A few extra ears of fresh corn last week got me on quite a roll! I was making the Grill-Roasted Corn to serve with my London Broil with Sweet and Smoky Tomato Salsa when I realized that I had purchased more corn than I needed. So, I decided to roast the extra cobs thinking it might be fun to make a salsa with the delicious roasted corn and came up with the Roasted Corn Salsa with Mango and Fresh Pineapple that I shared on The Café yesterday.
I served the salsa as an appetizer on Saturday evening but when I saw there was a bit leftover, my brain started rolling again! I had some beautiful boneless pork chops in the freezer from Costco and, sticking with the Southwestern theme, came up with these delicious South of the Border Grilled Boneless Pork Chops. Are you starting to guess what we had for dinner on Sunday?? Yup, I brined the pork chops all day and then an hour before grilling rubbed them with a simple southwestern herb/spice mixture. The chops turned out fantastic and such a wonderful complement to the sweet, spicy salsa.
Brining is the big secret to grilled pork chops as it helps the meat stay moist, tender and flavorful. Another secret: is this... don't cook them too long -use an instant meat thermometer (inexpensive and readily available). Most people tend to overcook pork for many reason, but according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) guidelines, "pork chops, roasts and tenderloins can be safely cooked to medium rare at a final internal cooked temperature of 145 degrees Fahrenheit as measured by a food thermometer, followed by a three minute rest time".
The rest time mentioned above is the last secret: it helps to seal the juices and flavor into the meat and allows those juices inside to redistribute. I know it's SO tempting to dive into the succulent meat as soon as it emerges from the grill, but give it a few minutes to "do it's thing" and you will be surprised at the difference this small exercise in patience can make! Hope you enjoy this delicious pork entreé along with the salsa, but if you see me at the grocery store buying more corn, please remind me how much work will be involved (coming up with new recipes) if I go overboard and purchase all those extra cobs again! :)
South of the Border Grilled Pork Chops with Roasted Corn Salsa
FOR THE RUB
1 teaspoon chile powder
½ teaspoon dried coriander
½ teaspoon cumin
½ teaspoon dried oregano
½ teaspoon smoked paprika
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon lime juice
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
FOR THE BRINE
1 quart water
½ cup kosher salt
½ cup sugar
4 medium boneless pork chops, about 1 inch thick
1. To brine the chops: Combine the water, salt, sugar in a bowl stirring occasionally, until the sugar and salt dissolve. Pour brine mixture into a ziplock bag, add pork chops, seal and refrigerate 4-6 hours.
2. In a small bowl, combine the rub ingredients and mix well.
3. One hour before grilling, drain the pork chops, rinse them well and pat dry. Place on a plate and rub all over with the herb/spice mixture.
4. Heat grill with one side on medium high and the other medium low.
5. When the grill is heated, sear the chops over the hotter area for about 1 1/2 min.
per side, then move them to the less hot area. Cover the grill and continue to cook until the chops reach an internal temperature of 145 degrees F. Transfer to a platter and let rest, loosely covered with foil for about 3- 5 minutes before serving.