Blueberry Balsamic BBQ Sauced Grilled Pork Chops
This blueberry and balsamic BBQ sauce is the perfect way to top any grilled protein. Try these thick cut pork chops, for starters!
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time40 minutes
Total Time50 minutes
- Outdoor Grill (Gas or Charcoal)
- Charcoal for grilling (if needed)
- 1 1/2 tablespoons kosher salt separated
- 2 tablespoons garlic powder
- 1 1/4 teaspoon black pepper separated
- 6 double-cut pork chops bone-in (cut 1 1/2"-2" thick)
Blueberry Balsamic BBQ Sauce
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1/4 cup (half of a small onion) red onion minced
- 3 garlic cloves peeled and minced
- 3 cups (1 1/2 dry pints) fresh blueberries separated (if using frozen berries, thaw, reserve the liquid)
- 3/4 cups balsamic vinegar
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1/4 cup, packed light brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tablespoon prepared dijon mustard
- 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
- 3 sprigs fresh thyme (or 1 1/2 teaspoons dried thyme leaves)
Mix the Spice Rub (up to a month in advance)
- In a small bowl, stir together 1 tablespoon of the kosher salt, the garlic powder, and 1 teaspoon of the black pepper.
- Store the spice rub in a mason jar on the countertop for up to a year or use immediately.
Season and Marinate the Pork Chops (may be done 30 minutes- 24 hours before cooking)
- On a parchment paper or foil-lined sheet pan, arrange the pork chops in a single layer.
- Sprinkle a generous pinch of the spice rubs onto each side of the chops. Be sure to rub the seasoning into the chops with your fingers. Discard any remaining spice rub*.
- Put the sheet pan of pork chops in the refrigerator to absorb the seasoning while you preheat your grill.
Preheat the Grill (Charcoal)
- Pile the charcoal briquets in your grill's bottom and cover them with lighter fluid.
- Light the coals immediately and allow them to heat until they are glowing red under an ashy exterior.
- Alternatively, if you have a gas grill, you'll only need a fifteen minute head start on preheating the grill. When you're ready to grill, simply preheat the grill to medium-high.
- While you're waiting for your grill to heat. Prepare the BBQ Sauce.
Make the Blueberry Balsamic BBQ Sauce (up to one week in advance)
- In a sauce pan, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. When the oil begins to shimmer in the pan, add the red onion and garlic.
- Sauté these until they are glossy and fragrant or about 3 minutes. The aromatics should take on a bit of color, however, if they start to brown too much, lower the temperature.
- Add 2 cups of the fresh (or frozen and thawed) blueberries to the pot.
- Stir to toss the berries into the sautéed aromatics.
- After 3 minutes the blueberries should start popping. Continue to cook the blueberry mixture, stirring frequently, for a few minutes longer to give the berries time to soften.
- After 1-2 minutes, add the balsamic vinegar to the pot, followed by the tomato paste, brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce, dijon mustard, chili powder, and the remaining salt and pepper.
- Bring this mixture up to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and allow the mixture to simmer and reduce for 7-8 minutes.
- While the sauce is reducing, use the back of your spoon to smash some of the whole berries. If some of the blueberries are left whole, it's fine, but try to smash the majority of them.
- Once the sauce has reduced by half, add the fresh thyme. Continue simmering until you have two cups of sauce remaining in the pot- stirring and squishing berries as the sauce cooks- or for 7 minutes more.
- Remove the sauce from the heat and remove and discard the thyme stems.
- Transfer a third of the sauce to a bowl for brushing on the grilled chops. Leave the remainder of the sauce in the pot for reheating later with the remaining blueberries.
- Remove the pork chops from the fridge and allow them to warm up a bit at room temperature.
Create Cooking Zones in the Grill
- Oil the grill grate to prevent the chops from sticking.
- If you have a smaller grill that lacks an adjustable grate (one that rises and lowers) create two heat zones. Arrange the ashy, glowing coals in a pile- this will act as your direct-heat zone. The side without the coals is your indirect cooking zone.
- Now you are able to place the chops over the coal section to sear them, then move them to the non-coal side for finishing the cooking process.
- If your grill is capable of lowering and raising the grate or the coals- as mine does- you needn't worry about this step.
Grill and Glaze the Pork Chops
- Pat the surface of your pork chops with a paper towel to dry them. This will help you achieve a nice sear on the surface.
- Place your chops onto the grill on the high-heat/direct-cooking side. Grill the chops for 4-5 minutes before flipping them over. The meat should be crisp and caramelized.
- Flip the chops, then use a silicone grill to brush the seared side with the Blueberry-Balsamic BBQ Sauce.
- Grill the chops on the second side for 4 more minutes.
- Flip the chops one last time. Brush sauce onto the second side, then move them to the indirect-heat side of the grill.
- If you have an adjustable grill, raise the grill's grate or lower the coals to accomplish this.
- Cook the chops, with the cover closed for five minutes, or until a meat thermometer reads 145°F.
- Transfer the chops to a clean sheet pan or platter and allow them to rest for at least five minutes- under a tented piece of foil- before serving.
- While the meat is resting, stir the reserved blueberries into the finished sauce and reheat it over a low flame- just until it's warmed through and steaming.
- Once heated through, transfer the blueberry balsamic BBQ sauce to a serving bowl.
- Spoon more of the Blueberry Balsamic BBQ Sauce over the rested chops.
- Serve while hot. Store leftovers in the refrigerator for 3 days.
*Because of the risk of foodborne illness, any seasoning that's left from this batch should be discarded. Since you've touched the raw pork and grabbed the rub from this batch, you must not re-use it later on.
For thin-cut pork chops:
Reduce grilling time to 3 minutes on the first side and 4 minutes on the second side. Rest as instructed.
For oven cooking:
Brush with the sauce and bake in a preheated 375°F oven for 10 minutes. Flip, brush with the remaining sauce, and bake for an additional 15 minutes; or until internal temp reaches 145°F. Rest as instructed.
To Freeze the BBQ Sauce:
Cool the Blueberry Balsamic BBQ Sauce completely before transferring it to a freezer storage bag. For space-saving sake, freeze the bag flat as the bag stands up with a lower profile when frozen this way. When ready to use, thaw the completely in the fridge before separating and proceeding with the recipe as instructed above. The sauce freezes beautifully for two months.
The BBQ sauce can also be stored in the fridge for one week.
- PLEASE MAKE ANY SUBSITUTIONS THAT RELATE TO YOUR ALLERGIES OR DIETARY NEEDS!
Sourced Sense and Edibility