Saturday, August 15, 2009

Oink! Zesty Southwest BBQ Pork Chops

Zesty! Isn’t that a fun word? I challenge you to use the word “zesty” at least three times today. For example, “My you’re lookin’ mighty “zesty” today!” Yeah, yeah ... I've warned you before about my deficiencies in the joke department. :-)

I found this recipe on-line at the Allrecipes website. It had favorable reviews, and so I thought I’d give it a whirl. I’m a big fan of pork, especially chops. In the past few years, however, the good old piggy population has been bred to crank out leaner and leaner oinkers. That equates to dryer, less flavorful meat. Think about it. The number one complaint about pork chops is that they turn out too dry. To combat this calamity, I’ve turned to brining the chops. It’s a very easy solution, but takes some time. All I do is make a salt water solution, sometimes adding sugar, and let the choppies soak in it for a couple of hours. The end result is always good. Still, I long for the chops of old ... pigs that were raised out in the barn yard with lots of good old fat marbling the meat. Back in my high school days, one of my good friends lived on a pig farm. Oh, the little piglets were sooo cute! Was it messy? Yes. Did it smell to high Heaven? Kinda. Did they taste good? Oooh yeah. Amazingly good! Come on folks, let's band together and demand pork to be raised in the same manner as from era's gone by.

Today’s recipe, does not involving banding together or brining, but it does involve marinating. It looked spectacular, smelled to high Heaven (in a good way this time), but the pork favor was just average. Not bad, not outstanding, just average. Why am I showing you average stuff? Well, first of all, we’ve all been there, and second of all, the rub and sauce that accompanies this really is very, very good. I suspect that I’ve love this on chicken, particularly boneless breasts (another meat that has become less and less flavorful).I served this with a wonderful whipped cauliflower. I don’t know whether to call it just whipped cauliflower or cauliflower gratin. It needs a really zesty name (did you catch that I used “zesty”) because it was absolutely wonderful. South Beach Dieters and Atkins dieters (I think) brought this dish to popularity as a substitute for mashed potatoes. I loved it! Look for it in the next post.

Onward, now, with today’s recipe. Here it is as adapted from Allrecipies. I’ve noted where I modified the ingredients.


4 teaspoons dried minced onion (I used 3)
2 teaspoons ground cumin (I used 1)
1 teaspoon cornstarch (I totally forgot to add it)
1 teaspoon chili power
1 teaspoon dried minced garlic (I used powder)
½ teaspoon dried oregano (I didn’t use this)
½ teaspoon paprika (I used smoked paprika, yum!)
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
6 bone-in pork chops (about 3/4” thick or so)
¼ cup barbecue sauce
2 tablespoons lemon juice


In a small bowl, combine the first eight ingredients, and rub over both sides of the pork chops. Place the pork chops in a large resealable plastic bag. Pour the barbeque sauce and lemon juice over the chops. Gently rub bag to distribute the sauce. (Note: One of the bones pierced my bag, so I simply double bagged it) Refrigerate 1-2 hours (I did about 4 hours.)

Grill the cops, covered, over medium heat or broil 6 in. from the heat for 6-8 minutes on each side or until a meat thermometer read 160 degrees F.NOTE: I grilled mine differently than suggested. If I’d have left these on for 6-8 minutes per side, they’d have turned to cardboard. Instead, I grilled mine, covered, on medium heat (about 400 degrees) for 5 minutes per side. Then I placed them in a baking pan, covered them with foil, and let them sit for about not quite 10 minutes.They cooked perfectly.See how tender they are cooked that way? Also, because the marinade contains bbq sauce, which has sugar in it, watch carefully to prevent burning.

And there you have it. The sauce was really good. Sweet and spicy, and it really “clung” to the meat. The minced onion completely rehydrated, and despite the large amount of it, it did not overpower the other ingredients. Next time, I’ll make extra sauce to serve on the side. Actually, next time I think I’ll brine the meat as I always do, whip up a zesty sauce using all of the other ingredients listed, and then baste the zesty goodness on top.How do you keep your pork chops tender and juicy? (and zesty??? hehe) Speaking of zesty, I had asked my littlest pork chop to go out to the garden and bring me in a couple small leaves of basil for our tomato salad.Here’s what the imp brought me. Little stinker.

(One more thing, this is gluten free, too, as is the cauliflower recipe soon to come!)


noble pig said...

Looks so good! The grill just works wonders.

Pam said...

I love a child that does exactly what they are told to do.

Marjie said...

I never cook pork chops because they are always dry. I also only cook the "pork picnic" for the same reason, besides the fact that it's fun to say, "Let's have some zesty pork picnic for dinner!" Is there anything more fun than picnic in January?

I channeled you tonight and cooked pasta in red sauce. Everyone else loves it, so I tolerate it.

Manggy said...

Omigosh. I actually thought about the origin of the word "zest" today. That is creepy. However, I did not persevere to make a joke out of it ;)

Looks like the little one will turn out to be the joker in the family, haha! :) Love pork chops!!

doggybloggy said...

surely you zest.....

Cathy said...

Your sauce looks delish, Paula. I agree with you about pork and chicken breats sometimes being dry and tasteless. I think that a lot of those skinless, boneless chicken breasts taste like cardboard or sawdust.

Looking forward to the cauli recipe.

Pam said...

Look at those cute little basil leaves...that cracked me up.

The chops looks so moist and tender. I really need to try brining mine.

Bellini Valli said...

Fire up the grill Gouda we are coming over:D

Grace said...

i'm not sure how i'd take it if someone told me i looked zesty. i think i'd like it. i know i'd like your chops here--gorgeous grill-work. :)

Spryte said...

mmmm totally groovin' on the pig! YUM!!

Lo said...

Loving these. Especially the zesty part :)

My "trick" lately has been to buy heritage pig from local farms. So much less lean... and hence, less dry.

However, I'll admit I'm a big fan of brining... when I can find the time to "do ahead".

Mickle in NZ said...

After reading dear Marjie's brining the chickens while they thaw, as a a lead up to baking them post, and another cooking one where even spare ribs were brined, I'm a huge fan of this method.

Folks out there - even if you're a singleton, brining your good meat works.

Coz then you get to try Paula's pork method - great for chops and ribs... and ... your tummy will thank you

WARNING Your Feline and Canine pets wont like you while you cook and eat these. Not at all

Cheryl said...

Wow those look scrummy! We have started to brine pork as well, I spent some time on a farm growing up and we had our own pigs, nothing like it!

DayPhoto said...

You are so right about the raising of pork. We raised pigs for years and years and years only stopping 4 years ago. Mainly because I wanted a good peice of meat to put on the plate. A piece of meat that I knew had NOT been fed meat for protein, but soy beans for protein. Had a good life, full of water and yummy food, and a great big mud wallow on hot days. I wanted a happy pig.

Now I have the same issues as everyone else so having your thoughts and recipes for this yummiest of meats is really nice!


Deborah said...

Too bad they were just ok. But the recipe does look like it has potential!