Recipe: Dry rub and wet marinade for perfect pork chops by David Theiss
June 5, 2018
We've all cooked that dry pork chop and wondered what went wrong. Today I'm offering a surefire way to enjoy that tasty pork chop without having to choke down dry meat.
Pork has changed over the years; what was once a sketchy food that most definitely needed to be overcooked in order to be eaten safely is now a great protein many enjoy. With the refinement in growing and processing techniques along with reliable refrigeration, you no longer need to cremate it to enjoy it.
Food habits are hard to change, (like overcooking pork), but with solid research and lots of development of pork, they have come up with suggestions as to how to cook it properly and still enjoy a moist, tender pork chop for any meal.
I really like grilled pork chops for the wonderful flavor; my cooking suggestion today is two different ways to prepare pork chops before grilling to help with the process: one is a wet marinade and the other a dry marinade.
Wet marinade, as it sounds, has a liquid feature (not always water) and includes seasoning, juices, vinegars, etc., that are blended and introduced to the pork for a period of time to embellish flavor, tenderness and juiciness. Key ingredients to a wet marinade include an acid (citrus, vinegar, and wine work well), an oil (olive and avocado oils work great), spices, and herbs for flavor. The idea is the acid in the citrus or vinegars help break down the tissue while the oil and seasonings infuse the meat with flavor while absorbing moisture. These ingredients and the time put into it will reward you with tender and juicy pork chops.
The other option is a dry marinade, which is a dry rub that's applied to the pork before setting for at least an hour as to impart its flavor into the meat. This can be your favorite dry rub or a number of seasonings that go with pork. The favorites are cumin, garlic, rosemary, thyme, onion, mustards, and peppers (black, white, cayenne, and chili). Dry marinade helps flavor the pork and creates a nice crusty exterior when cooked perfectly with a bit higher heat. They're delicious!
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Now for the most critical part: cooking. Your grill can be gas or charcoal, but either way, be prepared to spend some time there. Pour yourself some wine and enjoy the aromas coming off your grill while tending to the meat. Make sure you have a decent meat thermometer handy as this is the best way to tell when they're finished.
After turning your meat several times, be sure to check the internal temperature in the thickest portion of the meat. Wait about 30 seconds for the most accurate reading.
Cooked pork temperatures have also changed over the years; the U.S.D.A. now recommends finished pork is 145 degrees with a three-minute rest. This new recommended temperature is a significant 15 degrees less than what was previously recommended and typically will yield a finished product that's pinker in color than most home cooks are accustomed to … but they're much more delicious, tender and juicy. I personally recommend a five-minute rest under a foil cover after bringing them off of the grill when they hit 145 degrees. Resting is a really important step in cooking meat. Steak, chicken roast, turkey, and pork all are generally tastier, more tender and juicer, when rested after cooking. With a little preparation and attention to times and temperatures, you too can have a delicious, tender, juicy pork chop for dinner!
Simple rules for marinating effectively
Beef, chicken and pork should be marinated for no less than one hour and no more than 24 hours.
Use plastic or glass containers. Plastic storage bags work great also.
Make sure to refrigerate while marinating.
Don't reuse marinades once it has been in contact with your protein. You may use it to baste while cooking, but it must be discarded afterwards.
David's Dry Rub
This rub works well with all kinds of meat, so use a little and save the rest for another meal! It's also great on steaks!
1 tablespoon garlic salt
1 tablespoon onion salt
1 tablespoon celery salt
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon ground thyme
1/4 teaspoon dry mustard
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
Combine all ingredients and mix well. Rub on pork chops and place on a rack so both sides can be open to the air in your refrigerator. Let sit for a half an hour in the refrigerator, then let sit at room temperature for 15 minutes. Cook on grill approximately 400 degrees, pour that wine, and watch them cook. After turning several times, test the temperature and remove at 145 degrees. Let rest for five minutes covered, and then serve.
Wet Marinade for a tangy pork chop
Makes enough for 4 pork chops
3/4 cup apple cider vinegar
3 tablespoons soy sauce
Pinch black pepper
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon granulated garlic
1/2 teaspoon granulated onion
1 chopped scallion
1/2 teaspoon mustard
Combine all ingredients, mix thoroughly and pour marinade over the chops. Seal the top and make sure all ingredients cover the pork. Retire to refrigerator for at least an hour. I prefer two hours.
Cook on grill at about 350 degrees turning several times. With wet marinade, slower is better. Test with thermometer, remove at 145 degrees, rest for five minutes with a foil cover and serve. Enjoy!
David Theiss is owner of Butler Gourmet Meats, serving Carson City for over 45 years.