Baked Pork Chop Dinner on a Smoker
As a further experiment with our new Yoder Wood Fired Oven, we attempted to expand the use of the oven and see what could be done with cast iron… an entire meal with the cooker seemed like an attainable goal. Which is how we landed on the menu of pork chops, Brussels sprouts and potatoes. At first glance the small cook space of the oven itself would be a challenge to work around. However when installed on a YS640 an entire grill grate can be installed to the right of the oven. This area is just the right size for a 9.5″ x 13″ sheet pan, which proved to be a perfect holding/warming area.
As mentioned in a recent post where we baked pizza in our Yoder oven, we added three thermocouple probes inside the oven connected to a FireBoard 2 Pro. One probe was positioned flat on the stone in the front, another was placed flat on the stone in the rear, and the third, and most interesting probe to watch was set up reading air temperature in the rear of the oven. This was done mainly to see what correlation existed between the pit set temperature on the cooker and the temperature inside the oven.
We were able to observe temperatures over 880ºF with the cooker’s pit temp set at 600ºF. This is close to the manufacturer’s claimed 850ºF-900ºF range. Yoder’s Operation Manual even states “the longer the oven runs the hotter it will get, so be cautious.” We concur! Exactly the performance you would expect from an oven designed for fast and hot cooking.
Start with the Potatoes
Since these can take the longest to cook, it made sense to get them started first so the meal timed out evenly. So after starting the smoker, I cut the potatoes into bite sized pieces and tossed them in a bowl with olive oil and Gate’s Hot and Spicy all purpose seasoning.
Per Yoder’s instructions I set the pit temp to 350ºF for warm up period of about 15 minutes. This also gave the cast iron pans some time to heat up as well. After the warm up, I raised the set temperature up to 550ºF. Once at temp, I added the seasoned potatoes to a preheated cast iron skillet placed it in the wood fired oven for twenty minutes, stirring occasionally. This was just enough time to prep the chops and sprouts.
Bone-in Pork Chops
We are believers in the flavor difference in bone-in chops. If you are not familiar with the difference between bone-in and conventionally trimmed chops, we encourage you to run your own “A-B” test and find out what you prefer. The bone-in pork chops we used came from Local Pig which is a fantastic butcher shop in the Kansas City Metro area. They specialize in selling only locally sourced meats gourmet sausages and charcuterie. To season the chops we used Burnt Finger’s Smokey KC rub.
To prep the sprouts I first cleaned and trimmed them, then cut them into equal sizes. Smaller sprouts can be left whole to keep each piece roughly equal in size for uniform doneness. I pre-steamed the Brussels sprouts to about 75% done. The microwave steamer I use requires 4 minutes to fully steam a batch of Brussels sprouts, so I steamed them for 3 minutes. Click here to learn more about par-cooking and how it can simplify your life in the kitchen.
With potatoes holding on top of the oven and the pork chops resting on a plate, I added the par-steamed Brussels sprout halves to the same cast iron skillet the pork chops were baked in and placed them into the wood fired oven. They roasted for six minutes, turning the sprouts about midway. For extra crispy Brussels sprouts, spread them out on a sheet pan and roast to desired doneness.