Char-Grilled Pork Chop

Cocinero: Bittor Arginzoniz
País: Spain
Localidad: 48291 Axpe-Marzana. Atxondo. (Vizcaya).
Dirección: Plaza San Juan, 1.
(+34) 946583042.

Bittor Arginzoniz has entered his name into the culinary history books by inventing ingenious new instruments over the years: “grill” pans, the bottoms of which are like a colander in order to char-grilled eel; pans that have tiny holes cut into them by a laser, so small as to be able to make risotto over the embers and impregnate the rice directly with the smoke; flat, miniscule casserole dishes to roast fish cheeks, anchovies, etc… but his most recent invention is perhaps the most innovative, the most surprising, and something that could only come to a truly privileged mind – a new type of grill for chops that incorporates an absolutely revolutionary technique in the preparation of meat. Brilliant.
It is a grill conceived in the image of an oven. In other words, with a top and a bottom. As for the bottom, nothing changes, the iron grill remains, in a flat position with a lever to raise and lower it over the embers as necessary. But the unprecedented aspect of this grill is the top. A rectangular, solid plate with a multitude of small holes that is covered completely by embers, previously prepared, using vine or olive tree wood. This rectangular metal plate with holes cut into it, brimming with embers, is then covered by another rectangular plate of stainless steel with 10 cm “walls” coming up on all sides in a way that all the heat is concentrated and not escaping from below, but refracted and forced to push down through the small holes.
The chops are placed over the metal plate with holes at a distance of 10 cm from the embers. It is then lowered onto the plate from above so that the flames are almost touching the meat, less than half a centimeter away. The flames from below, rising as a result from the fats released from the meat, caresses the pork chop in such a way that it lightly chars the meat and impregnates it with the aromas of the smoke. Curiously enough, while the bottom half caramelizes the surface of the meat, the top half takes on a grayish, browned tone, and the center remains perfectly red and hot; a heat that penetrates uniformly through the entire thickness of the cut. The whole process takes approximately ten minutes. As one might guess, there is no need to flip the meat. Another interesting aspect of this preparation is the salt – the best in the world, like everything used at this establishment –, gray Guérande fleur de sel, placed only on the top half of the pork chop, and in delightful abundance.

La Receta