by Irvin Lin


Adobo Spice Rubbed Pork Chops with Grilled Corn and Lime Cilantro Butter

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It took a while for summer to finally arrive in San Francisco, but the city has been super sunny and the temperature has been in the 80s. That can only mean one thing for me – cook out! I love any excuse to fire up the grill and living in San Francisco, that can sometimes be difficult. Overcast days and limited space sometimes makes grilling more of a special occasion thing for us as opposed to an everyday summer thing. But when the opportunity arises, we jump at the chance and my go-to dish is this easy to make adobo spice rub on pork chops. Paired with some grilled corn and a lime cilnatro compound butter, and dinner is a snap.


My partner has pretty simple tastes. It’s not that he doesn’t appreciate fancy pants dining and meals. But if he had to pick and choose, he’d probably go with a nice grilled piece of meat and some corn. We both grew up in the Midwest (him in Indiana, me in Missouri) so corn and pork chops are pretty standard. But there’s nothing standard about this treatment, even though it’s quick and easy to make.

The pork chops are brined to keep them juicy and well seasoned (don’t worry, it’s easy to do and they don’t get too salty) and the lime cilantro butter is a snap to make, resulting in a fancier than usual corn on the cob. But it’s the rub that makes this quick and simple meal better than just good. A complex blend of oregano, garlic, paprika, red pepper and cumin this Latin inspired spice blend uses ingredients often found in your pantry. I used fresh oregano leaves to give it herbal brightness and added oil to the spice rub, to create a paste, which gives a richness and boosts the flavor of the spices. A little goes a long way so you only need a teaspoon or so of rub on each side of the pork chops for a punchy grilled meat course. Perfect for a weeknight meal or an easy weekend barbecue picnic!




Brine for Pork Chops
Serves: 4 servings

  • 3 cups of cold water, divided
  • ¼ cup kosher salt
  • 2 T brown sugar
  • 1 tsp whole black peppercorns
  • 4 to 6 ice cubes
  • 8 Omaha Steaks Boneless Pork Chops, thawed
  • 2 T olive oil, divided

  1. Make the brine by placing 1 cup of water in a small saucepan and adding the salt, brown sugar and peppercorns.
  2. Heat, stirring with a whisk, until the salt and sugar dissolve.
  3. Remove from heat and add the remaining 2 cups of cold water and 4 ice cubes.
  4. Stir until the brine has cooled to room temperature or slightly cooler than that.
  5. Use a few more ice cubes if you need to.
  6. Remove the pork chops from the packaging and place in a ziplock bag.
  7. Pour the brine over the pork chops, seal the bag and place in a bowl.
  8. Refrigerate for 30 minutes or up to 4 hours.
  9. Once the pork chops have brined, remove them from the ziplock bag and pat them dry paper towels. Drizzle one side of the pork chops with half the remaining olive oil and rub about 1 teaspoon of adobo paste on each side.
  10. Flip the pork chops and repeat on the other side with the remaining olive oil and adobo paste (recipe below).
  11. Grill the pork chops, about 4 minutes per side, until cooked thoroughly (the internal temperature should read 145?F).
  12. Pull them off the grill and let them rest for 5 minutes before serving.
  13. While the pork chops are resting, unhusk the corn and place the corn directly onto the grill, just for 1 or 2 minutes, rotating to char and warm them up.
  14. Serve pork chops with warmed corn and compound butter.


Adobo Rub

  • 2 T fresh oregano leaves, chopped
  • 1 T minced or pressed fresh garlic
  • 2 T paprika
  • 1½ tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1½ tsp cumin
  • ½ tsp kosher salt
  • ½ tsp fresh ground black pepper
  • zest from 1 lime
  • 2 T olive oil

  1. Make the rub by placing the oregano, garlic, paprika, red pepper flakes, cumin, salt, pepper and zest in a medium bowl.
  2. Stir together with a fork.
  3. Drizzle 2 tablespoons of olive oil into the bowl and mix into a paste.


Grilled Corn

  • 4 ears of corn, unhusked

  1. Heat a grill on high heat.
  2. Place the unhusked corn on the grill and turn every 4 or 5 minutes, until the outside is charred. Remove from grill and let cool.


Lime Cilantro Butter

  • ½ cup (1 stick or 4 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 T chopped cilantro leaves
  • zest of 1 lime
  • ¼ tsp fresh ground black pepper

  1. Make the Lime Cilantro Butter by placing all the ingredients in a medium bowl and blending together with a fork.
  2. Scrap into a piece of plastic wrap and use the plastic to form a log.
  3. Place back in the refrigerator to harden.





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About the Author

Irvin Lin is an award-winning graphic designer and art director turned IACP award-winning photographer, nationally recognized food writer, and experienced recipe developer. His acclaimed blog Eat the Love has been recognized by food industry leaders as varied as Saveur, The Cooking Channel, PBS Food and The Kitchn. He is currently working on his first cookbook for Houghton Mifflin Harcourt due out in Fall of 2016.

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