Summer may not officially be here yet, but with kids out of school plus temps and humidity climbing ever higher, I think it's safe to say that summer has begun. This time of year is all about cooking out, but if you’ve gotten stuck in grilling gridlock, bust out of the chicken and burger rut and throw a few bone-in pork chops on the fire instead.
Pork chops take on a variety of flavors with ease, making them a perfect vehicle for a multitude of marinade options. This recipe, courtesy of the National Pork Board, is simple, savory and transports your tastebuds straight to the Mediterranean. And did I mention it was simple? In not much more time than it takes to open a pack of hot dogs, you can whip up the marinade and infuse your chops with the essence of lemon, fresh basil and garlic. A drizzle of balsamic vinegar at the end provides a pop of piquant zip.
Serve these chops with equally easy-to-prepare sides like roasted potatoes and parmesan broiled tomatoes.
NOTE: If you’re fearful of grilling pork because you're nervous that you’ll overcook it, invest in a good meat thermometer. They’re not expensive, and they’ll help you ensure your chops (and any other meats you grill) are cooked to precisely the right temperature. Some models include a wireless gauge that will alert you when they're done, so no more worrying or or constantly checking your watch.
Basil-Garlic Pork Chops
4 porterhouse (or other bone-in) pork chops, 3/4-inch thick
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons fresh basil chopped (or 1 tablespoon of dried basil)
1 tablespoon lemon juice, fresh
1 teaspoon coarse salt
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder (or 1 garlic clove, minced)
1/2 teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper,
Mix together all ingredients except pork chops in a shallow baking dish. Add chops and spread both sides with basil mixture. Let stand 15 to 30 minutes in baking dish.
Meanwhile, prepare a grill to medium-high heat (about 450 degrees F.), oiling it with a brush or paper towel. Grill chops over direct heat until the internal temperature reaches between 145 degrees F. (medium rare) and 160 degrees F. (medium), on a meat thermometer, 4 to 5 minutes per side. Remove chops from the grill and let rest for 3 minutes.