Lime-Glazed Pork Chops

Pork chops are the stupidest food. I challenge you to come up with a stupider food, truly. You would think a pineapple would be stupider, on account of how dumb they look, but they're not. Only a pork chop is that stupid. And I'd be willing to bet even Eleanor would agree with me (especially based on how few pork recipes I've found in the box so far.

Here are all the reasons pork chops are stupid:

  1. You have to cook them until they have the texture of a shoe in order for them to be safe to eat.
  2. They taste like leather (see above).
  3. They're so thick and so dense that, no matter what you marinate them in, they're never going to soak up the flavour the way a steak or fish does.
  4. Also, somehow the awfulness of pork chops is magnified because of how good all the other cuts of pork are. I mean, bacon and lardons come from the same animal! Why would you bother with a pork chop when you could have those?!

When Judson and I had been dating about a year and had just started to learn how to cook together, I moved into an awesome apartment in an old schoolhouse. But when I moved in, the studio I had paid for wasn't ready and so I had to live in a giant unit twice the size of the one I was supposed to be in. Because the unit was so much bigger than I had anticipated, I had no furniture for it except my bed, so the living room was just a giant empty space with hardwood floors and floor-to-ceiling antique windows. It was basically a dance studio and I got to live there for three months at an unreasonably cheap rate until my smaller unit was ready.

Anyway, my first week there, Judson and I decided we'd make ourselves some pork chops. It was about this time of year, and Judson had just learned to cook and was feeling ambitious. So we bought a butternut squash, some pork chops, and some plums and kumquats to cook with the chops. I, however, had not yet unpacked my kitchen, so we had to cook the chops in a disposable pie tin, and halfway through the cooking process, Judson jabbed a hole in the dish with a sharp knife, and we leaked meat drippings all over my fresh clean oven. Unfortunately, we had no idea what we were doing, and it somehow took us over two hours to cook the meal. When it was finally finished (around 11pm on a weeknight), we realised that I had nowhere for us to sit to eat, and so we sat on the floor of my living room, criss-cross applesauce, leaning against the bare walls, drinking cheap beer and eating too-done pork chops off of our laps. That may be the best memory of pork chops I have, and it's not even a great one.

Nonetheless, I find myself with pork chop recipes and a husband who loves nothing better than pig. Luckily, this one involved lime peel, cloves, and grated lime zest, so I thought maybe those ingredients would overcome #1-4 above. Alas, I was wrong.

Maybe it's the lack of a grill (though I feel like any recipe that can't be tweaked to account for the lack of such a rudimentary cooking implement isn't worth it anyway), but we failed at this recipe miserably. I'll say this: it was easy, and cooking these made our entire house smell amazing for an entire day. But the sauce burned in the pan, and even though the chops weren't burned, they still tasted like the burned sauce. Plus, the chops were tough and the flavour didn't really soak beyond the exterior of the meat. I recognise that making these with a grill would keep the sauce from burning, but it wouldn't fix the toughness. Clearly, though, not everyone shares my opinion, so if you love pork chops and own a grill, then this recipe might be right up your alley. And, like I said, your house will smell like a Hawaiian paradise while you're cooking these.

The verdict:

2 spoons out of five. We managed to eat the ones we made, but only because there was nothing else in the house and we've already survived worse in my unending quest to tweak impossible recipes into possible ones in my own kitchen.

The recipe:

Lime-Glazed Pork Chops

the directions:

Preheat oven to 176C/350F.
Mix together all ingredients except pork chops, whisking well to blend.
Baste the chops, then place them in a searing hot pan for 5 minutes on each side.
Baste again, then move them to the oven for another 10 minutes.
Chops are done when there is no pink in the middle.

the ingredients:

1/3 c dark corn syrup (or 1:1 black treacle and golden syrup if you live over here)
1/3 c lime juice from 2-3 limes
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp lime zest, grated
¼ tsp ground cloves
2-4 1-inch thick pork chops