4 porterhouse (bone-in loin) pork chops, about 3/4-inch thick
1⁄3 C. table salt or fine sea salt
1⁄3 C. plus 1/4 C. maple syrup
2 tsp. dried thyme or 2 T. fresh thyme
11/2 C. chilled hard apple cider (1, 12-oz. bottle) or apple cider
11/2 C. ice water
2 tsp. red hot pepper sauce, such as Tabasco, divided
In a small saucepan, stir 1 C. water with salt, 1/3 C. of maple syrup and dried thyme over medium heat until salt dissolves and water is hot, but not boiling. Remove from heat. Add cider, ice water and 1 tsp. hot sauce and stir until ice dissolves to create brine.
Put chops in a self-sealing plastic bag, pour in brine and seal bag. Refrigerate 1 to 2 hours, no longer. In small bowl, mix remaining 1/4 C. syrup and 1 tsp. hot sauce; set aside.
Prepare a grill to medium-high heat (about 450°). Remove chops from brine and pat dry with paper towels. Grill chops over direct heat until the internal temperature reaches between 145° (medium rare) and 160° (medium) on a meat thermometer, 4 to 5 minutes per side. During the last 2 minutes, brush chops on both sides with remaining syrup mixture. Remove chops from the grill and let rest for 3 minutes. Serves 4.
Note: You can substitute dried rosemary or sage for thyme, or combine all three. You can also substitute 3/4 C. each apple juice and dry white wine or apple cider for hard apple cider. A sweet potato salad and fresh succotash would be nice side dishes for these chops.