These Pork Chops in Adobo Sauce are a great way to add adobo to your kitchen repertoire!
If you’re new to adobo sauce you can think of it as an all purpose seasoning for grilled meats, but you’ll frequently see it added to soups and stews as well. Adobo has real flava and if you slather it on some bone-in pork chops you’re going to have some happy faces at the kitchen table.
How To Make Pork Chops in Adobo Sauce
But before we start the adobo sauce let’s get the pork chops swimming in some saltwater.
I’m using 4 bone-in pork chops for this recipe and that equates to about two pounds worth. Why bone-in pork chops?
Giving them a quick brine can make a huge difference so I usually go for it when I have the time — even 30 minutes is worth it as you’ll get some moist, flavorful chops as your reward. And if you have longer you can give them a couple hours in the brine.
A common brine ratio to keep in mind is 1 cup salt per 1 gallon of water. So in the above pic I’m using 1/2 gallon of water (2 quarts) and 1/2 cup of salt. It may sound like a lot of salt but keep in mind that only a small portion will be retained by the meat. It’s also best to use Kosher or sea salt because they typically do not have any additives.
Okay, once the pork chops are brining in the fridge we can make the Adobo Sauce.
The Adobo Sauce recipe will give you a concentrated, paste-like substance that you can use in a wide range of dishes. We’ll only be using a single cup of it for the Pork Chops, so you’ll have at least a single cup left over for future endeavors.
Keep in mind that Adobo Sauce is quite flexible and willing to work with the dried chiles you have on hand! I almost always use Anchos so if available please use them as they have loads of flavor.
Start by rinsing off any dusty crevasses with a damp paper towel, then de-stem and de-seed the chiles. Don’t worry about getting rid of every last seed.
It’s definitely worth giving the chile pieces a blast of heat to wake them up. My default is the oven for a couple minutes, but you could always flash roast them on a hot skillet if you want.
Once roasted we’ll add the chile pieces to a bowl and cover them with hot tap water to reconstitute them.
If they float to the surface you can use a small bowl or plate to keep them submerged.
Give them 20-30 minutes to fully reconstitute.
Once they’ve reconstituted it’s worth taking a taste of the soaking liquid. Some peeps like the earthy flavor, some think it tastes bitter.
If you approve of it then you can keep some of it on hand for the sauce. It usually tastes a little bitter to me, so I typically use stock to liquefy the adobo instead of the chiles’ soaking liquid.
Drain the chiles (keeping the soaking liquid if you want) and add them to a blender along with:
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon Mexican oregano What is Mexican Oregano?
8 peeled garlic cloves
freshly cracked black pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup vinegar
1/4 cup stock (or soaking liquid, or water)
splash of water
pinch of sugar (optional)
I like to keep it paste-like so I don’t add much additional liquid at this point, just the bare minimum to get it to combine. If it’s being stubborn just add a splash of water (or soaking liquid).
You’ll end up with 2 cups of concentrated flavorbomb paste — hello Adobo Sauce!
We’ll only use 1 cup for the pork chop recipe and the rest can be stored in the fridge for future meals. It should also freeze quite well.
Remove the pork chops from the brine and pat them dry. Add 1/2 cup of adobo to a mixing bowl or casserole dish and dredge the pork chops in the sauce:
Next, we’ll add a dollop of oil to a saucepan over mediumish heat. Once heated we’ll add:
1/2 cup of adobo sauce
3/4 cup stock (or soaking liquid from the chiles)
salt to taste
a pinch of sugar (optional)
This will be some extra sauce that you can goop all over the cooked pork chops if you want. Bring it to a simmer over mediumish heat and reduce down to a thicker consistency that will cling to the chops.
Be sure to give the sauce a final taste for seasoning. The exact amount of salt will depend on which stock you’re using. I used this homemade chicken stock so I had to add some generous pinches of salt. I also added another pinch of Mexican oregano.
And now it’s time to get those chops cooking!
Add the pork chops to a hot grill and sear each side for 1-2 minutes, then move them to a cooler part of the grill and cook until the inside temp is approx. 140-145F. That took about 7-8 minutes for this batch after the searing.
You could also bake them in the oven if you want. If using the oven I would probably give them a quick sear in a cast iron pan on the stovetop and then stick the whole thing in the oven until they register around 140-145F.
Once cooked it’s always best to let them rest for a few minutes to seal in the juices.
If all went according to plan you should have some moist, well-seasoned chops on your hands, with a special thanks given to the brining step.
Be sure to give your friends and family the option of slathering more of the simmered adobo on top. I like these chops best when they are swimming in the sauce so feel free to goop it on!
Serve with a squeeze of lime and your choice of sides.
Okay let me know if you have any questions about these beauties. The adobo sauce is wildly versatile and will have you dreaming up all sorts of ways to use it. Don’t forget that you can get creative with the dried chile combo when making the adobo.
Pork Chops in Adobo Sauce
For the Adobo Sauce:
- 10 Ancho dried chiles
- 5-6 New Mexican or Guajillo dried chiles
- 8 peeled garlic cloves
- 1/2 teaspoon Mexican oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- freshly cracked black pepper
- pinch of sugar (optional)
- 1/4 cup vinegar (I used white vinegar)
- 1/4 cup stock (or water, or soaking liquid)
- splash of water
For the Pork Chops:
- 4 bone-in pork chops (approx. 2 lbs. total)
- 1 cup adobo sauce (total)
- 3/4 cup stock (or soaking liquid)
- salt to taste
- pinch of sugar (optional)
- 2-3 limes
- 2 quarts water
- 1/2 cup Kosher or sea salt
- olive oil
- Start by brining the pork chops. Add 2 quarts of water to a mixing bowl or casserole dish along with 1/2 cup of Kosher or sea salt. Stir well to dissolve the salt. Add the pork chops, cover, and brine in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
- Wipe off any dusty crevasses on the chiles using a damp towel. De-stem and de-seed the chiles, but don't worry about getting rid of every last seed.
- I usually put the chile pieces in a 350F oven for 1-2 minutes to awaken some dormant flavors; you could also flash them on a hot, dry skillet for 15-30 seconds per side in place of the oven.
- Add the chiles to a bowl and cover them with hot tap water. Let them reconstitute for 20-30 minutes. If they float to the surface you can use a small plate or bowl to keep them submerged.
- Drain the chiles and add them to a blender, along with the remaining Adobo Sauce ingredients listed above.
- Combine well; ideally you want a thick, paste-like substance so we are adding just enough liquid to get there. If it won't combine you can add another splash of water or soaking liquid.
- Remove the pork chops from the brine and pat them dry. Add 1/2 cup adobo sauce to a bowl or pan and dredge the chops in the sauce, giving them a good layer of adobo paste.
- Heat up a dollop of oil in a saucepan over mediumish heat. Add 1/2 cup adobo sauce along with 3/4 cup stock (or soaking liquid). Simmer until reduced down to a thicker consistency. Taste for seasoning, adding more salt if necessary.
- Add the pork chops to a pre-heated grill and give each side a sear for 1-2 minutes over the hot part of the grill. Move the chops to a cooler part of the grill and cook until the inside temp registers 140-145F. This took about 10-12 minutes total for these chops. Once cooked, remove the chops from the heat and let them rest for a few minutes to seal in the juices.
- Serve the pork chops with a squeeze of lime and give your friends and family the option of slathering more of the simmered adobo sauce on top. Enjoy!
- Store leftover adobo paste in the fridge.