Pork does an amazing job of setting itself apart from other meats with its firm juicy texture and unique hint of sweetness. So it's no wonder that adding a sweet ingredient to your marinade or rub can take your pork chops to new heights. Not only will it enhance the sweetness even further, but it will provide the perfect complement to the pork's natural savoriness as well. And by using a sweet ingredient like honey, you'll also notice that the outside browns up nicely with a beautiful exterior crust while the inside remains moist and tender.
There's even a scientific reason to use honey in your pork chop marinade. Research out of Ireland has found that not only does honey improve the look, taste, and texture of pork, but it also limits microbial growth and oxidation during cooking, which means cooking your pork chops with honey could impart them with antioxidant properties and extend how long leftovers remain good in the refrigerator.
Honey, Spice, And Everything Nice
Honey pairs well with a wide range of other ingredients in marinades or glazes for juicy, mouth-watering pork chops. It's a great match for garlic, imparting the other white meat with a smooth, pungent flavor that is just the right balance of sweet, savory, and aromatic. Mustard and honey also play nicely together when used to marinate pork, yielding juicy meat that is plenty sweet and just a little bit sharp. A glaze of honey and berries or cherries will lend the chops a lovely brightness.
Sweet and spiced combinations are another great way to use honey in your pork chop recipes. Grilled honey ginger pork chops have a nice kick to them already, but add in a little bit of hot pepper jelly if you really want to turn up the volume. Alternatively, try some cinnamon and black peppercorns with the ginger and honey for a delectable aroma that is sure to have you drooling before they're ready to come out of the pan.
Or go all out with cayenne, hot peppers, and/or red pepper flakes if you want them extra spicy. By combining honey with the heat, you'll get a depth of flavor that will intrigue your senses and leave everyone craving more. "Sweet Fire" porterhouse pork chops -- which rely on honey, garlic, chipotle peppers, and grated orange zest -- are a fruity and fiery way of achieving this.
Try Different Types Of Honey
It's perfectly reasonable to start your pork chop and honey journey with the basic golden-hued liquid that often comes in a bear-shaped bottle. Not only is it affordable, but its standardized flavor is predictable and easy to work with. Still, you might want to branch out and try any number of specialty kinds of honey which can impart a variety of different flavors and colors. Buckwheat honey is one that is known to go particularly well with meats and is often used in marinades. Its darker color will also help create a beautiful crust.
Consider orange blossom honey for something a little lighter in color and flavor. Sweet and soft on the palate, this honey will work well for marinades, glazes, and sauces alike. When it comes to glazes, sweetness is key of course. So you also might want to try honey with an extra high fructose count like tupelo. Just beware of sticker shock -- it is one of the pricier types of honey around, after all.
Another option is to make butter from an actual honeycomb. Use the butter for cooking your pork chops and let a pat of the stuff melt on top if you like. If you would prefer to use a dry rub then you're still in luck. Just pick up some dehydrated honey powder and combine it with spices -- or make use of one of the many commercial varieties out there.
Read the original article on Daily Meal.