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Grilled Mojito Pork Chops for Memorial Day

The sun is out, and I want to cook outside. Digging through the freezer for something to toss on the grill, I came out with pork chops, and remembered seing a recipe for them, grilled after spending some time in a mojito marinade. With all the mint in the back yard and the arrival of spring (finally!), it seemed like a good idea for a back yard dinner party.

This is not something I normally do – cook pork chops on the grill. Because they are notorious for coming off the grill with the texture of a shoe. And not a light strappy sandal – a big ol’ work boot. You know what I’m talking about. People are hard-wired to overcook pork, making it tough and dry. But if you cook it just until it’s cooked through, not giving it extra time “just to be sure”, a grilled pork chop can be a wonderful thing.

This is also a great dish for a party – served with – what else? Ice-cold mojitos.

It took about five minutes to stir together the marinade – grated orange and lime zest and the juice of both, garlic, cumin, a splash of tequila if you’re so inclined and a handful of mint. I chopped up a salad – a technique my sister has taken to this summer – tossing in some cold rice, and dinner was on the table in under 20 minutes. The boys all asked for more, and ate it all first, jamming bites in one after another as if it were a pile of M&Ms on their plate next to the salad.

Mojito Pork Chops

adapted from Maple Leaf, by Emily Richards

grated zest and juice of an orange
grated zest and juice of a lime
2 Tbsp. canola or olive oil
1 Tbsp. tequila (optional)
2 Tbsp. chopped fresh mint
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
6 boneless center cut pork chops

Stir together orange and lime zest and juice, oil, tequila (if using), mint, garlic and cumin. Set aside 1/4 cup marinade for basting. Add remaining marinade to pork chops and turn to coat. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or for up to 4 hours.

Preheat grill to medium high heat. Grill chops, basting with reserved marinade and turning once, for 10 to 15 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 160F. Allow meat to rest for 2 minutes before serving. Serves 6.

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