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Updated: Feb 22, 2023

My In-Laws have a favorite restaurant. Their pork chops are utterly delicious, and the Chef-Owner is infuriatingly coy about the recipe.

* * * * * * *

I tried flattery, with little if any useful results; I tried using my in-laws’ family name, as they have a long history with this landmark restaurant. (50 years ago my bride was their gorgeous young coat-check girl while her mother was a legendary waitress until she met her next husband there.) I experimented, I researched… and I experimented some more. I was going to crack this recipe through repeated trial & error if it necessitated a freaking heart transplant.

And then, at long last, I found a pdf of a marinade recipe buried in my files. Based on my most recent Internet researches, this recipe was definitely a broad leap in the right direction.

First, purchase some fantastic pork chops. To do so, you’ll need to go to the online resources I always mention (D’Artagnan, Holy Grail Steak Company, etc.) and look for either Mangalitsa, Iberico, Duroc (a heritage breed that’s making a comeback) or Kurobuta, a.k.a., Berkshire... special and search-worthy breeds, all of which have a higher fat content than their comparatively flavorless and lean counterparts in the supermarkets. (A lot of smart people are now fingering sugar rather than fat as our evilest dietary villain; the fat from the aforementioned pork breeds is rumored to be the healthy kind, like olive oil.)

For the overnight or at least an all-day marinade, enough for 2 large or 4 medium pork chops, ideally center-cut–

½ Cup Brown Sugar

½ Cup Gluten-Free Soy Sauce

2 Cloves Garlic, Minced

½ TSP Dijon Mustard

Mix well, then coat the pork chops. Cover closely with plastic wrap and refrigerate.

Wipe off excess marinade, then allow to warm up before cooking. Scorch each side in an iron pan with grape seed oil… or, alternatively, on a charcoal grill. Either way, be careful not to excessively blacken them, which is a risk due to the sugar in the marinade. Finish in a 350º oven to an internal temperature of 140º. (It’s perfectly okay to eat pork that hasn’t been cremated.)

That’s it– simple perfection… or, for me, a new starting point. I’m looking forward to switching out the brown sugar for fruit preserves, or, perhaps, pureed pineapple. I’ll post the results when I have them.

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