Monday, April 21, 2014

Grilled Achiote Pork Loin Chops


For me pork chops are always tricky on the grill ... they can dry out and just turn into a tasteless mess.  However, with a little prep, you can count on these center cut pork loin chops always being tender, juicy and absolutely scrumptious! These  chops are first brined and then marinaded in achiote paste before they hit a sizzling hot grill. If you aren't familiar with achiote paste it is used in Central American cooking, particularly in my knowledge base, in Nicaraguan cuisine. It is also known as annato seed. It is especially delicious when used as a marinade on grilled meats of all kinds.

Serves 2 - 4

For the brine:
4 - 1" center cut boneless pork loin chops
1 quart brining solution: 3 tablespoon salt, 2 tablespoons brown sugar, 1 quart water

For the achiote marinade:
1/2 cup of Achiote paste
1/8 cup white wine

Prepare brine, making sure to dissolve the salt and sugar completely. Add chops and leave in brine overnight or at least 4 hours. Remove from brine, pat dry. In a glass or zip bag add the achiote paste and the wine, mix together, add the chops. Cover or seal and let marinade for 4 hours or overnight.

Fire up the grill until it's very hot. Remove chops from achiote marinade, pat dry and salt & pepper each side.  Place on hot grill and cook for 3-4 minutes per side. Remove to platter, cover with foil and let the chops rest for 5 to 10 minutes.  This will allow all the juices to redistribute throughout the pork and will make for a juicy chop.

The results are  a filet mignon type tenderness with the juiciness from the brine and the delectable flavors of the achiote paste.

Serve with a side of rice pilaf, simple salad and ice-cold German beer. ENJOY!

Want to know more about brining, check out my post on brining, which includes a handy brining chart.

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