Thursday, August 26, 2010

Puerto Rican Grilled Pork Chops with Sparkling Barbecue Sauce

Steve Raichlen's newest book Planet Barbecue! is a huge book dedicated to barbecue recipes from all over the world. The book itself is a fun read detailing the origin of the recipe, the background and the method. I will warn you though. Once I opened this book I was compelled to look through every page, all 600 and some odd one setting. Looking through this book is like taking a relaxing trip around the world, right in the peace and quiet of your own home.

These pork chops are seasoned with a Spanish-Caribbean rub and basted with annatto (achiote) oil while grilling. They are served with a Sparkling Barbecue Sauce made from lemon-lime soda, ketchup, sweet red barbecue sauce, liquid smoke and black pepper. The lemon-lime soda gives the barbecue sauce both a sweet and sour flavor and, according to Steve, is a popular way to make barbecue sauce in Spanish-speaking countries.

Steve says "Here's a version of the Puerto Rican Pork Shoulder made with pork chops and quick enough to be prepared on a weeknight."

Puerto Rican Grilled Pork Chops

Adapted from Planet Barbecue!
4 pork chops (each 8-10 ounces and 1 inch thick)
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive or veg oil
2 teaspoons coarse salt
2 teaspoons dried oregano
2 teaspoons granulated garlic
1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 teaspoon dried sage
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 tablespoons annatto seeds
One recipe Sparkling BBQ sauce (recipe follows)

Arrange the pork chops in a baking dish just large enough to hold them in a single layer. Lightly brush the chops on both side with the olive oil.

Combine the salt, oregano, granulated garlic, pepper, and sage in a bowl and stir with your fingers to mix. Sprinkle the rub over the pork chops on both sides, patting the spices onto the meat with your fingers. Let the chops cure in the refrigerator, covered for 15-30 minutes.

Make the annatto oil by heating the vegetable oil in a small saucepan. Add the annatto seeds and cook until fragrant and brown and the oil turns a bright orange, 2-4 minutes. Immediately, strain the oil into a heatproof bowl. Discard the annatto seeds.

Set the grill for direct grilling and preheat it to high. When ready to cook, brush and oil the grill grate. Arrange the chops on the hot grate at a diagonal to the bars. Grill the chops until browned on the outside and cooked through, 4-6 minutes per side. Give each chop a quarter turn on each side after 2 minutes to create a handsome crosshatch of grill marks. Start basting the chops with the annatto oil after 1 minute, basting them several times on both sides.

Transfer the chops to a platter or plate. Serve at once, which the Sparkling Barbecue Sauce, if desired, although the chops are so flavorful, you don't really need a sauce.

Sparkling Barbecue Sauce

1 cup lemon-lime soda, such as 7up
1 cup ketchup
1 cup of your favorite sweet red bbq sauce
1/2 teaspoon liquid smoke
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Place everything in a saucepan and whisk to mix. Bring the sauce to a simmer over medium heat and let simmer until thick and richly flavored, about 15 minutes.

Notes/Results: My family tore through these pork chops in record time and everyone loved the vibrant orange color from the annatto oil. The seasoning on the pork chops was so fragrant and flavorful that you really don't need the sparkling barbecue sauce, but it is a nice accompaniment to the pork. I was in love with the idea of sparkling barbecue sauce and it was so much fun to make. The lemon-lime soda (Sprite or 7up) fizzes and bubbles away on the stove top making snap, crackle and pop noises while it cooks. I feel like the soda gives the barbecue sauce a lighter and fresher flavor. Overall it was an excellent dish and one that I would make again.

This is my submission to this month's Regional Recipes, currently celebrating Puerto Rico and hosted by my lovely friend Joanne of Eats Well With Others.


  1. Sparkling barbecue either sounds super high class or like something you would serve to a princess at a ball. (Note - this is how you know that I've spent way too many hours in front of a microscope today). Thanks so much for the entry to Regional Recipe! It sounds fantastic. I need to make sparkling marinades more often apparently.

  2. Kim, I'm really excited that you reviewed a recipe out of this book. It has been on my wishlist for quite a while. This recipe makes me want it even more even though the book would be mostly a gift for my husband. I love the "sparkling" barbecue sauce recipe as well :o)

  3. I love this, Kim! And yeah, I'm totally enamoured by that sparkling bbq...I must make some! The chops definitely look and sound amazing, too.

  4. I love the sound of "sparkling barbecue sauce" My family would easily gobble these pork chops up too.

    I really enjoy your love of cookbooks!

  5. Anything Raichlen does works. Anything and everything. This looks fabulous and I love the idea of snap, crackle and sizzle barbecue sauce!

  6. Very fun recipe--I love the idea of the sparkling BBQ sauce. That looks like quite the book! ;-)

  7. We don't cook pork chops nearly enough! These look marvelous, Kim, and I love the bbq sauce recipe!

  8. I don't cook pork chops nearly enough either. Mine always come out dry but yours looks so tender and juicy. I love the sparkling BBQ sauce!!! I don't know what annatto seeds are though. I'm guessing whatever they are we can't get them up here, lol. I'm off to Google annatto seeds... Enjoy your Friday Kim!

  9. These look fantastic Kim! Love that sparkling sauce! I have been watching his show all summer - he has some really great recipes and lots of tips. I have been debating over the book too.

  10. Sparkling BBQ sauce. I'm on it! Sounds great--especially with the addition of liquid smoke. Smokey, sweet, and sour. That's a lot going on for very little trouble.

  11. Wow! That looks delicious!

  12. this is so much fun! i'm always looking for different homemade bbq sauces, so i can't wait to try this. i'm going to have to check out that book too!

  13. Kim, what a fantastic recipe! When the family is happy, Mom is happy. Nicely done!!

  14. Yum! The sauce sounds amazing, the whole thing looks delicious!

  15. I have made this same dish and concur 100% with your assessment. The sparkling bbq sauce is good, but the chops totally do not NEED it, they are great on their own. If you had them without the sauce, you wouldn't think anything is missing.

    I had to use the substitution he listed, we didn't have annatto seeds.

  16. The flavors in the sauce sound absolutely amazing. I will have to give this a go.

  17. Kim, I wish I lived on your house - what fantastic food you cook!

  18. Oh my gosh--that sparkling BBQ sauce sounds like the coolest thing ever!! It could be used for so many different things too :o)

  19. Beautiful! Looks delicious. I did end up buying this book for Charles, can't wait to try out some of the recipes!

  20. Luv the idea of the rub! Making sort of a crust of rub must keep them juicy and delicious! This book looks like a must-have!

  21. That definitely sounds like a cookbook that is right up my alley! And the pork chops look amazing.

  22. This is the first time I've seen a BBQ sauce with soda. Brilliant! Gorgeous photos, Kim. It makes me want to have a taste of this.

  23. I love this sparkling bbq sauce! You're so right about the color of you pork chops. Great recipe!

  24. Am I bad Puerto Rican 'cause I've never heard or tasted this recipe? I want to, oh, believe me I want to. AND I will be soon! Looks fantastic!

  25. Barbecue sauce made with lemon lime soda! Oh, man. That is one I'll be sure to try. So glad I saw this through the round up!

  26. Wow, would never have thought to use soda in a marinade, but can see how that would add a lovely sweet stickiness to the meat. Looks delish!


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