These pork chops are perfect for a quick, easy weeknight dinner. They marinate for 1 hour, then take about 5 minutes to cook. The big flavors in the marinade are lime, dark brown sugar, cumin, chili powder, and smoked paprika. I love how these ingredients work together, creating a balance between the acidic lime, sweet sugar, and deeply savory dry spices. —Josh Cohen
1 hour 5 minutes
2 to 5
thin-cut pork chops (preferably bone-in)
garlic cloves, minced
dark brown sugar
extra-virgin olive oil
roughly chopped cilantro, to garnish (optional)
Lightly salt both sides of each pork chop. Set them aside for a moment. In a large bowl, mix together the lime juice, garlic, dark brown sugar, smoked paprika, cumin, chili powder, and olive oil. Gently toss the pork chops in the marinade, coating both sides of each pork chop. Let the pork chops marinate in the refrigerator for 1 hour.
Unless you have a large skillet that can fit all five pork chops in a single even layer, you'll likely need to cook the pork chops in two batches. If you're working in batches, add 1 tablespoon of butter to a medium sized skillet. Set the skillet over medium heat. When the butter begins to sizzle and bubble, add 2 or 3 pork chops to the skillet. Let them cook, undisturbed, for about 2 minutes. If the heat is too low, the pork chops will not caramelize. But, if the heat is too hot, the marinade on the outside of the pork chops will burn. Use tongs to peek at the underside of the pork chops as they cook, and adjust the heat as necessary so that the pork chops caramelize without burning. After about 2 minutes, flip the pork chops. Try to get a little caramelization on both sides. They should be fully cooked after about 4–5 minutes of cooking. You'll know the pork chops are fully cooked when you touch the meat and it feels firm rather than soft.
If you're cooking the pork chops in batches, wipe your skillet clean before cooking your second batch. Any leftover marinade from the first batch will likely burn as you cook the second batch. For the second batch, add the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter to a clean skillet and cook the remaining pork chops just like you cooked the previous batch. If you burned the previous batch, cook this second batch better than the first batch.
When all of your pork chops are fully cooked, serve them immediately. If you want, garnish with a handful of roughly chopped cilantro.
Born and raised in Brooklyn, I’m perpetually inspired by the diversity of foods that exist in this city. I love shopping at the farmer’s market, making ingredients taste like the best versions of themselves, and rolling fresh pasta. I learned how to make fresh pasta in Italy, where I spent the first 6 months of my career as a chef. I've been cooking professionally in New York City since 2010.