Thick cut pork chops infused with a sweet and tangy brown sugar marinade and then grilled to perfection, these are sure to be a hit! These super juicy pork loin chops with brown sugar marinade are garlicky and savory with a hint of sweetness that perfectly complements the natural flavor of the pork.
This is a really great pork chop marinade. It adds so much delicious flavor to the meat and it’s easy to make with pantry staples that you probably already have on hand. The chops are marinated in a soy sauce, brown sugar mixture and then cooked on the grill, developing a delicious caramelized char on the outside that just take these to the next level.
Delicious pork chops are always a hit at dinnertime and this recipe does not disappoint. It’s really all about the marinade – it makes huge difference in how tender, juicy and flavorful they turn out. These deeply savory and slightly sweet brown sugar pork chops will quickly become one of your favorite go-to dinner recipes!
Why you will love this recipe
- It’s super easy and so full of flavor.
- Added bonus – you can use this delicious marinade with other cuts of pork.
- Make the marinade in the morning and pop it in the refrigerator. Then all you have to do is grill them later in the evening for a quick and easy dinner that’s perfect for any night of the week.
- Pork chops – preferably thick cut bone-in or boneless pork chops. These are about 1- 1.5 inches thick and perfect for grilling as you can cook them long enough to get deep caramelization on the outside while keeping the meat juicy and tender on the inside. You can also use thin cut pork chops and reduce the marinating and cooking time accordingly.
- Brown sugar – this adds just a touch of sweetness to balance the flavors in the marinade. Brown sugar also adds complexity and helps the pork chops brown and get that delightful char on the outside. Either dark or light brown sugar will work.
- Soy sauce – soy sauce is a key ingredient. It does not add and Asian-inspired flavor. It adds salty, umami flavor and helps keep the pork chops super juicy. For a gluten free marinade use Tamari or coconut aminos.
- Fresh garlic – for best flavor, use fresh minced garlic. You can sub in a ¼ teaspoon of garlic powder in a pinch.
- Worcestershire sauce – it’s tangy, salty, sweet and savory and helps bring all the flavors together.
- Fresh lemon juice – the acidity in lemon juice helps tenderize the meat and make it super juicy. If you don’t have fresh lemons on hand, swap in apple cider vinegar.
- Black pepper – with the soy and Worcestershire sauce, you don’t need any additional salt in the marinade, just a few turns of fresh cracked pepper.
See the recipe card for full information on ingredients and quantities.
Pat the pork chops dry with paper towels. In a small bowl or large resealable bag, mix together the marinade ingredients. If using a plastic bag, add the pork chops to the bag and squeeze as much air out of the bag as possible before sealing and placing in the refrigerator.
You can also place the pork chops in a shallow, rimmed dish, pour the marinade over the top and cover tightly with plastic. If you’re marinating in a dish, you will want to turn the pork chops over in the marinade every 30-60 minutes to make sure it’s absorbing as much flavor as possible.
How long to marinate pork chops
For thick cut pork chops (1-1.5 inches thick), marinate for a minimum of 3 hours and up to overnight for best flavor and texture. If you go for longer than 12 hours, the acid in the marinade will start to break down the muscle fibers in the meat and it could get mushy.
For thinner pork chops, 1-3 hours of marinating time will do the trick.
How to grill juicy pork chops
When you’re ready to cook, take the pork chops out of the refrigerator and let them come to room temperature for about 30 minutes. Cook time will depend on the thickness of the pork chops. If you’re using a gas grill, preheat to about 400 degrees. If you’re using a charcoal grill, set up two zones with the hot coals on one side of the grill.
The sugar in the marinade can cause them to stick so make sure you oil the grates well. On a charcoal grill, place the pork chops over direct heat and cook on the first side for 3 minutes. When it’s caramelized with nice grill marks and releases easily from the grates, flip them over and sear for another 3 minutes on the other side. Move them over to the indirect heat and cook for another 4-7 minutes per side or until the internal temperature reaches 140 degrees.
On a gas grill, place the pork chops on hot, oiled grates and cook for 3-4 minutes on each side. Turn it down to medium heat and grill pork chops for another 4-7 minutes per side until the internal temperature reaches 145 degrees.
To make sure they stay juicy, let the pork chops rest for 5-10 minutes, tented with foil, before slicing and serving.
How to tell if pork chops are done
The best way to tell if pork chops are done is to use an instant read thermometer. Pork is safe when cooked to an internal temperature of 145 degrees f. This will likely result in mostly white meat with a hint of blush in the center. If you prefer to not have any pink in the center, cook them to 155 degrees f. Anything above 160 degrees and you risk having dry, tough pork chops!
Store leftover pork chops in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. To prevent them from drying out while reheating, place them in a shallow dish or pan with a little bit of water and heat over medium heat on the stovetop or in a low 300 degree oven until warmed through.
Cooked pork chops can be frozen for 1-2 months. Thaw them in the refrigerator and reheat as instructed.
Yes. This is an all around good marinade that adds tons of flavor to any cut of pork. You can use it for boneless or bone-in pork chops, pork loin or pork tenderloin.
Yes. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees f. Heat a cast iron skillet or grill pan over medium-high heat on the stove and add a little bit of oil. Sear the pork chops on each side for 2-3 minutes and then transfer to the oven to finish cooking to an internal temperature of 145 degrees.
They are probably overcooked. Pork stays tender and juicy when cooked to an internal temperature of 145 degrees. Lean pork that’s cooked to a temperature higher than 155 degrees or so is likely to dry out. It’s also critical that you let pork chops rest after cooking. Resting allows the juices to redistribute and settle throughout the meat. If you cut into it right away, the juices will run out all over the plate.
Best side dishes for pork chops
- Rice, Macaroni and Cheese, Potato Salad or Crispy Smashed Fingerling Potatoes
- Green beans, Sauteed Baby Broccoli or Fresh Sweet Corn with Bell Peppers and Onions
- Simple green salad, Grilled Corn and Zucchini Salad or this Golden Beet and Arugula Salad
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Juicy Grilled Pork Chops with Brown Sugar Marinade
- 2 8 ounce thick cut pork loin chops
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 2 teaspoons dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- ½ lemon juiced
- ½ teaspoon Italian seasoning
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- Add all of the marinade ingredients to a small bowl or resealable plastic bag.
- Pat the pork chops dry with paper towels. Add them to the bag, press out the air, seal and place in the refrigerator.
- Marinate for 3 hours or up to overnight. (See recipe post on marinating times)
- Let the pork come to room temperature for about 30 minutes before grilling.
- Heat the grill to 400 degrees and oil the grates. Grill the pork chops on the first side for 3-4 minutes until they release easily from the grates. Flip and grill on the other side for another 3-4 minutes. Reduce the heat and continue to cook for an additional 4-7 minutes per side until the internal temperature reads 145 degrees on an instant read meat thermometer.
- Remove from heat, tent with foil and rest for 5-10 minutes before serving.