Cast Iron

Simple Summer Pork Chops with Balsamic-Pepper Plum Reduction and Fresh Thyme

August  2, 2010
Photo by Alpha Smoot
Author Notes

This was inspired by a rhubarb reduction I used once on pork, and also by a need for an interesting and quick weeknight sauce. It makes the whole house smell like vinegar, but I really don't have a problem with that. We grilled the pork because we were grilling other things, but this sauce would also work wonderfully as a pan sauce. This meal is fantastic with a simple side salad and some crusty bread to soak up the plum juice. —kerrylow

Test Kitchen Notes

WHO: Kerrylow is a student living in Atlanta with a penchant for stone fruit.
WHAT: A simple grilled pork dish that makes the most of end-of-summer produce.
HOW: Throw some pork chops on the grill, then head back inside to make a plum reduction with balsamic vinegar, brown sugar, and thyme, which you'll spoon over top.
WHY WE LOVE IT: This dish is deceptively simple for how delicious and impressive it is. Invite some friends over, throw the chops on the grill, then spend the rest of your evening outside instead of cooking under a roof. —The Editors

  • Serves 4 to 6
  • For the pork:
  • 4 to 5 pork chops
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • For the plum reduction:
  • 2 plums (any color works here; my favorites are the deep-red fleshed ones)
  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves removed from sprig
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground rainbow peppercorns
In This Recipe
  1. Rub the pork with the oil and salt and pepper. Put on hot grill. Or, if you are cooking in the pan, set it aside and wait a bit. Grill for 3 to 5 minutes on each side, until nicely browned and cooked through.
  2. Chop the plums into small bites. Place all of the ingredients for the reduction in a cast iron pan. You can also use a small saucepan here, but I like my cast iron.
  3. Simmer over low-medium heat until the plums are softened and the balsamic is reduced to half. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking. The plums will still be chunky when finished.
  4. Pour the sauce over the pork chops, and enjoy with good crusty bread.
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