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As a student at the Institute of Culinary Education, a lot of people ask me, “Sara, what’s your favorite thing that you’ve learned in culinary school so far?!” This has proven to be an extremely difficult question because we’ve covered so many interesting techniques and delicious dishes, but when push comes to shove, my go-to answer has been grilling! Before school, everything that I knew about grilling were random tidbits that I had picked up from my dad over the years (sooooo, not much! JK, sorry Dad).
I'll admit, when I saw that a grilled pork chop was one of the dishes that we’d prepare when we were focusing on grilling, I was not too thrilled about it. It’s not that I don’t like pork chops, I just never considered it to be a cut of meat that I’d intentionally seek out. Give me all the ribeyes and New York strips, but a pork chop?! Why?? That all changed until I tried the chop that we prepared in class. It was far from the dry, boring meal that I had remembered it to be. Instead, it was succulent and tender yet charred and crispy on the outside. I had no idea it could be so tasty!
The key to a grilled pork chop that’s not dry or bland is a quick, 1 hour marinade in a sugar-salt solution. Not only does this help to tenderize the protein, but it imparts flavor into the entire cut. Here, I’m serving the grilled chop with a summery blueberry and peach chimichurri atop a bed of greens. Don’t have bloobs or peaches? You can substitute in any fresh berries or stone fruit that you may have picked up at the farmers’ market. Keep it simple and keep it fresh! Your perfect pork chop will thank you!
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more to taste
- 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
- 4 pork chops, bone-in (about 1 inch thick)
- 2 cups blueberries, fresh, coarsely chopped
- 1 peach, pitted and coarsely chopped
- 1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
- 1/2 cup parsley, chopped
- 2 tablespoons oregano, chopped
- 1 large clove garlic, grated
- 3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
- Canola oil, for grilling
- Freshly ground black pepper, To Taste
- Fresh greens, for serving
- 1 avocado, sliced
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes, sliced
- 1 small red onion, sliced
In a medium bowl, whisk 16 fluid ounces water with 2 tablespoons kosher salt and sugar. Transfer to a shallow baking dish and add pork chops. The pork chops do not need to be completely submerged, but the liquid should reach at least half way up the pork chop. If the liquid doesn’t, add more water. Let pork chops sit in water solution for 45 minutes to 1 hour, flipping halfway through.
Meanwhile, make the chimichurri. In a medium bowl, add blueberries, peach, cilantro, parsley, oregano, garlic, oil, vinegar, salt and pepper.
Preheat a grill or grill pan to medium high heat. Remove pork chops from sugar-salt solution and pat dry. Rub with oil and season with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Grill until sear marks are golden brown and internal thermometer reaches 145˚F, about 6 minutes per side. Let rest on a cooling rack for at least 5 minutes before slicing.
In a large bowl, toss greens with avocado, tomatoes, and red onion. Top with sliced pork and chimichurri. Serve immediately.