Thin pork chops are an idea I learned from from John Willoughby and Chris Schlesinger in Gourmet magazine. They suggest you think thin, crispy and flavorful, instead of the usual thick and juicy. For a quick weeknight meal on the grill, thin is good - it cooks quickly, and gets dinner on the table that much faster.
Even though you're looking for thin and crispy, this is modern pork.* You have to be careful to not overcook it, or you'll dry it out. The brinerade gives you a little cushion, but the real trick is to only cook them on one side. They are thin enough to cook through, and they'll be nicely browned on that one side that's always facing the grill.
*As I've said before, it's been renamed "modern pork", and it's a euphemism for "there's no fat in there."
Recipe: Grilled Thin Pork Chops, Quick Brinerated
- Grill (I used a Weber Summit 650. Here it is.)
- 2 to 3 lbs Thin Cut Pork Chops (1/4" to 1/2" thick, preferably rib chops)
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 2 tbsp honey
- 2 tbsp olive oil
1. Brinerate the pork chops: Whisk the brinerade ingredients in a small bowl until well combined.
*I use a 2 cup pyrex measuring cup for my bowl, and I whisk with a fork.
Put the pork chops in a medium bowl, and pour the brinerade over them, reserving roughly 2 tbsp of the brinerade for later. Toss the pork chops to evenly cover with the marinade, and toss once or twice while the grill preheats.
2. Prepare the grill: Preheat your grill, then set it up for grilling on direct medium heat. For my Weber Summit, this means turning all the burners to high and preheating for 10 minutes, then turning them all down to medium and starting to cook.
3. Cook the chops: Toss the chops one more time in the bowl, put them on the grill, and keep the lid closed while cooking. Let them cook for 2-3 minutes, until they have good grill marks on them, then rotate them 90 degrees*, and cook them another 2-3 minutes.
*Again, don't flip them, just rotate them about a quarter turn. It gives you that nice diamond pattern on that you can see in the picture at the top of this post.
At this point, they should be cooked through - they'll have gone from pink to white on the side that's been facing up the whole time. (If you have 1/2" thick chops instead of 1/4" chops, you may need to flip them and cook them for another minute.)
4. Glaze and serve: Remove the chops to a platter, and pour the reserved brinerade over the chops, trying to get an even coating on all of them. Let rest for five minutes (if you can), then serve.
*Asian style: the soy sauce is already giving them a little bit of an asian flavor; you can play this up by replacing the balsamic vinegar with seasoned asian rice vinegar, and the olive oil with peanut or sesame oil.
*Barbecued pork chops: When done, brush the chops with barbecue sauce instead of the reserved brinerade.
*If you can get a jump start on dinner, start the brinerating step up to an hour and a half before it's time to cook. Don't go beyond that, or the vinegar in the brinerade will start to pickle the chops.
*For the rest of your meal, serve a salad tossed with red wine vinaigrette and grilled corn that you cooked with the pork chops.
*Don't forget to gnaw on the bones...it's my favorite part!
Questions? Comments? Other ideas? Leave them in the comments section below.
This recipe is part of Quick Grilling Week
Grilled Boneless Pork Loin Chops, Brined and Honey Glazed recipe
Grilled Corn recipe
"Doc" Willoughby and Chris Schlesinger: Grill It!
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