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!)