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"Woke" Grilled Puerto Rican Pork Chops

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Post updated 11/12/2019

The bright, garlicky flavors of Puerto Rico shine through in this quick and easy grilled pork chops recipe.

grilled puerto rican pork chops topped with chimichurri sauce

You ever find that one thing you like and then try to figure ways to get that thing into your life more often. A few weeks ago I made a crazy large batch of Zhug sauce and have spent the last few days trying to get more of it into my life.

Zhug sauce is highly addictive and is a go on every effin thing condiment. And because you can refrigerate it for up to about 2 weeks I’ve been making dishes just to eat more Zhug! For breakfast it’s been eggs and zhug, but for dinner yesterday it was these grilled Puerto Rican pork chops.

grilled puerto rican pork chops

MOOD MUSIC

This grilled pork chop recipe is an old one I’ve used since my grad school days. Back then since we had no Friday classes, so Thursday nights were reserved for pork night by me and a small group of my peers.

Pork Night was a simple concept – I’d crank up the smoker about 8:00pm and we cooked whatever cut of pork people showed up with. Whiskey was the libation of choice and as the night progressed kept us WOKE AF as we discussed and pontificated on the latest current events. We drank and ate until we ran out of meat or fire! My contribution back then was typically these grilled pork chops.

Puerto Rican Pork Chop Ingredients

Garlic Brine

  • Garlic cloves
  • Olive oil
  • Orange juice
  • Cider vinegar
  • Lime juice
  • Kosher salt
  • Onion powder
  • Garlic powder
  • Black pepper
  • Dried oregano
  • Paprika

Pork Chops

COOKING INSTRUCTIONS

Make the brine

Combine all the brine ingredients in a small bowl and whisk well until mixed. Put in an airtight container and refrigerate for at least a day and up to 2 weeks.

Grill the Pork Chops

Place the pork chops in a large ziplock back and add the brine. Seal the bag and let the chops marinate in the refrigerator for 4 hours.
Remove the chops from the bag, shake off excess marinade and let chops come to room temperature.
Heat the grill to high heat (about 400 degrees) for direct-heat cooking.
Place chops on the grill and cook on each side 3-4 minutes each.
Remove chops and let rest 5 minutes. Serve with the Zhoug sauce.

What makes these Puerto Rican Pork Chops

If you’ve spent any time in Puerto Rico then you’ve likely had a fried pork chop made with the thin inexpensive cut bone-in chop. They are garlicky well-seasoned chops that will no doubt have even the snobbiest person sucking the bone. Well, I basically tweaked the fried recipe by using a thicker cut and grilled vs. frying.

The chops are marinated overnight in a very garlicky vinegar-based brine which tenderizes the chops well and infuses that garlic essence present in a lot of Puerto Rican dishes. The char and smoke add additional flavor and color to the dish. The bright, acidic, and spicy Israeli chimichurri is that finishing move! It provides a certain lightness to the thick chops.

grilled puerto rican pork chops topped with chimichurri sauce

How to grill pork chops

  • The brine is everything! So take the time to make it right. It will season the chops inside and out. Use less garlic if you’re not a big fan, otherwise, leave the recipe as is. The citrus and acid in the brine will help balance the flavor some as well as tenderize the meat.
  • Always let your meat come to room temperature before cooking. Doing so prevents uneven cooking
  • Unless you are a pork chop maven, use a meat thermometer to check for doneness. Chops are flavorful and juicy when cooked right, but you can easily under or overcook them. There is nothing worse than a chewy chop, trust me as I’ve been there. I’d rather undercook and adjust as needed as there is no suitable correction for overcooked pork. Your target temperature should be 145 degrees so you want to remove from heat at around 135 degrees then let it rest and achieve 145 target. Note meat continues to cook after removing from heat.
  • Use leftover brine to make a glaze – put brine in a sauce pan and reduce over medium heat. While grilling the chops brush sauce on the chops

meal planning tips

  • Recipe calls for thick cut chops, but if you use thinner cut ones just remember to cook for less time
  • Choose rib chops, the bone runs along the outside of the chop vs. center cut loin chops which have a t-shaped bone that runs through the middle of it. Loin chops include two different cuts that cook at different rates so can be tricky

MORE PORK CHOP RECIPES

Smoked Pork Chops

Grilled Pork Chop

Blackened Pork Chop

Fried Pork Chops

Grilled Pork Steaks

Make this Pork Chops Recipe

If you make these Puerto Rican Pork Chops please come back and leave me a comment below with your feedback. Definitely take a photo of the dish and be sure to tag #foodfidelity so that I can see them.

You can also keep up with my food exploits as well as original recipes! You can find me on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

grilled puerto rican pork chops topped with chimichurri sauce

Grilled Puerto Rican Pork Chops w/ Chimichurri

Thick cut tender pork chops marinated overnight in a garlicky vinegar brine then grilled and topped with spicy and fresh Israeli Chimichurri sauce.
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
resting time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: BBQ
Servings: 4 people
Calories: 584kcal
Author: Marwin Brown

Ingredients

Grilled Pork Chops

  • 4 bone-in pork chops
  • 2 cups of Garlic Vinegar Sauce
  • 1 cup Zhoug Sauce

Garlic Brine

  • 2 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¼ cup kosher salt
  • 1 lime juiced
  • 1 orange juiced
  • ½ cup cider vinegar
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 8-10 garlic cloves minced

Instructions

Garlic Brine

  • Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and whisk well until mixed. Put in an airtight container and refrigerate for at least a day and up to 2 weeks.

Grilled Garlic Pork Chops

  • Place the pork chops in a large ziplock back and add the brine. Zeal the bag and let the chops marinate in the refrigerator 4 hours.
  • Remove the chops from the bag, shake off excess marinade and let chops come to room temperature.
  • Heat the grill to 400 degrees for direct heat cooking.
  • Place chops on the grill and cook on each side 3-4 minutes each.
  • Remove chops and let rest 5 minutes. Serve with the Chimichurri.

Notes

Trader Joe's sells an excellent pre-made Israeli Chimichurri Zhug if you don't want to make your own. You can find it in the refrigerated produce section.
  • The brine is everything! So take the time to make it right. It will season the chops inside and out. Use less garlic if you’re not a big fan, otherwise, leave the recipe as is. The citrus and acid in the brine will help balance the flavor some as well as tenderize the meat.
  • Always let your meat come to room temperature before cooking. Doing so prevents uneven cooking
  • Unless you are a pork chop maven, use a meat thermometer to check for doneness. Chops are flavorful and juicy when cooked right, but you can easily under or overcook them. There is nothing worse than a chewy chop, trust me as I’ve been there. I’d rather undercook and adjust as needed as there is no suitable correction for overcooked pork. Your target temperature should be 145 degrees so you want to remove from heat at around 135 degrees then let it rest and achieve 145 target. Note meat continues to cook after removing from heat.
  • Use leftover brine to make a glaze – put brine in a sauce pan and reduce over medium heat. While grilling the chops brush sauce on the chops

Nutrition

Serving: 0g | Calories: 584kcal | Carbohydrates: 13g | Protein: 37g | Fat: 43g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Cholesterol: 117mg | Sodium: 7174mg | Potassium: 828mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 1819IU | Vitamin C: 24mg | Calcium: 101mg | Iron: 3mg
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