Sweet and Salty Pork Chops

When the pork comes off the grill, it is as sweet as proverbial candy, and the curing keeps what is often a dry cut of meat deliciously moist.


Sweet and Salty Pork Chops

Recipe Notes

  • Advance Prep: 1 to 3 days for curing the pork
  • Yield: Serves 4


  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon coarse salt (kosher or sea)
  • 1 tablespoon sweet paprika
  • 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 boneless pork chops (each 1/2 to 3/4 inch thick and 6 to 7 ounces), or 1-1/2 pounds pork loin (2 to 3 tenderloins)
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • Rice, for serving (optional)

Recipe Steps

Step 1: Place the sugar, salt, paprika, pepper, and garlic in a small mixing bowl and stir to mix. (Actually, your fingers work better for mixing a rub than a spoon or whisk does.)

Step 2: If using pork loin, cut it crosswise into 1/2-inch-thick slices. Place the pork in a baking dish and sprinkle the rub all over both sides, patting it onto the meat with your fingertips. Let the meat cure in the refrigerator, covered, for at least 24 hours or as long as 3 days (the longer the meat cures, the stronger the flavor). You can also cure the spice-rubbed pork in a resealable plastic bag (this is what I do, as it takes up less room in the refrigerator).

Step 3: Set up the grill for direct grilling and preheat to high.

Step 4: When ready to grill, brush and oil the grill grate. Using a rubber spatula, scrape most of the rub off the pork. Lightly brush the chops on both sides with the oil. Place the chops on the hot grate and grill until browned on the outside and cooked through, 2 to 3 minutes per side. To test for doneness, use the poke method; the meat should be firm but gently yielding.

Step 5: Transfer the grilled pork to a platter or plates, let it rest for 2 minutes, then serve. Rice makes a good accompaniment.

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Steven Raichlen, a national barbecue treasure and author of The Barbecue! Bible, How to Grill, and other books in the Barbecue! Bible series, embarks on a quest to find the soul of American barbecue, from barbecue-belt classics-Lone Star Brisket, Lexington Pulled Pork, K.C. Pepper Rub, Tennessee Mop Sauce-to the grilling genius of backyards, tailgate parties, […]

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