Pork pairs perfectly with the fresh tartness of the lemon and the earthiness of the thyme. Your family will thank you for throwing these brined babies on the grill.
Sunset JUNE 2011
1. Heat 1 1/2 qts. water, the bay leaves, and peppercorns in a large pot until boiling. Remove from heat and stir in wine, salt, 1/2 cup brown sugar, and the zest of 1 lemon. Nest pan in a sink of ice water and let brine cool. Add pork to brine. Chill at least 4 and up to 12 hours.
2. Drain meat, rinse, pat dry, and set on a platter or baking sheet. In a bowl, mix oil, thyme, ground pepper, remaining 2 tsp. brown sugar, and the zest of 1 lemon. Pat mixture onto both sides of meat, pressing it in. Let meat stand at room temperature.
3. Heat grill to medium (350° to 450°). Heat a large cast-iron griddle, 12-in. paella pan, or 2 large cast-iron skillets on cooking grate with grill lid down until water dances when sprinkled on cooking surface, 8 to 10 minutes.
4. Set chops on griddle and cook with grill lid down, turning once, until meat is well browned and done the way you like, 8 to 10 minutes total for medium-rare (cut to test). Transfer to a platter.
*Crack peppercorns in a mortar, or seal in a plastic bag and smash with a rolling pin. Rib chops come from the rib end of the loin; if they aren't already frenched (some meat trimmed from the bone ends to make the chops look neater), ask a butcher to do it, or do it yourself by sliding a sharp knife along the bones.
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