Almond Wood-Grilled Tomahawk Pork Chop With Fennel Pollen

Servings: 4
Prep Time: 70 mins

42 ounces tomahawk pork chops (two-rib, belly-on ribeye or center cut chop)
extra-virgin olive oil (as needed)
sea salt (as needed)
1 part fennel pollen (as needed)
1 part kosher salt
1 part cracked black pepper
1 part ground fennel
10 grams salt
10 grams sugar
100 grams water

1. The first step in this meat-centric dish is to create the 42 oz. Tomahawk Pork Chop – start with either the middle from a whole pig or custom cut middle section that is skinned with no breaks. Use the rib section only.

2. Fabricate the pork middle into four each two-rib, belly-on ribeye or center cut chops.

3. Once the chops are fabricated, make the brine.

4. Using an injector with a spray needle, pump about a half cup into the chop, the pork can be brined overnight or just prior to grilling. Chops can also be brined by completely submerging the chops in refrigeration for 12-24 hours.

5. Apply the Kosher salt, cracked pepper and ground fennel seeds one at a time, creating a crust around all sides of the whole pork chop.

6. Select your heat source – chi SPACCA uses a woodfire grill with cast iron grates (Aztec Grill) and almond wood (quarter cut). The wood burns very hot and clean, and the grates provide a nice char.

7. Prepare the grill with two heat zones – left side of grill should be at an extremely high temperature and the right side should have no fire or coals under it.

8. Place the raw pork chop somewhere in the middle of the two heat zones to cook.

9. Due to the fat content, be careful of flare-ups. Whenever this happens move the chop to the area of the grill that is off, once it calms down bring it back over to the heat.

10. There is no set time to determine when the chop is done, it’s all about the perfect sear - a deep caramelized crust with grill marks.

11. However once the chop is seared it will still be raw in the center, to cook the inside, move the chop to the right side of the grill sitting vertical (chop on the grill and belly on top), the meat will continue to cook and baste itself.

12. The chop will sit in this cool ambient area (275°F) for about a half hour, until done, temp to 138°F and let rest to 145°F – perfect rare/medium rare, cut off the bone with the loin and place it to the side.

13. At this point the belly still needs to be fully cooked. Cut it in half, return the two pieces to the grill and char the “belly chops” on nice high heat, be mindful of flare-ups.

14. Slice the loin off the bone.

15. Plate the bone, loin and belly, and finish with extra virgin olive oil, sea salt and fennel pollen..

Courtesy of the National Pork Board, Des Moines, Iowa.