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Carbone's Pork Chops with Vinegar Peppers

pork chops
Nathan Congleton / TODAY
Cook Time:
30 mins
Prep Time:
1 hr

Chef notes

I love the punch of flavor that vinegar peppers bring to a dish. Here, they work especially well as they cut through the meaty richness of the thick pork chop.

Technique tip: For this recipe, it's best to not buy center-cut chops; instead, ask your butcher for shoulder chops, which have more flavor, are more forgiving to cook and won't dry out as easily.


Dry rub
  • 2 tablespoons whole fennel seed
  • teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes
  • teaspoons dried oregano
  • 2 tablespoons garlic powder
  • 2 tablespoons onion powder
  • 1/3 cup light brown sugar
Pickled red onion
  • 1 large red onion, peeled and sliced
  • 1 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/3 cup plus 1/4 cup red wine vinegar, divided
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 4 quarts water, divided
  • cups kosher salt
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons whole black peppercorns
  • teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 lemon, cut in half
  • 1 whole head garlic, skin on, cut in half
Pork chops
  • 4 (7- to 8-ounce) bone-in pork chops
  • kosher salt, to taste
  • 6 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2/3 cup thinly sliced yellow onion
  • 1 teaspoon Aleppo pepper
  • 1 teaspoon Urfa biber
  • 1 (16-ounce) jar roasted red peppers, drained
  • extra-virgin olive oil, to finish
  • chopped Italian flat-leaf parsley, to garnish


For the dry rub:

In a spice grinder or food processor, grind the fennel seeds and pepper flakes together.

Mix with the remaining ingredients. Set aside. (This can be made in advance. Store in an airtight container.)

For the pickled red onion:

In a pot over medium heat, combine all the ingredients. Bring up to a simmer just to dissolve the sugar.

Place the sliced onions in a heat-safe container and pour the mixture over the onions. Let stand at room temperature for 2 hours. (This can be made in advance. Once cooled, store in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 1 week.)

For the agrodolce:


In a pot over medium heat, brown the butter.


Meanwhile, in a separate pot, heat 1/3 cup of red wine vinegar and sugar, whisking to dissolve the sugar. Reduce by half.


Combine the vinegar reduction, brown butter and the remaining 1/4 cup of red wine vinegar. Keep warm.

For the brine:


To a pot, add half of the water, the salt and sugar, and bring to a boil. Once at a boil, remove from the heat and stir to dissolve the salt and sugar.


Add in the other half of the water, cold, and the remaining ingredients.


Place the brine into a vessel large enough to hold the protein or two resealable plastic bags.

For the pork chops:


Brine the pork chops for 4 hours in the fridge.


Once brined, remove from the brine and pat dry with paper towels. Rub and coat all sides of the pork chop with the dry rub and salt to taste.


On a hot grill, grill the pork chops until they are nicely caramelized with grill marks and have an internal temperature of 145 F, 12 to 15 minutes. Alternatively, you can roast the pork chops in a 375 F oven, on a parchment-lined baking sheet, until they have an internal temperature of 145 F, 12 to 15 minutes.


Meanwhile, in a saucepan, lightly toast the sliced garlic in the olive oil. Add the yellow onions and cook until just before tender. Add in the Aleppo pepper and Urfa biber, making sure to taste and adjust. Once the onions are tender, add the peppers. Simmer together for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat; do not cook the peppers any further.


To the saucepan, add the pickled red onions and agrodolce, mixing everything together to heat up.


Slice each cooked pork chop into four pieces. Plate. Place the warm peppers on top. Finish with extra-virgin olive oil and chopped parsley.