Green tea makes pork chops flavorful and unique
photo by: John Young
Pork chops, while delicious, often end up either really boring or REALLY fattening.
I mean, I love a breaded and fried chop with gravy and taters as much as the next person, but we can’t be eating like that more than, say, once a year, right?
So in an effort to make juicy, flavorful pork chops that don’t cause massive coronary, I have been experimenting with marinades, which I usually don’t put a lot of stock in.
I have learned that the secret to a perfect chop is in the brine. If you buy the big, thick, boneless chops that looks so enticing in the store, you are going to need to brine them for maximum flavor. What goes in that brine, though, is important.
My favorite thing so far has been a green tea brine. The tea makes for an interesting but not overpowering flavor, and I add plenty of other spices and flavors to really make that chop sing. It leans toward the Asian palette, which is always a good thing for me. Soy sauce and Sriracha? Yes please!
Green Tea Sriracha Pork Chops
For the brine:
4 cups green tea at double concentrate
1 cup soy sauce
1 cup orange juice
2 tablespoons Sriracha
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
Fresh sage (a few leaves)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup brown sugar
For the chops:
6 thick, boneless pork chops
2 cups reserved brine
2 cups water
Combine the ingredients for the brine and submerge the chops for up to 24 hours in the refrigerator. I put the chops in a zip-close bag and pour in the brine but a shallow casserole would work too.
Remove everything from the refrigerator at least an hour before cooking to let the meat come closer to room temperature before cooking.
Pre-heat the oven to 350 F.
Heat a skillet (of course I recommend cast iron) over high heat for a few minutes, and then brown each chop on both sides. Don’t skimp on this step. Get them really nice and brown. Don’t overcrowd the pan, either, or your chops will start to steam. The thicker the chop, the longer you will need to leave them in the frying pan.
Meanwhile, transfer 2 cups of brine to a large casserole dish and add 2 cups of water to dilute.
Once the chops are all seared on both sides, return them to the baking dish and bake in the marinade for 25 to 30 minutes.
*Note: it is no longer necessary to cook pork completely through, but you do need to get it to an internal temp of at least 145 degrees.