These brown sugar-balsamic pork chops are quick brined, grilled hot and fast, then basted with a rich, flavorful glaze. This is the perfect quick and easy pork chop recipe for weeknight meals! All you need is a little time and four pork rib chops.
What is a pork rib chop?
Pork rib chops, also known as rib end cut, pork ribeye, or pork chop end cut, come from the lower loin section of the pig. They are one of the best pork chops you can buy.
Rib chops contain a bone that runs alongside the eye of lean loin meat that includes a layer of fat on the outside. This fat extends up and sometimes around the outer portion of the chop. Depending on where these chops are processed, the bone piece will either jut out from the chop, resembling a bone-in ribeye steak, or cut shorter, giving them a compact appearance.
These chops are great candidates for hot and fast cooking, like grilling or sear roasting on the oven. Because rib chops are mild in flavor, they lend themselves well to simple seasonings or more complex flavor profiles, like those offered by the glaze used in our brown sugar-balsamic pork chop recipe. It’s always a good idea to brine pork, and that includes pork chops.
Making Brown Sugar-Balsamic Pork Chops
- Start with a quick brine. We recommend brining pork chops of any kind as they tend to dry out, particularly loin chops. A quick brine can be done in as little as 2 hours, but you can brine your chops for up to 4 hours.
- Prepare the glaze toward the tail end of brine time. Doing this will afford you the time to grill the chops rather than multi-tasking. Timing is key with pork chops.
- Set up your grill for indirect cooking. You might need the extra cooking time over lower heat if your chops are more than an inch thick.
- Brush the glaze over the chops multiple times during the second half of cooking time. Doing will help caramelize the glaze.
- Keep a good instant-read thermometer to check the internal temperature. Pork chops are safe to eat at an internal temperature of 150 degrees F. We recommend pulling them from the grill at this temperature and tenting with foil for 5-7 minutes. This will allow any carryover heat to do its job. Your finished chops should be around 155 degrees F. after tenting.
If you don’t have time to brine the pork chops, you’ll need to add a little salt (less than 1/4 teaspoon per chop), along with the black pepper and granulated onion to season the meat prior to grilling.
If you grill pork chops often, we recommend buying them in bulk. They cheaper per pound when purchased from a wholesale bulk goods store. Portioned them out, place into vacuum-sealed bags, and stored in your freezer for 6-12 months.
Recommended side dishes:
Brown Sugar-Balsamic Pork Chops
- 4 pork rib chops, 3/4-1″ thick
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon granulated onion
- 1 quart cold water
- 1/4 cup coarse salt
- 1/4 cup white sugar
- For glaze:
- 1 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/4 teaspoon powdered cloves
- Mix brine ingredients until sugar and salt have dissolved. Submerge pork chops in brine solution, cover and place into refrigerator for 2 hours.
- About 15 minutes before chops are done brining, make the glaze. In a small saucepan, bring the balsamic vinegar, brown sugar, garlic, and cloves to a quick boil. Reduce heat to medium and let sauce simmer for 8 minutes, stirring occasionally. Allow sauce to reduce by half, or thicken enough to coat the back of a spoon. Reduce heat further if needed. Remove from heat, cover and keep warm. If glaze gets too cold, re-warm before using.
- Preheat grill for for 400 degrees F. If you are cooking chops thicker than 1," set up your grill for indirect cooking.
- Remove chops from brine and rinse off with cold water. Do not over rinse. Blot them dry with paper towels and season with black pepper and granulated onion.
- Place pork chops on grill and cook for 5 minutes, turn and cook for 5 more.
- Apply glaze to chops, turn and apply again. Repeat process 4 times for the duration of cook time. Watch for burning and move chops to cooler part of grill if necessary.
- Once pork chops have reached an internal temperature between 150 degrees F., remove from grill and place onto a large serving platter. Tent with aluminum foil and let meat rest for at least 5-7 minutes. Serve with your favorite sides.