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Labor Day Grilling: Szechuan Pork Chops

09/09/2013 03:13 pm ET | Updated Nov 09, 2013

Accidental Locavore Pork Chops and CornBecause it's probably unconstitutional not to grill on Labor Day, the Accidental Locavore decided to do the patriotic bit and grill some pork chops over the weekend. Looking for something different to marinate them in, I went back to Jeff Parker's great grilling site and found this recipe he used to make Szechuan pulled pork. It makes a little too much marinade for a couple of chops, but hey...
• 1 large clove garlic, run through a garlic press
• 1/4 cup soy sauce
• 1/4 cup rice vinegar
• 2 tablespoons peanut oil
• 1 tablespoon Shaoxing rice wine or dry sherry
• 1 tablespoon brown sugar
• 1 tablespoon Szechuan peppercorns, toasted and ground
• 2 bone-in pork chops (about ¾ pound each)
Mix all the ingredients together in a small bowl. Put the pork chops in a Ziploc bag, add the marinade, seal and refrigerate for at least 4 hours.
Remove the chops from the refrigerator an hour before you want to cook them and allow to come to room temperature. Grill over medium-high heat for about 4 minutes a side, depending on the thickness of your chops. Serve and enjoy!
My verdict: It doesn't get much easier than this marinade! Jeff's got a sauce for his pulled pork that sounds great, but these chops were just delicious (perfectly grilled by my husband) with just the marinade! Toasting and grinding the Szechuan peppercorns add a nice depth of flavor to them and only takes about a minute. You pop them in a small frying pan over medium-high heat for a minute until they just start to smell fragrant. You can do them in the microwave on a plate for a minute or two, but since it can be a slim margin between toasted and toast, I like the control I have with a frying pan. I deviated from Jeff's recipe and added garlic-a little fresh ginger, grated, might go in the next time. Don't think you can substitute regular peppercorns for the Szechuan ones, not even close!