Cuban Grilled Pork Chops

Pork, the other white meat, is a favorite in our house. It’s great on a grill. Delicious when marinated, rubbed or barbecued. So versatile.  The mild flavor of pork surrenders well to smoke. It’s just a great meat to work with. I adore pork. If you cannot find chops in the market to your liking, it’s really easy to buy a nice tenderloin and cut your own. For larger chops, use a loin roast. (And no, that’s not a mistake – tenderloin and loin are NOT the same cut of the animals. The tenderloin is long and narrow, while the loin is short and wide).

comparing cuts of pork

The rub of this recipe gives a nice outer layer of flavor. The sliced mangoes on the side gives color and a tropical feel to the plate. Can’t you just hear the steel drums?  Makes me want to serve cold beverages with slices of pineapple and little umbrellas.

Cuban Grilled Pork Chops
Ingredients – Cuban Rub
2 tablespoons grated lime peel
1 tablespoon cumin seeds
1 tablespoon cracked black pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 Garlic Clove, finely chopped

In small bowl, mix all Cuban Rub ingredients. Set aside until ready to use.

Ingredients – Pork Chops
4 Boneless Pork Loin or Rib Chops, 1″ thick (2 lbs)
1 Mango, sliced
3 Cups Cooked White Rice or Rice Pilaf

Trim excess fat from pork. Work rub into pork chops. Let sit on counter while a fire is built. The chops should sit for about 30 to 40 minutes for the rub to do its thing.

Heat coals for direct grilling. While fire is being built, steam rice.

Place pork 4-6 inches from medium ash coals. Cover and grill 8-10 minutes, turning frequently using barbecue tongs until pork is no longer pink and meat thermometer inserted in center reads 160-degrees. DO NOT over-grill.

Remove from grill, tent and let rest 5-10 minutes.

Serve rice with a pork chop on top. Garnish the plates with mango slices.

This dish would go well with Mango and Jicama Salad



Colorful Mediterranean Grilled Pork with Mediterranean Salsa

Now is the perfect time to grill up some beautiful pork chops and serve them topped with a wonderful Mediterranean Salsa of olives and tomatoes. Let the Mediterranean Sea whisper to your inner soul and fill your heart with joy.

mediterranean-definition_921113Unlike other cuisines, Mediterranean Cuisines isn’t of a particular ethnic persuasion but rather a culinary style of cooking that is influenced by an array of diverse people living around the Mediterranean Sea. Almost since the beginning of civilization, the sea has been an intersection of trade between Asia, Europe and Africa. This exchange of ideas, cultures and goods has resulted in some of the most delightful culinary offerings anywhere. Olives are the most common ingredient in Mediterranean cooking. Beef is rare, as the rocky landscape does not easily support large stock domestic animals. Goat, lamb, pig and chicken are the more common meats. Fish from the sea is the most typical source of protein in the Mediterranean diet. Eastern Mediterranean brings an influence of Greece, Turkey, Syria, Lebanon, Israel, Palestine, and Egypt. Southern Europe brings with it Southern France, Italy and Spain, with a preference toward grilled meats, tomatoes and red wine both in the foods and at the table. Northern Africa brings spice of Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, and Libya to the table. This accumulation of styles and traditions sets Mediterranean Cuisine apart.

Mediterranean Grilled Pork with Mediterranean Salsa
Ingredients – Spice Rubbed Pork
2 teaspoons dark brown sugar
2 teaspoons crushed or chopped fennel seeds
1-1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika
1-1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
1-1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1-1/2 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil
6 boneless pork loin chops, about 3/4 inch thick

To Make the Pork: In a small bowl, mix the brown sugar, fennel seeds, paprika, garlic powder, pepper, and salt.

Build a hot charcoal fire. While the grill heats, lightly coat both sides of the pork chops with the oil and rub with the spice rub. Clean the hot grate with a wire brush; oil the grate.

Grill the meat uncovered over direct heat on the hottest part of the grill, taking care not to crowd the meat. Cook until the meat forms impressive grill marks on one side, 2 to 3 minutes. Turn and continue to grill until the meat is just firm to touch and just cooked through, an additional 3 to 4 minutes for pork chops, depending on their thickness. Watch out for flare-ups! Transfer to a serving platter and let rest for 5 minutes. Serve with the salsa spooned alongside or over the meat.

Ingredients – Mediterranean Salsa
2 scant cups cherry (or grape) tomatoes, quartered
1/2 small red onion, cut into small dice (about 1/2 cup)
1/4 cup coarsely chopped pimento-stuffed green olives
2 tablespoons drained capers
2 tablespoons torn fresh basil leaves
1 large clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice; more to taste
1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

To Make the Salsa: In a medium bowl, combine the tomatoes, onion, olives, capers, basil, garlic, olive oil, lemon juice, lemon zest, and 1/4 teaspoon each kosher salt and pepper. Let stand while the meat grills. Before serving, adjust the lemon juice, salt, and pepper to taste.

Rice Pilaf makes for a wonderful side, as does a Greek Salad.

Cuocere Stile Italiano – Grilled Pork Chops with Italian Relish

I don’t remember where I first stumbled upon the recipe for Grilled Pork Chops with Italian Relish. It was in a magazine some fifteen or twenty years ago. Like so many the recipes I’ve clipped and filed away over the years, I filed it in the back of my mind as well, knowing that when the time was right, a light would come on and I’d remember having clipped the perfect recipe to prepare.

Continue reading “Cuocere Stile Italiano – Grilled Pork Chops with Italian Relish”

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