Smoky Hot Chops with Cool Cucumber-Tomato Salad is a great weekend recipe from EatPork.org. That site Pork.org and the National Pork Board are great resources for inspired recipes. So many of the dishes showcase Fresh from Florida flavors too. In most of the preparations on this blog, I substitute Florida’s signature datil pepper sauce for Tabasco, however in this case the Louisiana product works best. In creating the spice paste in Step 1, I added a small amount of olive oil to get the paste consistency I wanted. You may not want to do that. It’s your kitchen. You are in charge. Also, I tested the Cucumber-Tomato Salad using my own homemade blue cheese dressing.
Smoky Hot Chops with Cool Cucumber-Tomato Salad
Yield: 4 servings
4 thick-cut boneless New York (top loin) pork chops about 1 1/2-inches thick
2 tablespoons smoked paprika
4 1/2 teaspoons hot pepper sauce such as Tabasco, plus more for serving
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste
1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
Olive oil as needed to make the spice paste (optional)
2 cups cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
1 cucumber, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dice
1/4 red onion, halved and thinly sliced
1/4 cup freshly chopped parsley
1/4 cup blue cheese salad dressing, or more to taste
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1. In a small bowl, combine smoked paprika, hot sauce, cayenne, salt, garlic powder and onion powder, stirring to make a paste. Divide paste into two small bowls, with about 2/3 of paste in one bowl, and 1/3 in another. Arrange pork on a plate or platter and use a butter knife to thinly spread about 2/3 of the spice paste from one bowl over both sides of the meat. Loosely cover with plastic wrap and set aside at room temperature for 30 minutes.
2. Prepare a grill to medium-hot heat and lightly oil the grate. Grill pork until the internal temperature reaches 145F. (medium rare) to 160F. (medium), 4 to 5 minutes per side. It’s okay if some of the spice paste sticks to the grill. Transfer chops to a platter and spread remaining spice paste from second bowl on top, and set aside to rest 3 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, make the Cool Cucumber-Tomato Salad. In a large bowl, combine tomatoes, cucumber, onion, parsley and salad dressing, tossing gently. Add more dressing and salt and pepper to taste.
4. Serve chops with cucumber-tomato salad alongside. Pass additional hot sauce at the table