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Barbecue Secrets

Recipes of the week: Pork Loin Chops Three Ways

Jul 4, 2014

Pork Loin Chops Three Ways

I love pork loin chops, especially from locally-raised pork from Johnston’s here in the Lower Mainland of BC. (Wherever you are, support your local farmers and food producers!)

The best way to get pork loin chops is to buy a whole pork loin and then cut it into chops. I like to cut them about 1.5 to 2 inches thick. A whole pork loin is a lot of meat, so I cut it up into chops and marinate or rub them all. I use what I need for the day’s meal, and then package the rest of them up in freezer bags. Next time you want pork chops, just thaw them and they’re for you to toss on the grill.

To cook chops, preheat your grill for high direct cooking. Place the chops on the grill and immediately turn the heat down to medium, or even low. You’ll get nice grill marks but the pork will cook more gently, which makes for a more tender, juicy chop. Take the pork off the grill when the internal temperature at the thickest part reads 130F for medium rare and 140F for medium. If you want juicy chops don’t overcook them! Let them rest, loosely tented in foil for five or ten minutes before serving.

Try these great marinades for your next batch of pork chops, and let me know how you like to cook pork by posting something on my Barbecue Secrets Facebook page.

Happy Grilling!

Classic Vinaigrette Marinade

This simple marinade can be spruced up using flavoured oils and vinegars. It’s great with pork, lamb or chicken – or try it with big portabella mushrooms if you’re …one of those.

Makes about 3/4 cup, enough for 4 to 6 chops

1/2 cup | 125 mL extra virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp | 15 mL Dijon mustard (or Ronnie & Denzel’s NATURAL CHAMPIONS Honey Mustard BBQ Sauce
2 Tbsp | 30 mL white wine vinegar, or your favourite infused gourmet vinegar
1 Tbsp | 15 mL coarsely chopped fresh rosemary
1 Tbsp | 15 mL Mediterranean Dried Herb Rub (see recipe below) or herbs de Provence
1 clove garlic, finely chopped or pushed through a press
1 tsp Kosher salt
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp crushed chile flakes (optional)           

Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and mix thoroughly. Marinate the chops for at least two hours, or overnight, in your refrigerator. Grill the chops according to the instructions above. These chops go well with grilled apple slices or apple sauce and your favourite grilled veggies.

Mediterranean Dried Herb Rub

Makes enough to coat several racks of lamb, a couple of chickens, or a whole leg of lamb or pork roast

Use this rub for meats like chicken and pork, but it also works well with grilled vegetables. Just toss the veggies with oil and sprinkle them with the rub and some kosher salt.

1 Tbsp | 15 mL dried (not powdered) oregano
1 Tbsp | 15 mL dried mint
1 Tbsp | 15 mL dried basil
1 Tbsp | 15 mL dried rosemary
1 tsp | 5 mL dried parsley

Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and mix them together well.

Easiest, Tastiest Marinade

Makes about 11/2 cups  | 375 mL, enough for 4 to 6 chops, steaks or chicken breasts

One of my all-time favorites. I use this mainly as a quick and delicious marinade for steaks and chops, but it’s also great with chicken, as well as rich, meaty fish like salmon, halibut, tuna, and swordfish. I’ve provided precise measurements of the ingredients, but it’s really meant to be a marinade that you just throw together. A few glugs of soy sauce, a small glug of sesame oil, as much garlic and ginger as you like, and so on. Once you try this, it will become a standard in your kitchen.

1 cup | 250 mL dark soy sauce
1 tsp | 5 mL toasted sesame oil
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 Tbsp | 15 mL finely chopped or grated fresh ginger
freshly ground black pepper
1 Tbsp | 15 mL lemon juice or 1/4 cup | 50 mL Mirin (optional)
1 Tbsp | 15 mL tapioca starch (cornstarch will also do)

Mix together the ingredients in a nonreactive baking dish. Add the chops, turn to coat them, and marinate for 10 minutes to 1⁄2 hour, turning it once or twice. Don’t marinate it overnight, as this is fairly salty. Grill the chops according to the instructions above.

Rockin’ Ronnie’s Grilling Rub

Makes about 1 cup | 250 mL

I like to use this combination of seasonings for everyday grilling (grilling rubs contain little or no sugar because the higher heat of grilling would make a sugary rub turn black). It perfectly balances the earthiness of the toasted cumin, the sharpness of ground pepper, the smokiness and heat of the ground chipotles, and the natural sweetness of the ancho chile, granulated onion, and garlic.

4 Tbsp | 60 mL kosher salt
1 tsp | 5 mL ground pepper
2 Tbsp | 25 mL ground toasted cumin seeds
1 Tbsp | 15 mL ground oregano
2 Tbsp | 25 mL granulated onion
1 Tbsp | 15 mL granulated garlic
2 Tbsp | 25 mL ancho chile powder
1 tsp | 5 mL ground chipotles
(if you can’t find this, substitute cayenne)
1 tsp | 5 mL dried parsley

Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and mix them together well.