Grilled Puerto Rican Pork Chops
The flavors of Puerto Rico shine through in this quick and easy main dish grilled pork chops recipe.
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 aka Israeli Chimichurri sauce and have spent the last few days trying to get more of it into my life. Per my earlier post the stuff 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.
The pork chop recipe is an old one I’ve used since my grad school days. Back then since we had no Friday classes, 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.
If you’ve spent anytime 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 grilling 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.
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
- 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.
- 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
Grilled Puerto Rican Pork Chops
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Dope beats, fresh eats, best life. Enjoy these Grilled Puerto Rican pork chops for an easy dinner or weekend barbecue.
Grilled Puerto Rican Pork Chops w/ Chimichurri
Grilled Pork Chops
- 4 1/2 pound bone-in pork chops
- 2 cups of Garlic Vinegar Sauce
- 1 cup Israeli Chimichurri (see recipe below)
- 2 tbsp paprika
- 1 tbsp dried oregano
- 1 tbsp black pepper
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1/4 cup kosher salt
- 1 lime juiced
- 1 orange juiced
- 1/2 cup cider vinegar
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 8-10 garlic cloves minced
- 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.
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.
Israeli Chimichurri Sauce (Zhug)
Shug aka Israeli Chimichurri is a traditional Israeli condiment used on pretty much all foods Israeli. Similar to Argentinian version combines olive oil with citrus and green herbs for a chunky or smooth topping for grilled meats, eggplant, falafels, etc.
- 1 tsp coriander seeds
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 1/2 tsp cardamom spice
- 1 bunch kale
- 2 serrano chiles stemmed and quartered
- 1 bunch cilantro chopped
- 3 cloves garlic
- Juice from 1 whole lemon
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- Kosher salt and black pepper
Combine the coriander, cardamom, and cumin seeds in a small pan over medium high heat. Toast until fragrant (roughly 2 minutes) then remove from the heat and cool.
When cool grind in spice grinder then set aside.
Combine kale, spices, chiles, cilantro, garlic, lemon juice and olive oil in a blender or food processor. Pulse until you get the desired consistency then season with salt and pepper.
Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator or use immediately as a condiment/topping.