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Citrus Chili Rubbed Bone-In Pork Chops

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By Kent Whitaker – The Deck Chef - Feb 21,  2021

Citrus Chili Rubbed Bone-In Pork Chops

Are you looking for something different when it comes to grilling pork chops? Sure, tossing some salt and pepper on some chops and cooking them on the grill using charcoal or gas as a heat source is always fine – then, baste with a little of your favorite barbecue sauce. There’s nothing wrong with that method at all. Unless you get bored with the same old chops!

So, why not try something that’s packed with flavor but still amazingly simple to prepare and cook on your grill? That’s where combining the flavors of juicy pork with citrus, chili and a touch of sweet - comes into play! The result is a platter filled with Citrus Chili Rubbed Bone-In Pork Chops!

Of course, you can use boneless chops or even use this recipe for pork tenderloin. But, for me, the flavor of a nice bone-in chop with a bit of extra fat seems to pull this recipe together. 

Citrus and Chili
For the most part, I use orange juice for this recipe because that’s what seems to be in my fridge when it comes to juice most often. However, I have made this recipe using everything from lemonade to cranberry juice with impressive results.

Also, smoked chili powder is a mainstay in my pantry along with plenty of other spices such as assorted rubs. If all you have is regular chili powder and not smoked – no problem. And, if you are out of chili powder but have some nice rub you bought for a Boston Butt or something, grab that!

The Chops
While I like using bone-in chops, there is nothing wrong with going the other direction. When I think of bone-in chops I’m generally leaning towards bone-in chops with a slightly darker color. I’m also looking for a bit of fat for added flavor and juices.

But boneless pork chops work just as well. When I’m talking about boneless, for this recipe, I’m talking about sometimes lighter colored chops that are cut from the loin with less noticeable fat except for a thin line on one side of the cut.

Both are good, both have great flavor, and technically – they are both considered red meat. Yes, many in the culinary world treat pork similar to a white meat product. However, the USDA classifies pork as being red meat because oxygen is delivered to muscles by red cells in the blood.
But – who cares if you’re just looking for a tasty chop! Choose the style of cut you enjoy and start grilling!

Bonus Sweetness
There will be some natural sweetness from your orange juice along with its natural citrus flavor. The addition of a sweet white wine provides another level of sweetness without using something like brown sugar. Plus, you can play around with the wine you choose!
The wine selection is wide open. You can use everything from a nice Riesling to fruit-infused wine. Recently, I used a pineapple version from a winery in Florida. And, the wine paired perfectly with the chops when we sat down for our meal!
All of that is to say, free to play with the ingredients list and make this recipe your own! Here’s what you need to get started with your grilled Citrus Chili Rubbed Bone-In Pork Chops. 

Careful Not to Burn the Sugars
While I do enjoy the added sweetness from the orange juice and wine, one thing is certain – burned food tastes bad! So do burned sugars. So be careful not to burn your chops! There’s nothing wrong with the sugar in your marinades, sauces, or glazes getting hot during the cooking process. In fact, that’s what makes a glazed coating work. However, there is a tipping point.

If you go past the point of having a nice brown and golden look you may run the risk of burning the sugars in your juice and wine which may cause a bitter taste. Don’t worry too much, this is more of a problem if you are using a thick-style barbecue sauce heavy with sugar, but it is something to make note of. Bottom line, don’t char the chops! 

The Recipe

4 bone-in pork chops
1 cup of orange juice
1/2 cup sweet white wine
1/2 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons chili powder (or favorite BBQ rub)
Dash of cumin powder
Dash of garlic salt
Dashes of black pepper 

Marinate the chops in orange juice and sweet white wine for several hours – covered in your refrigerator. You can use a baking dish or zip-close bag. Turn or rotate a few times to evenly coat.

Next, remove the chops from the marinade and drizzle with olive oil. Gently rub the remaining ingredients onto the chops making sure to rub both sides. Keep chilled in the refrigerator while you prepare your grill for cooking.

Grill over medium-high heat, turn as needed. Grilling time will depend on the thickness of your pork chops, the temperature of your grill, and even weather conditions. So, be safe and use an instant-read thermometer to determine doneness. The USDA recommends that pork chops should be cooked to an internal temperature of 145 degrees.

The serving suggestions are endless. You can serve with your choice of sides ranging from grilled vegetables to seasoned wild rice or garlic mashed potatoes – even sweet potato steak fries! And, if you’re looking for a great sandwich – go boneless, grill the chops up, and serve on toasted Texas toast with fresh salad greens, grilled onions, and a drizzle of your favorite condiments. 

About the Chef

Kent Whitaker, also known as “The Deck Chef,” is an award-winning culinary writer and cookbook author. He’s also penned Young Reader, NASCAR, and History titles. The former winner of the Emeril Live Food Network Barbecue Contest also covers football, motorsports, and bass fishing. Kent currently lives in East Tennessee with his wife, son, and a couple of dogs that love when he fires up the smoker or grill. You can reach out to Kent at, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

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