Sweet Tea-Brined Pork Chops with Pepper Relish

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  • Level: Intermediate
  • Total: 2 hr 35 min (plus 8-hour brining)
  • Active: 45 min
  • Yield: 4 to 8 servings
These pork chops are a great make-ahead option: You can brine them and make the relish a day before. Once you’ve fired up the grill, the chops will be done in about 30 minutes.



  1. Make the brine: Bring 6 cups water to a boil in a large pot. Turn off the heat, add the tea bags and let steep 10 minutes. Discard the tea bags. Stir in 3/4 cup sugar, 1/2 cup salt, the bay leaves and coriander seeds. Cook over low heat, stirring, until the sugar and salt are dissolved, about 3 minutes. Remove from the heat, pour into a large heatproof pitcher (reserve the pot) and let cool to room temperature, about 30 minutes. Refrigerate the brine until very cold, at least 1 hour. Pour the brine into the reserved pot and add the pork chops. Cover and refrigerate 8 hours or overnight.
  2. Meanwhile, make the pepper relish: Put the bell peppers, onion and chiles in a food processor and pulse 2 or 3 times until slightly broken down but not pureed. Transfer to a small saucepan and add the vinegar, preserves, remaining 1/4 cup sugar and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer until slightly reduced but still juicy, about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat, transfer to a serving bowl and refrigerate until ready to serve. (You can make the relish up to 1 day ahead.)
  3. Preheat a grill to medium. Oil the grill grates. Remove the pork chops from the brine and pat dry. Season the chops with salt and pepper. Grill, covered, until well-marked, 14 to 16 minutes (rotate the chops 90 degrees if they get too dark). Flip the chops and cook, covered, until well-marked on the other side and a thermometer inserted sideways into the center registers 145 degrees F, 14 to 16 more minutes. Transfer to a cutting board and let rest about 10 minutes. Serve with the relish.