|Pork chops marinated in traditional Cuban flavors and then grilled. Make them before it's too cold to grill!|
(Updated with photos and better instructions, September 2013) During my time as a leader in my local teacher's union, I was lucky enough to visit Miami several times for meetings, and pork marinated in sour orange and lime juice was one type of Cuban cuisine that I loved every time I tried it there. In the earliest days of my blog I developed this recipe for Grilled Cuban Pork Chops Mojo to capture some of the flavors I remembered from Miami, and it's been hanging out in the archives longing for some photos all this time! I finally snapped some pictures of these tasty pork chops, so hopefully I can inspire some of you to try them (and I hate to bring it up, but grilling weather won't be around too much longer for this year!) Be sure to serve with limes cut lengthwise into fourths, so each person can squeeze lots of fresh lime juice over their pork chop.
The original recipe made enough marinade for 8 pork chops, but now that I'm more experienced at writing recipes I realize most people won't want to make that much at once. I found a package of three pork chops in my freezer, so I used that and cut the recipe down to 4 servings for this updated version. (Please imagine there are four pork chops in this photo!) Trim all the visible fat from the pork chops.
Then use a meat mallet (or something heavy) to pound the chops until they're only about 1/2 inch thick.
Mix together the orange juice, lime juice, oil, garlic, oregano, cumin, onion, and pork chop seasoning (if using) to make the marinade. Add the bay leaves when it's all mixed.
Put the pork chops into a Ziploc bag with the marinade mixture and marinate in the fridge for 6 hours (or a little longer won't hurt.)
When you're ready to cook, let the chops come to room temperature while you spray the grill with nonstick grilling spray and heat to medium-high. Then lay pork chops at an angle and cook 4-5 minutes (until you see grill marks when you lift up one piece.)
Rotate them going the other way and cook 4-5 minutes longer (until you have criss-cross grill marks when you lift up one piece.)
Then turn pork chops to the other side and cook 4-5 minutes longer, or until the pork chops are firm (but not hard) to the touch. Serve hot, with lots of cut limes to squeeze over the meat.
(Makes 4 servings, recipe created by Kalyn)
4 thick boneless pork top loin chops
2 limes, cut into quarters (for squeezing on the pork chops at the table)
1/3 cup fresh-squeezed orange juice
3 T fresh squeezed lime juice (I use my fresh-frozen lime juice)
2 T vegetable oil (I used grapeseed oil)
2 tsp. garlic puree (I used Trader Joe's crushed garlic)
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. minced fresh onion (or 1/2 tsp. dried onion flakes will work)
1/2 tsp. Penzey's Pork Chop Seasoning (optional, but it adds a slight hickory flavor which is good; you could also use a few tiny drops of Liquid Smoke.)
1-2 bay leaves
Trim all visible fat from pork chops and pound them with a meat mallet until they are about 1/2 inch thick. Mix all marinade ingredients. Place the pork chops in single layer in Ziploc bag. add the marinade, and marinate 6 hours in refrigerator (or a little longer won't hurt.)
When you're ready to cook, take the pork chops out of the fridge, remove from marinade, and let them come to room temperature. Spray gas or charcoal grill with nonstick grill spray, and preheat to medium-high heat (you can hold your hand there 2-3 seconds at that heat.)
Lay the pork chops on an angle and grill 4-5 minutes, or until you see nice grill marks. (Check after 4 minutes by lifting one edge of a pork chop.) Rotate going the opposite way and grill 4-5 minutes more, or until you see nice criss-cross marks. Turn pork chops to the other side and cook 4-5 minutes longer, or until the pork chops are firm, but not hard, to the touch. (If you have an instant-read meat thermometer, the pork should be at least 145°F when it's done.)
Serve hot, with lots of fresh lime pieces to squeeze on the meat.
South Beach Suggestions:
Technically the South Beach Diet doesn't permit fruit or fruit juice for Phase One (except for lemon and lime juice, which is allowed in small amounts.) But when you eat these pork chops, you're only eating the very small amount of juice that clings to the meat; most of the marinade is thrown away. Because of that, I would eat this for any phase of the diet.
I chose the South Beach Diet to manage my weight partly so I wouldn't have to count calories, carbs, points, or fat grams, but if you want nutritional information for a recipe, I recommend entering the recipe into Calorie Count, which will calculate it for you.
More Recipes with Cuban Flavors:
(Recipes from other blogs not always South Beach Diet friendly; check ingredients.)
Cuban Black Beans and Rice ~ The Perfect Pantry
Cuban Flank Steak ~ Kalyn's Kitchen
CrockPot Cuban Pork ~ Eclectic Recipes
Spicy Lime Coleslaw ~ Kalyn's Kitchen
Picadillo Cubano ~ My Colombian Recipes
(Want even more recipes? I find these recipes from other blogs using Food Blog Search.)
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