Apple-Stuffed Pork Chops

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3   cups apple wood chips
1/4  teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/8  teaspoon onion salt or garlic salt
1/8  teaspoon ground cloves
1/8  teaspoon ground red pepper (optional)
1/4  pound bulk Italian pork sausage or bulk turkey sausage
1   apple, cored and finely chopped
1/4  cup chopped onion
1/2  cup corn bread stuffing mix
2  tablespoons snipped fresh parsley
1  to 2 tablespoons apple juice
4   pork loin rib chops, cut 1-1/2 inches thick (about 3 lb. total)
   Purchased apple butter
   Grilled sliced apples (optional)

1. At least 1 hour before cooking, soak wood chips in enough water to cover. Drain.
2. For the rub, stir together the black pepper; onion or garlic salt; cloves; and, if desired, red pepper.
3. For stuffing, in a saucepan cook the sausage, apple, and onion for 5 minutes or until sausage is cooked through. Drain fat. Stir in stuffing mix and parsley; add enough of the apple juice to moisten. Remove from heat; set aside until cool.
4. Trim fat from chops. Cut a pocket in each chop by cutting a slit in the meat and working the knife inside to cut almost to bone, keeping original slit small. Spoon stuffing into pockets. If necessary, secure with wooden toothpicks. Sprinkle the rub evenly over both sides of the pork chops; rub into meat.
5. Drain wood chips. Prepare grill for indirect grilling; test for medium heat above the drip pan. Place chops on the lightly oiled grill rack directly over the drip pan.
6. Cover and grill chops for 35 to 40 minutes or until an instant-read thermometer inserted into center reads 165 degree F, turning chops once. Add more wood chips every 15 minutes. Brush with apple butter every few minutes during last half of grilling. If using wooden toothpicks, remove them before serving. Serve with grilled sliced apples, if desired. Makes 4 servings.
Test Kitchen Tip: Make a double portion of the stuffing mixture and spoon the extra into an ovenproof baking dish lightly coated with nonstick cooking spray. Cover and bake in a preheated 350 degree F oven for 45 minutes. Pass hot stuffing with pork chops.

Source:  Better Homes & Gardens
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