Grilled Pork Chops with Sweet Lemongrass Marinade

TGrilled Pork Chops with Sweet Lemongrass Marinadeop Five?

We had our cookbook club dinner over the weekend and the consensus was that our chosen book left us a bit underwhelmed. There were some very tasty recipes (Hot Pot!!!), and then there were others that just didn’t impress. Our conversation turned to the recipes we have made from past cookbooks that we absolutely loved, especially the ones that have become staples for our dinner table.

One of my favorites, and one we all agreed was great, is a grilled pork chop recipe that I have been making since the weather has gotten bit warmer. (Not that temperature really matters all that much. I have no problem grilling in the rain if necessary.)

These Grilled Pork Chops with Sweet Lemongrass Marinade are adapted from Charles Phan’s Vietnamese Home Cooking and they are fantastic. I love how the smell of the freshly chopped lemongrass lingers in my kitchen. Heaven!

I like to marinate the pork chops overnight in the fridge to give them as much flavor as possible. Getting them in the marinade the night before makes for a super-fast and easy mid-week dinner you can serve with steamed rice and some stir fried bok choy…or whatever floats your boat.

Grilled Pork Chops with Sweet Lemongrass Marinade
Adapted from Charles Phan’s Vietnamese Home Cooking

3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon fish sauce (see page 36)
1 lemongrass stalk, finely chopped (see page Z07)
1 1/2 tablespoons minced garlic
2 tablespoons minced shallot
1 Thai chile, stemmed and finely chopped
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 bone-in center cut pork chops, each about 12 ounces and 1 inch thick

In a medium-sized mixing bowl, combine the sugar, fish sauce, lemongrass, garlic, shallot, chile, and black pepper and whisk until the sugar dissolves. Arrange the pork chops in a rimmed dish in a single layer. Pour the marinade over, cover with plastic wrap, and let marinate at room temperature, or overnight, for 1 to 2 hours. (If you refrigerate the pork, bring the meat to room temperature before grilling).

Prepare a hot fire in a charcoal grill. When the coals are ready, (you should be able to hold your hand 1 to 2 inches above the grate for only 2 to 3 seconds) push two-thirds of the coals to half of the grill, creating a hot zone. Spread the remaining one-third on the other side of the grill to create a cooler zone.

Remove the pork chops from the marinade and discard the marinade. Place the chops on the hottest part of the grill.
Let cook for 1 minute, then flip and cook for 1 minute on the second side.

Move the chops to the cooler side of the grill and cook, turning once, for about 10 minutes total, until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the chop registers 140°F. Rake over the coals from the hotter side of the grill if necessary to maintain an even temperature. Spritz any flare-ups with a spray bottle filled with water.

Transfer the chops to a large plate, tent with aluminum foil, and let stand for 10 minutes. Cut the meat from the bone and slice the meat across the grain on the diagonal. Transfer the slices and bones to a serving platter and serve.

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