Pork Chops in the Snow

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.

Our cabin nestled in 12 feet of snow. (Click to enlarge)

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?

Pork Chops in the Snow 

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

 

  1. Mix brown sugar, salt, paprika, black pepper, oregano and chili powder together in a small bowl.
  2. Pat dry pork chops and coat both sides with the brown sugar rub. Let sit, covered for 3 hours.
  3. 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.
  4. Grill the pork chops quickly over high heat, turning every 2 minutes to prevent burning. Add the exuded liquid as you turn the chops.
  5. 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

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