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Wild spices rev up this campfire favorite

June 22, 2005 - I used to make a less-refined version of this dish when I was hitchhiking around.

I usually found fresh sage along the road somewhere while I was waiting for rides. Rosemary has been a recent edition as I have begun trying to broaden the flavors.

Of course, wine seemed to follow me whenever I hitchhiked. I remember camping a few days with three young people who showed me how to pick juniper berries. I prefer the blue or dark-colored berries to the tan or green ones because their taste is less bitter.

If you don't have any growing around your house, I'm sure you can find them at your favorite grocery store.

Campfire Pork Chops

1 cup dry red wine

1 tablespoons red wine vinegar

1 tablespoon fresh sage

1 tablespoon fresh rosemary

3 garlic cloves, chopped

2 bay leaves

1 teaspoon juniper berries

4 thick-cut pork chops

Salt to taste

Pepper to taste

Whisk wine, vinegar, sage, rosemary, garlic, bay leaves and juniper berries in medium bowl to blend. Pour into a large freezer bag. Add pork chops, tossing to coat with marinade. Refrigerate at least three hours or overnight, turn occasionally.

Prepare grill. Remove chops from marinade and pour marinade into large sauce-pan to boil for a minute.

Grill chops eight minutes per side or until meat thermometer reads 155 degrees Fahrenheit when inserted into thickest part. If you are using a thermometer, don't get it near the bone. Brush chops with marinade every so often when they look like they're drying out.

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