When I was a kid, I decided that my Grandmama Bohler made the best pork chops in the entire world. She seared the chops, then baked them in a slow oven smothered in barbecue sauce. They were simple and delicious. As far as I was concerned no one could do better.
Then, in college, I moved in with my friend, Trish. She had one signature dish she relied on... Pork Chops with Onions and Apples, cooked in her electric skillet. They were very yummy.
A few years ago, while vacationing in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, we stopped at the Apple Barn. They sell an Apple Barbecue Sauce made with apple butter.
At that moment, a brainstorm! All of the planets in the universe lined up, all of my worlds collided and this dish, born of three different things came to me.
Hahaha... yes, I know. That is a bit dramatic. But isn't it a great story? Okay, here's the result of my aha moment:
6 pork chops, bone in or out, not too thin
1 large onion, thinly sliced
1 large granny smith apple, cored and sliced
1 bottle of bold or spicy barbecue sauce (I like Sweet Baby Ray's Honey Chipotle)
1 jar apple butter
small amount, apple juice or chicken stock
Pork chops can be seared on the grill or in a pan on the stove. Both ways are wonderful...
Season liberally with black pepper before searing.
For grill method, remember that you are only searing the outside. Make lovely grill marks on each side, then transfer to baking dish and proceed. This method imparts a great grill flavor in addition to the barbecue taste.
For the stove top method, in a large skillet, sear pork chops until brown on both sides. Place in a glass baking dish.
Top pork chops in baking dish with sliced onion and apple. Mix the barbecue sauce and apple butter together. Pour over contents in baking dish. Pour a little apple juice or chicken stock over until meat is completely submerged. Cover tightly with foil. Bake at 300 degrees for about an hour and a half. Remove from oven and check for tenderness. If meat is not falling apart, lower heat to 275 and return to oven for at least a half hour... maybe more.