It doesn't take much to change a meal of pork chops from ho-hum to special. The mild flavor of the chops makes them receptive to a wide range of preparations and cooking techniques, so you can let your imagination run wild. One way to add some punch to your pork chops is to marinate them in pineapple juice before grilling or broiling. Enzymes and acidity in the juice tenderize the chops, the sugars brown and glaze them beautifully, and the tart, fruity flavor complements the pork's richness.
1 Pat the chops dry on paper towels. If they're bone-in chops, rub the bone ends to remove any loose fragments of bone that might be left over from the cutting process.
2 Scatter a small amount of finely diced pineapple or onion on the bottom of a ceramic or glass baking dish. This is optional, but it lifts the chops slightly and allows the juice to find its way underneath. Arrange the chops in a single layer, and then drizzle them with pineapple juice until the bottom of each chop is submerged.
3 Marinate the chops for up to three hours in the refrigerator, turning them once.
4 Remove your chops from the marinade and pat them dry with clean paper towels. Grill or broil the chops, brushing them with fresh pineapple juice, until they reach a food safe internal temperature of 145 degrees Fahrenheit. They should still be slightly pink in the middle, and very juicy.
Items you will need
- 1 to 2 pork chops per person, depending on their appetite
- Paper towel
- Pineapple or onion, finely diced (optional)
- Glass or ceramic baking dish
- 1 quart pineapple juice or more, as needed
- Alternatively, place the chops in pairs in zipper-seal bags with 1/4 cup of marinade per chop. If they're in a bag, you won't need to turn them. Cleanup is easier, too.
- Add other ingredients to the basic pineapple juice marinade to create a more balanced and flavorful marinade. For example, you can sweeten it with brown sugar, agave syrup or honey. Allspice, black pepper or cayenne will give it some spiciness, while coconut water or passion fruit will give it an extra-tropical character. Soy sauce will make it more Asian. There isn't really a wrong ingredient, so have fun with it.
- Grilled pineapple rings or a fruit-based salsa make a good garnish for pineapple-marinated chops.
- Don't use the marinade as a sauce for your chops, unless you boil it first for several minutes. It contains bacteria from the uncooked pork, and can cause food-borne illness.
- On Food and Cooking: The Science and Lore of the Kitchen; Harold McGee
- USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service: Fresh Pork from Farm to Table
- Jupiterimages/Polka Dot/Getty Images