I got a good deal on some pork chops the other day, and decided to try something new. I have loved Chimichurri ever since I was a little kid at my Grandma’s backyard BBQs. I have since made up my own spin on her Chimichurri recipe that I use all the time for topping steaks. For this experiment, however, I decided to tweek my recipe slightly and make it a Marinade for Pork Chops. Not everything I try comes out great, but this time it really did! So, I thought I should share my new easy and delicious Cilantro Chimichurri Pork Chop Recipe with all of you.
As I have mentioned in other posts, when I was a kid my grandparents on my Dad’s side used to have big backyard BBQs on Sundays for family and church friends. My Grandma always made this super yummy garlicky sauce to go on the steaks.
For years, I assumed it was a pesto sauce, since my grandparents are Sicilian. I tried to recreate it tons of times, but it never came out right. I assumed it was basically parsley or basil, olive oil, and garlic. But, no matter how I tried to combine these, it never came out right. Then a couple years ago, I was watching some show on TV and someone mentioned Chimichurri. I immediately realized that she had been making Chimichurri, not pesto!
Although they are Sicilian, my grandparents moved from Sicily to Brazil when they were teenagers and lived there for, I’d say, about 20 years. This South American influence is apparently where my Grandma’s super delicious steak sauce stemmed from. Once I realized my error, I knew I needed to get the recipe from her.
Sadly, we don’t keep in touch much, but I was finally able to get a hold of her on the phone with some help from my Dad. It was really nice to talk with her and hear her adorable accent again for the first time in several years. She had a bit of a hard time explaining the ingredients to me, but with the assistance of my Dad on the other line, I got the gist of it.
It seems she just makes it from memory and without any measurements. So, I set out trying to reproduce it once again, but this time with a much better starting point. No matter how I measured out the basil and Italian parsley, it kept coming out too “herby”. Just didn’t taste right. In the end, I decided to substitute the herbs she said she uses for cilantro. I t came out way better, and is more convenient for me, because I almost always have it on hand.
Ends up, I had the recipe pretty close to begin with, but I was missing vinegar. Red Wine Vinegar to be specific. I think Balsamic may also work fine, but its a little stronger. The dash of this ingredient in the recipe made all the difference. It some how balances out the oil, garlic, and herbiness and makes the most delicious thing ever!
You can use this for everything from topping your steak to dipping bread in it. I have put it on pasta, and even added it to baked potatoes. I’m telling you, this stuff is to die for, and goes great on just about anything. But, for today, we are going to be using it as a pork chop marinade. The only real difference is that I used more salt in the recipe, so the pork chops would come out nice and flavorful all the way through.
- 6 Pork Chops
- 1/2 of a Head of Cilantro Leaves (a little stem is Ok, but I leave the majority of it behind)
- 10 Medium-Large Cloves of Garlic
- 1 tsp Red Wine Vinegar
- 1/3 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 1 tsp Salt
- Approx. 1/8 of a Lemon (juice of a typical lemon wedge, remove seeds)
- 1/4 tsp Crushed Red Pepper
This really could not be any easier…
- Peel Garlic Cloves.
- Combine all ingredients in food processor and grind till all ingredients are minced, not pulverized to a green paste.
- Coat both sides of each Pork Chop.
- Place them in large container with lid and refrigerate for a couple hours.
- Done! Told you this was easy!
I chose to grill mine over lump charcoal on the BBQ. I like to get some nice color on each side. Pork cooks pretty fast. Depending on the heat of your grill I would say about 5 to 10 mins on each side. I typically just get them looking good on both sides, then designate a tester and cut a little piece off for sampling.
You really don’t want to over cook pork, or it will get real dry, real quick. Since these aren’t very thick chops I reached a nice juicy white center fairly fast. Remember, you can always cook them longer, you can’t fix it if you go too far. So, just pick a taster and keep tabs on it. This is why it is nice to be the cook…you get samples!
You could also bake these if you didn’t want to grill, and I am sure they would come out great that way too. I may actually try that myself next time. This seasoning is so freakin’ yummy that I am sure baking these chops would be awesome!
Spicing it up:
This recipe does contain a dash of crush red pepper, but it isn’t anywhere near enough to even consider calling it spicy. If you really want to give this a kick you can add some habanero seeds to the food processor when mixing the Chimichurri. You could add a whole pepper, but that will alter the flavor some. Not that it would be a bad flavor, but it would be different than the original recipe for sure.
If you don’t want to boost up the Chimichurri itself, you can always use hot sauce after the fact. There are quite a few hot sauces that would go well with this dish. On this particular occasion I used a mix of Swamp Gator with Dave’s Temporary Insanity. The deep flavor of the Swamp Gator combined with the mega spice of Dave’s made a nice combination for the garlicky delicious pork chops.
Cilantro Chimichurri Pork Chops Wrap Up!
These were a total hit at my house. I often get compliments, but I was hearing about how great these were for days. It was really nice to give something new a try and succeed with flying colors. I can’t wait for you to try them too! Let me know how it goes when you do.
I guarantee I will be making them again really soon. Pork chops seems to be on sale pretty often. It is so awesome to have a new way to season them up. The best thing is how totally easy this recipe is. It is like the easiest thing I have done in…possibly forever.
I was going to make some extra Chimichurri (with less than half the salt) for adding some to the pork chops after they were cooked for extra flavor. However, they came out so terrifically good they didn’t need anything extra. Feel free to try it for yourself though if you would like. If you don’t end up using it, you can just save it for another day.
On a side note, when you refrigerate the Chimichurri Sauce it thickens. So, if you do end up saving some for later, just take it out of the fridge and hour or so before you plan to use it for better usability.
Well, I hope you enjoy your Pork Chops! If you have any questions, comments, or suggestions, please feel free to let me know. I would love to hear from you, and I will get back to you as soon as possible. Talk to you soon!