Thursday, June 11, 2009

Honey Mustard Glazed Pork Loin Chops

I discovered loin chops a few years ago and have been never bought another cut of chop. Most people think of pork chops as dry and flavorless, but given the right cut, they can be as juicy and delicious as a steak. My husband hated pork chops when we met, but after trying this cut, he asks for them almost every week. One of the really great things about pork chops is that you can make them so many different ways. You can grill, broil, or even sear then finish in the oven. They take very little effort and are a super, easy dinner choice. They are delicious with my grilled potatoes with fresh aioli and lemon scented green beans. Yum!

The biggest secret to an amazing loin chop is its thickness. You want to look for a chop that's at least an inch and half thick. My local stores only have chops of this thickness in the butcher's case, so be sure to look for them there.

Another really important element in making the perfect chop is to not overcook it. Many home cooks swear that pork should be completely white through and through (well done). Not so! The best pork chops are cooked to medium-medium well. DO NOT OVERCOOK YOUR CHOPS! I use the touch method when grilling; however, you can also use a meat thermometer if that's what makes you comfortable. I cook my chops until they have a slight give in the center when pressed with a finger or tongs. This "give" tells me my meat is done. Never pierce your chops to determine doneness; you will just end up with dry meat as all the juices will run right out.

Two other quick tips I will elaborate upon in upcoming Technique Tuesday posts: 1) start with your meat at room temperature and 2) let your meat rest for at least 5 minutes before cutting or serving.


The chops:
2 boneless pork loin chops (at least 1 1/2 inches thick) salt
pepper garlic powder

The glaze:
3 tbsp. honey
3 tbsp. dijon mustard
1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 finely minced garlic clove (search "garlic" for tips on mincing)
2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar


Preheat an outdoor gas grill to 350 degrees. Sprinkle a liberal amount of salt on each chop, then sprinkle with garlic powder and pepper (approximately 1/4-1/3 the amount of pepper as salt should be perfect). Sear chops, seasoned side down for 4-5 minutes. While chops are searing, sprinkle seasonings on the other side. Turn chops (you'll know it's time to turn them when they come easily off the grill). While chops are searing, mix glaze ingredients. Using a pastry brush, brush a liberal amount of the glaze onto the top of each chop. After another 4-5 minutes of cooking, turn chop, reducing the grill's heat to low (make sure you do this step to ensure that the sugars in the glaze don't burn). Baste the unglazed side and cook another 1-2 minutes. Test doneness and remove from the grill. Let the chops stand for 5-10 minutes before serving.

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