Mary Ellen picked up some beautiful thick-cut boneless pork chops, and I went rooting through the cupboards and refrigerator to find something for a marinade. In earlier marinades, I’ve normally used olive oil as a base, and built up some great flavors from there. I’ve used bourbon, scotch, tequila and even sake along with the usual suspects of garlic, pepper, etc, but today something occurred to me –
perhaps some of the best marinade bases could be found in the liquor cabinet.
Tequila seemed a little too easy; I just used sake last week; and I couldn’t even look at the scotch since getting ‘acquainted’ with a bottle of Macallan the other night, and then I found the bottle of gin. It occurred to me that one of the great summer drinks is a gin and tonic, so why not use that as inspiration for a marinade? Here’s what I used:
- Juice of 1 lime
- Zest of half of the lime
- 1 clove garlic
- 2 oz Gin
- 1 tablespoon fresh cilantro (chopped)
- ½ tsp black pepper
- 1 pinch kosher salt
A couple things really helped this marinade: first, use a microplane for the garlic. In other marinades, I’ve usually used a garlic press or a fine chop with a knife, but the microplane yielded an extremely fine paste that incorporated into the lime juice and gin much better than little chunks. Additionally, chop the cilantro as finely as possible; as with the garlic, it’ll work into the other flavors much better.
I tenderized (perforated) the pork chops with a fork several times and then put them into a zip-top bag with the marinade. The flavors got to know each other for about 9 hours in the refrigerator before hitting the grill. This ended up being my favorite marinade yet, and served with Mary Ellen’s antipasto pasta salad and some roasted Brussels sprouts, this was a great and easy summer dish.
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