With a rub that somewhat resembles the flavor of a rich mole sauce, Cocoa Chile Grilled Butterfly Pork Chops are easy to prepare and exciting in flavor. Spicy chile powder, cocoa powder and brown sugar make this a sultry dinner entree.
Pork chops routinely make an appearance at our table for breakfast. That’s right, those super thin bone-in loin pork chops that fry up in about five minutes and served with fried eggs and home fried potatoes. Yes please.
But I seem to shy away from cooking thicker dinner pork chops simply because they turn out tough and chewy.
I finally decided to take the time to prepare a brine and a whip up a super fun rub and get better acquainted with thick pork chops. Butterfly pork chops to be exact. Butterfly pork chops on the grill to be more specific. Let’s take a look at this grilled pork chop recipe. But first …
What is a Butterfly Pork Chop?
In Culinary School we learned the primal and sub-primal cuts used by butchers when dividing a steer or hog. And I’m really glad it was a part of the curriculum. I simply feel a little smarter when I’m standing at the meat counter.
The primal cuts are the large sections that then get cut down into sub-primal cuts.
Pork has four primal cuts. Pork chops come from the loin primal. A butterfly pork chop starts with a thick boneless pork chop which is sliced horizontally, leaving a hinge at one end. So it opens up like a butterfly. Now that we have that out of the way…
Easy Brine for Grilled Pork Chops
Brining pork chops doesn’t have to be elaborate or take a long time. But why brine pork chops?
Even a 30-minute brine will help add moisture and season the meat. Don’t brine pork chops for more than two hours, or the meat becomes spongy.
The brine for these grilled pork chops is super-super simple:
- 2 quarts water
- 1/4 cup kosher salt
- 2 teaspoons crushed red pepper
And the process for the brine is just as simple. In a large bowl combine the ingredients and stir until the salt dissolves. Add the pork chops and let brine at room temperature for 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
Cocoa chile rub for grilled pork chops
This is where things get exciting. This “just the right spicy” pork chop rub is both positively unique and delicious.
It’s a combination of sweet from the brown sugar, earthy spice from New Mexico Chile Powder and the strong chocolate flavor from the cocoa powder. Let’s take a look at this grilled pork chop seasoning.
- 1 Tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 Tablespoon New Mexico Red Chile Powder (or ancho)
- 1 Tablespoon light brown sugar
Once the pork chops have been brined, simply pat them dry then press them into the rub mixture and using your hands rub the mixture over the meat to coat the chops. Shake off any excess rub and you’re ready to grill.
How to Cook Butterfly Pork Chops On The Grill
Pork is a lean meat and grills up quickly. That’s why we need to sear the chops quickly and then slow down the cooking process. We do this by creating two heat zones.
For this recipe, the pork chops have been brined and the rub has coated both sides of the pork Let’s Take a look.
How To Grill 1″ Thick Boneless Pork Chops
- Get That Grill Nice and Hot Heat the grill to 500 degrees and then turn down the heat so the grill temperature gauge reads 350 – 400 degrees.
- Add the Pork Chops Add the chops and cook about three minutes per side, or until you see those gorgeous grill marks. The rub for this recipe is quite dark but you’ll still be able to see grill marks underneath.
- Create Two Cooking Zones Turn off one burner to create a cool zone.
- Move the Pork Chops Move those chops over the burner that isn’t producing flame and let them cook. Cook them with the grill covered, turning a couple of times, until a digital read thermometer reaches 135 degrees (medium). This will take about ten minutes. You’ll have a nice crust on the outside and juicy tender meat on the inside. Watch them close, the rub has sugar, which will burn if it get too much direct heat.
- Tent Remove the pork chops to a platter and cover with foil. Let them rest for five minutes before serving.
- Charcoal grill instructions: Create two zones by placing the charcoal on one side of the grill. Keep the other side empty to create those two cooking zones.
Cocoa and Chile Rubbed Grilled Pork Chops Recipe
This easy brine and rub for grilled pork chops has really inspired me to add thick pork chops to my shopping list more often when I’m meal planning. I hope you give this recipe for butterfly pork chops on the grill a try. And if you do, please come back and give the recipe a star rating and leave a comment about your experience with the recipe.
And if you have a favorite grilled pork chops recipe, let me know, I’d love to give it a try.
More Recipes For Grilled Pork
- The Best Grilled Pork Tenderloin Recipe, With a sweet chili glaze, this one will WOW your crowd.
- Tacos Al Pastor, made with grilled pork steaks. A taco that will win your heart for life.
- Grilled Country Style Pork Ribs, Easy enough to take on a camping trip and perfect for feeding a hungry backyard BBQ party crowd.
Cocoa And Chile Rubbed Pork Chops
- 2 quarts water
- 1 1/2 teaspoons crushed red pepper
- 1/4 cup Kosher salt
- 4 1-inch thick butterfly pork chops or boneless pork loin chops
- 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 tablespoon light brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon New Mexico Chile Powder or ancho
- Extra-virgin olive oil for brushing
- In a large bowl, combine the water with the red pepper flakes, salt and stir until the salt dissolves. Add the pork chops and let brine at room temperature for 1 – 1 1/2 hours.
- Light a grill and create a cool zone. (For a charcoal grill, rake the coals to one side; for a gas grill, leave one side unlit.) In a bowl, mix the cocoa, sugar and New Mexico Chile powder with 1 tablespoon of salt.
- Drain the pork chops and pat dry.
- Brush the pork chops generously with olive oil.
- Roll the pork chops in the rub and pat to help coat the chops.
- Grill over moderately high heat for 4 minutes, turning the chops once or twice until lightly browned and you can see grill marks beneath the rub.
- Transfer the chops to the cool zone, close the grill lid and cook for about 10 -15 minutes, until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the center of the chops registers 135° for medium meat. Let the chops rest for 5 minutes before serving.
Grilled Butterfly Pork Chops with Cocoa Chile Rub … It’s Whats for Dinner
Why Trust These Recipes? Lea Ann Brown has lived, worked and played in Colorado for 45 years. She has immersed herself in the Colorado Culinary space, is a Culinary School Graduate and publishes her Colorado food Blog, Cooking On The Ranch.