Monday, September 19, 2011

Grilled Orange-Chili Pork Chops: one for the end of summer

This recipe for marinaded sweet-spicy pork is one of my favorites for outdoor grilling season, which is quickly drawing to a close here in Seattle. The sweetness of orange marmalade is a nice counterpoint to spicy chili powder, mustard, pepper, and garlic. I think of this as a sort of quick-fix gourmet BBQ. I am sure BBQ purists would object to my use of the term, since I use a high-quality cut of meat here (top loin pork chops) instead of the more typical tough BBQ meats that must be cooked a long time to achieve tenderness. This marinade caramelizes beautifully, creating a delicious sweet-spicy-smoky flavor. It could be used to great effect for "real" BBQ meats if desired, but the cook time must be adjusted accordingly for different cuts of meat.

Marinade Ingredients

3 tbsp orange marmalade
1 tbsp chili powder
1 tbsp salt
1 tsp ground black pepper
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 tbsp whole grain mustard
5 tbsp olive oil
4-6 garlic cloves, pressed

Other Ingredients

4-6 pork loin chops (1-1.5" thick)
1 cup chicken broth


1.  Combine all marinade ingredients in a small bowl and stir well.

2.  Use a fork to pierce each pork chop several times on both sides. This helps tenderize the meat and also allows it to soak up the marinade better.

3. Arrange the pork chops in a glass baking dish. Pour the marinade over them, flipping the chops to completely coat them. Cover with foil or saran wrap and refrigerate for 3-6 hours.

4. Remove the chops from the fridge 30 minutes prior to grilling and let stand on the counter. Note: this is important. Very cold marinade does not caramelize as well.

5. Preheat the grill to medium-high heat.

6. Reserving the marinade, remove the chops from the dish and grill for approximately 6 minutes, then flip and repeat on the other side. (For visually attractive crossed grill marks, turn the chop 45 degrees after grilling 3 minutes, grill 3 more minutes, then flip and repeat on the other side.) Cut open a chop to make sure it is cooked through (not pink inside).

7. Transfer the cooked chops to a plate and cover.

8. Pour the reserved marinade and chicken broth into a small pot. Boil for 5 minutes to slightly reduce. (Health note: it is very important to boil the marinade because it was in contact with raw pork. Boiling kills any pathogens that may have been introduced.)

Serve the pork topped with the sauce. I like to eat this dish with rice and a hearty veggie saute. This time, I lightly sauteed rainbow carrots in a little butter with diced onion, parsley, and garlic. I used a fresh parsley garnish to contrast the earthy orange tones and dark grill marks, thereby drawing attention to them.


No comments:

Post a Comment