Grilled Oriental Pork Chops

I’ve become a firm believer in marinades because a good one can turn an otherwise bland piece of meat into something special. And when it comes to marinades, the number of kinds is only limited by one’s imagination.

Recently, I’ve become enamored with some marinades from McCormick, the spice people. The ones I’ve tried the past couple of weeks have been dandy with some pheasant we’ve had on the grill.

But I do like to tinker with my own marinade recipes and ones that other people have perfected. A marinade recipe that I’m interested in trying that came via email from New Asian Cuisine (www.newasianscuisine.com) combines yuzu kosho, a spicy Japanese sauce made from green or yellow yuzu zest, green or red chili peppers and salt, and miso, a fermented soybean paste. (Both the yuzu kosho and miso can be found in Oriental markets or perhaps in the Oriental section of your local supermarket.)

The yuzu-miso marinade was suggested for use with grilled pork chops. The meat is marinaded overnight to give the pork time to absorb the miso flavor and also to give the active bacteria cultures in miso time to tenderize the meat. The yuzu kosho gives the pork a pleasing touch of heat.

Pork Chops with Yuzo-Miso Marinade
¼ cup red miso
1 tablespoon sake
1 tablespoon mirin
2 teaspoons red yuzu kosho
¼ cup finely chopped scallions
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon sesame oil
4 bone-in pork chops, about 1½ pounds
Mix together the miso, sake, mirin, yuzu kosho, scallions and sesame oil in a bowl. Pour ¾ of the marinade onto a baking dish or sheet pan, and reserve the rest. Lay the pork chops in the marinade and flip them 4 times to generously coat both sides of the meat. Once they’re coated, marinate the pork chops for 12 hours, or overnight, in the refrigerator.
Preheat a grill to a 2-zone fire (medium and hot). Grill the pork chops for about 10 minutes. Start on hot heat for about 1 minute, then shift the chops to medium heat. After about 4 minutes, flip the chops and repeat the 2-zone grilling on the other side. When the pork is ready, it’ll be glossy and juicy on the outside. Test for doneness using the nick and peek method. Let the pork chops rest for about 2 minutes and serve.

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