
We’re enduring what the weather people call a La Niña year. In Seattle that means extra rain. Up here, at the high reaches of the local mountain passes, this means extra snow: some 460 inches to date. All that snow doesn’t just pile up on the ground; it morphs, compacts and compresses, but it certainly has its impact. We’re at 12 feet and counting.
After a short ski in along the unplowed road, I’m suddenly where I love to be. The cabin beckons like a boat in the woods: sturdy, remote and inviting. I hit the power, turn on the water, light a fire and settle in. Outside a winter storm is gathering steam, but inside is the perfect antidote. I am totally happy.
This time, I’ve brought up pork chops, broccoli, beans. I set the little barbecue on the snow and get it hot. I marinate the chops and put them aside. Everything is poised for a feast, a feast with the backdrop of snow and snowy weather. As the white flakes dance down to join the massive mound of snow that’s accumulated shoulder-high in just the past two weeks on our deck, I sit by the fire, warm and safe in my cozy setting. There’s shoveling to be done, but that will just have to wait. What’s most important is on the grill: Pork Chops, anyone?
2 ounces (57 grams) of brown sugar
¾ teaspoon of salt
1 heaped teaspoon of mild paprika
½ teaspoon (25 grinds) of freshly ground black pepper
¾ teaspoon of oregano
1 teaspoon of either Ancho or American Chili powder
3 or 4 bone-in loin pork chops, about 1 1/3 pounds total
- Mix brown sugar, salt, paprika, black pepper, oregano and chili powder together in a small bowl.
- Pat dry pork chops and coat both sides with the brown sugar rub. Let sit, covered for 3 hours.
- Light 25 charcoal briquettes in a small barbecue for 20 minutes or so and heat until red hot. Add another 10 briquettes, put on the grill and let heat for 10 more minutes.
- Grill the pork chops quickly over high heat, turning every 2 minutes to prevent burning. Add the exuded liquid as you turn the chops.
- Chops will be ready in 6 to 8 minutes, depending on heat and the thickness of your chops.
Now put another log on the fire – a big one that will last for a time. Sit by the fire, drawing your plate and a good book into easy reach. And watch the snow falling outside, settling on the trees, the deck and the landscape. A glass of wine? Sounds good to me! Life is good here.
Copyright © 2012 by Don Hogeland