For this tried and tested pork steak marinade, I will need you to fish out the following pantry staples; brown sugar, dijon mustard, olive oil, pineapple juice, minced garlic, dried parsley, ground black pepper, and of course, soy sauce.
I tried this recipe for the first time over a decade ago and have never looked back. While I have tweaked the recipe with a few nuanced changes over time, I never stray too far from these marinade ingredients, and each time they deliver thoroughly delicious and tender pork steaks and pork chops.
In this article, I will outline in detail how to make this simple but effective pork steak marinade recipe and how to make optimal use of it. I will also give you some suggestions on alternative ingredients that deliver a slightly different yet absolutely delicious pork dish. Let’s get to it:
My Pork Steak Marinade Recipe
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Marination: 1 hr – 24 hrs
- 4 pork steaks or pork chops
- 1/3 cup light soy sauce
- 1/4 cup pineapple juice
- 1/4 cup ground black pepper
- 2 tbsp. brown sugar
- 2 tbsp. olive or vegetable oil
- 1 tsp. Dijon mustard
- 1 tsp. dried parsley
- 2 – 4 minced garlic cloves
- Place your steaks in a large enough flat dish ensuring they do not overlap.
- Mix all the marinade ingredients in a small mixing bowl and pour them all over the steaks covering each steak completely in the marinade.
- Turn over your pork steaks in the marinade to ensure as much even application as possible.
- Cover the dish with its lid or with cling film making an airtight seal and put the steaks in the fridge to marinate.
- Let the pork marinade in the fridge for at least an hour. I would recommend letting them sit overnight to allow the ingredients to deliver a truly flavor-infused tender steak.
- Alternatively, you can place your steaks in a large ziplock bag and pour the pork marinade into the ziplock bag.
- Expel as much air as possible and lock the bag securely.
- Massage the steaks in the pork marinade to coat each pork steak then place the bag in the fridge for anywhere between one and twenty-four hours. The longer you marinate the steaks the better the flavor and texture.
- Remove the marinated pork from the fridge and let the meat sit at room temperature for approximately 30 mins before cooking. This pork marinade can be used for different cuts of pork including pork chops and pork tenderloins.
- You can use the leftover pork chop marinade as a basting sauce in the cooking process but if you do not, you have to discard it since it cannot be used again.
Characteristic Flavors of the Marinade Ingredients
Light soy sauce or all-purpose soy sauce is the base ingredient for this particular pork marinade recipe. It makes an excellent savory background for pork chops. A soy sauce marinade provides a savory and slightly salty flavor infusion to pork chops which have a naturally mild almost flat flavor on their own.
I have tried dark soy sauce as well as Worcestershire sauce and they work great though you should expect a slightly stronger saltier taste if you go for these two.
Brown sugar is responsible for a subtle but detectable sweetness that provides a great balance for the saltier tones of soy sauce and the citrus taste of the fruit juice. Brown sugar also makes the pork chops caramelize to perfection creating a nice tasty external crust on your meat.
You can substitute brown sugar with honey or maple syrup.
The tangy salty taste of mustard should add yet another layer of flavor to your pork chop marinade.
The best pork marinade is incomplete without this citrusy kick. The sour taste will meld beautifully with the sweet tone of brown sugar making your pork chop extra delicious. It is also an acid and it will break down the meat tenderizing it for an even better mouthfeel.
You can also use lime juice, lemon juice, orange juice, white wine vinegar, or, rice wine vinegar as substitutes.
Garlic-flavored pork chops are a winning dining experience not to mention the aromatic goodness that garlic is famous for. Be generous with the garlic if you like a strong garlic flavor.
Parsley is the grounding earthy herb that brings all the flavors together. Fresh herbs such as oregano and basil are also a great addition to this recipe if you so wish
Last but not least is a touch of hot spice to give your pork chops that kick. Needless to say, black pepper should be added to your liking carefully. Too much and you will have a meal too hot to eat.
Cayenne pepper or chili flakes can replace black pepper for this marinade.
Why Should I Marinate Pork Chops?
To Infuse Flavor
A good pork chop marinade infuses delicious flavors into an otherwise bland pork steak dinner. On its own pork can be rather unremarkable and to make it more interesting, douse it in a pork chop marinade to liven up the flavor profile.
To Tenderize The Meat
Pork steak can be tough since the meat comes from the shoulder of the animal and while pork chops tend to be more tender comparatively, they are not pork tenderloin and can still benefit from a bit of tenderizing which is what you get when you marinate pork.
To Add Moisture To The Meat
Cooking pork can dry out the meat leaving it a tad too chewy. To counter this, make a marinade for pork chops and give the chops enough time to absorb the marinade. For this, twenty-four hours is recommended and you can cook your pork without worrying about losing the moisture content entirely.
How To Cook Marinated Pork Chops?
Before I continue, the terms pork chop and pork steak tend to be used interchangeably but the two are different. Pork chops are cuts taken from the loin area of the hog. There is minimal strain on the pig’s loin region making pork chops rather tender. Pork chops are also low in fat content.
Pork steaks on the other hand are thicker tougher cuts of pork taken from the shoulder of the pig. Naturally, the shoulder is vital in supporting the weight of the pig as well as facilitating movement which means it is a relatively well-worked region. A pork steak is also higher in fat compared to a pork chop.
The best way to cook pork chops or pork steaks comes down to a choice but you can pan fry, bake, or grill your pork. I would suggest going for grilled pork though.
On The Grill
Of all the ways you can cook pork chops, the grill makes the best pork chops hands down! Granted, it may take some practice to operate a grill like a master but practice makes perfect so keep at it.
- Remove your chops from the fridge and let them sit for about thirty minutes to bring up the temperature.
- Fire up the grill and set it to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Using a kitchen brush apply lightly some olive oil on the grill grates to prevent the meat from sticking to the grates.
- Using long handle tongs, place your chops one by one on the grill for 3 minutes on each side. They should caramelize beautifully at the 3-minute mark so don’t let them sit longer than that.
- Lower the temperature to 275 degrees Fahrenheit and let the pork chops cook for 4 minutes on either side or until the internal temperature of the meat is 145 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Use the leftover marinade as a basting liquid and brush it lightly all over the chops as they grill.
- Remove the chops from the grill and rest them for 3 minutes before carving.
In The Oven
Baking marinated pork chops is also an option if you do not want to fire up the grill. Here’s what to do:
- Remove the chops from the fridge and rest them at room temperature for thirty minutes.
- On a pan, lightly drizzle some olive oil and let it heat up. Make sure it is hot enough to sear the pork.
- Using tongs, place your pork chop in the oil and let it sear for about 2 – 3 minutes on each side or until the exterior is a nice golden brown.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Again, using tongs, place the meat in a baking dish and repeat this searing on each of the marinated chops.
- Arrange all the chops such that they are not overlapping and pour the rest of the pork chop marinade all over the meat.
- The oven should be hot enough to bake so place a meat thermometer in one of the chops and place the pork in the oven.
- Let the pork bake for about 20 minutes. If you are unsure of the doneness of your meat then it would be better to rely on the thermometer.
- Your pork is done when the internal temperature reaches 145 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Remove the pork and cover the dish with aluminum foil. Let the pork rest for 3 minutes then carve and serve.
On The Stovetop
Cooking your pork on the stove is pretty hassle-free compared to using the grill or even the oven. It is also quite fast. If the pan cannot fit all for steaks then cook two at a time. This is another reason why I would prefer the oven or the grill for the above recipe.
- Rest the cold chops at room temperature for thirty minutes before cooking. Do not cook cold pork straight from the fridge.
- On a large heavy base pan, drizzle some vegetable oil and let it heat up.
- Use tongs to place your chops in the pan and let the meat cook for 2-3 minutes on each side or until a nice golden brown sear appears.
- Lower the heat to medium and pour the remaining pork chop marinade into the pan. Let the meat cook through for another six minutes on each side or until the internal temperature reaches 145 degrees Fahrenheit. Thick chops will naturally take longer to reach this temperature.
- Once ready, turn off the heat and cover the pan with foil or a lid to rest the meat. 3 minutes should be enough. Serve with desired accompaniment.
In An Air Fryer
Air frying is handy but you may have to cook one pork chop at a time. Stacking the chops is not recommended since air fryers cook food from all sides for the best results. Besides, you cannot just pour pork chop marinade into an air fryer.
That said, cooking with these gadgets tends to be very convenient for a fast hassle-free meal.
- Preheat the fryer to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Place your pork chop on the rack and set the timer to 10 minutes. There is no need to flip it halfway through but if you wish you may do so.
- once the timer goes off, measure the internal temp of the meat. If it is not yet at 145 degrees Fahrenheit then keep cooking for an extra 3 minutes or until you get to the recommended temp. It should not take any longer than 15 minutes at this cooking temperature.
What Can I Serve With Marinated Pork Steaks?
Really, what can’t you serve with these delicious steaks? The choices are too many to exhaust but my top picks are:
- Sauteed broccoli
- Onion rings
- Roasted baby carrots
- Mashed potatoes
- Lemon rice and guacamole
- Baked sweet potatoes
- Mac and cheese
- Roasted butternut squash
- Pasta and collard greens
A great pork chop marinade should infuse a range of flavors from savory to sweet and tangy with a lovely citrusy kick. To top it off, a nice hot and spicy overlay should be included. Making an exemplary marinade for pork chops is rather easy since pork meat is a great candidate for marinating.
Remember to tweak the recipes to get the best pork chop marinade recipe for your taste buds. Creativity is highly encouraged here. Bon Appetit!