Monday, February 20, 2012

Pork Chops in Lemon-Cola Marinade

I picked up another 20 pounds of pork shoulder roast at Pro's Ranch Market last week. After I cut the 3-pound arm-bone portions from each roast, I sliced the remainder into 3/4-inch thicknesses, resulting in 15 pork chops. Unlike the roast we bought three weeks ago at Ranch Market, these had the skin and most of the fat removed. I froze the chops in single portions for convenience, since we cook meals on the spur of the moment rather than on a set schedule, especially if we are working on a project.

Today, I marinated 3 of the pork chops in a mixture of 1/4-cup lemon juice; 5 cloves of fresh, minced garlic; 1/2-cup thin-sliced Vidalia onion; 1 tablespoon Hungarian paprika; 1 teaspoon ground black pepper; 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger; 1/2 teaspoon chili powder; 1 tablespoon of rehydrated, minced ginger root; 2 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil and 2 tablespoons of cola.

Marinated Pork Photo by Jack V. Sage, February 20, 2012

Marinated Pork Photo by Jack V. Sage, February 20, 2012

Garlic, Onion, and Dehydrated Ginger by Jack V. Sage, February 20, 2012

I thawed the pork in the refrigerator by placing it -- still wrapped in plastic -- in an 8-cup plastic storage container with a tight-fitting lid. After the chops thawed, I removed the plastic wrap and rinsed each one under cold running water.

I added the lemon juice to the container and rolled the pork around in it to ensure that the juice covered the entire surface of each chop. After five minutes, I added the ground spices, minced garlic, sliced onion and minced ginger. I turned the chops several times to ensure that the spices were evenly distributed over the meat. I waited another five minutes before adding the olive oil and turning the chops again. Next, I added the cola, turning the pork chops several more times.

After two hours, I pan-seared each pork chop. I heated a 12-inch skillet on medium-high heat for one minute before placing the pork chops in it, spaced 1/2-inch apart and 1 inch away from the sides of the pan.

Lemon-Cola Pork Chops by Jack V. Sage, February 20, 2012

I seared the chops for 5 minutes on each side before checking the internal temperature.The USDA recommends pan-searing for 7 minutes on a side, but here in Arizona, using a stainless steel saute pan, the chops only needed 5 minutes per side. The test chop I cooked was dark brown at 6 minutes and scorched black at 7.

The USDA recommends cooking pork roasts and chops to an internal temperature of 145 degrees F, as measured with a meat thermometer. To check the internal temperature, insert a meat thermometer horizontally into the side of the thickest portion of each pork chop without touching any bone or the sides of the pan.

I allowed the chops to rest for 3 minutes before serving. This gave the juices in the meat time to redistribute and resulted in a more tender, juicy pork chop.

Lemon-Cola Pork Chops by Jack V. Sage, February 20, 2012

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