Grilled Tandoori Pork Chop Recipe

Pork chops are a reliable choice for dinner, but it's easy to get bored if you're preparing them the same way every time. Tasting Table recipe developer Julianne De Witt shares this grilled tandoori pork chop recipe that's packed with flavor thanks to a spice-infused marinade. "I like this recipe because it's simple, healthy, and a nice change from the usual pork chop recipe," she says.

Tandoori chicken is a familiar menu option at Indian restaurants, and this variation plays on the dish's foundation. "Traditional tandoori is a cooking method (rather than a recipe) that involves marinated meat cooked over fire in a clay oven called a tandoor," De Witt says. There's no need to set up a new oven — this recipe uses a basic grill, and De Witt offers alternative methods to obtain similar results without a grill. This savory dish pairs well with a range of sides, including cilantro rice, mango chutney, and a green salad. As for any leftovers, they're sure to enhance your lunch salad or sandwich with smoky notes.

Gather the ingredients for grilled tandoori pork chops

For the marinade, you'll need plain yogurt, minced garlic cloves, grated fresh ginger, sea salt, black pepper, garam masala, ground cumin, sweet paprika, ground turmeric, ground coriander, and juiced limes. Pick up bone-in pork chops that are about 1-inch thick. De Witt says, "I prefer to use bone-in rib chops for this recipe as they are tender and lean with a little fat on the outside to provide flavor. Thinner, boneless pork chops can dry out and sometimes lack the flavor of bone-in chops." If desired, serve the chops with lime wedges, minced cilantro, and mango chutney.

Step 1: Prepare the marinade

Prepare the tandoori marinade by whisking together the yogurt, garlic, ginger, salt, ground spices, and lime juice.

Step 2: Add the marinade to the meat

Place the pork chops in a baking dish and pour the tandoori marinade over pork chops.

Step 3: Coat the pork

Flip pork chops so that marinade covers both sides.

Step 4: Chill the pork chops

Cover and refrigerate chops for at least 4 hours and up to overnight.

Step 5: Heat the grill

Preheat the grill to 400 F. Remove the pork chops from the marinade and bring them to room temperature.

Step 6: Grill the chops

Grill the pork chops over direct heat for 2–3 minutes per side.

Step 7: Cook the pork on lower heat

Turn off one burner and move the chops to indirect heat. Cook for 7–9 minutes, or until the chops reach an internal temperature of 140 F.

Step 8: Let the meat rest

Remove the chops from the grill, lightly cover with foil, and rest for 5 minutes.

Step 9: Season and serve

Season with more salt and pepper, if desired, and serve with lime wedges, minced cilantro, and mango chutney, if desired.

How else can you cook these spiced pork chops?

If you like cooking meat on a grill, that's an easy and effective way to prepare these chops. That said, the key to success is to use a combination of direct heat and indirect heat, which can be done in several ways. Instead of using a grill, sear the chops in a pan on medium-high heat to brown them on both sides, then finish cooking them in the oven at 350 F. "This method of cooking ensures a juicy, flavorful chop," De Witt says.

Regardless of how you choose to cook the meat, using a meat thermometer is one way to improve the results as it removes any guess work. Since the meat will continue to cook as it rests under the foil, you'll want to take it off the heat early. "Remove the pork when it reaches 140 F and allow it to rest for 5 minutes," De Witt says and adds, "The pork will increase to a safe minimum of 145 F for medium rare." If you prefer your chops cooked more thoroughly, leave them on the grill or in the oven until they reach 155 F so that they continue to cook until 160 F while resting.

What is garam masala, and what spices are typically included in the mix?

Garam masala is a ubiquitous ingredient in Indian cooking, and it turns out its composition is also fairly nuanced. "Garam masala translates to 'warming spices,' and this blend is said to warm the body and support metabolism," De Witt says. Considering it's a blend, it varies depending on regional and personal preferences, though De Witt says it's commonly "made with toasted whole spices, such as peppercorns, mace, cinnamon, cumin, coriander, and cardamom, that are ground together into a powder." You can make it yourself, but it's also easy to source it already ground and blended. 

Garam masala adds an excellent spice profile to meat and you can use it in several other recipes, too. "I use garam masala in curries, and it also works really well in soups, such as carrot, butternut squash, or lentil," De Witt shares.

Grilled Tandoori Pork Chop Recipe
4.9 from 24 ratings
This tandoori pork chop recipe doesn't require a gigantic clay oven but still produces perfectly charred chops with bold, Indian-inspired spices.
Prep Time
4.08
hours
Cook Time
11
minutes
Servings
4
servings
grilled tandoori pork chop plate
Total time: 4 hours, 16 minutes
Ingredients
  • ¾ cup plain yogurt
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt, plus more for serving
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper, plus more for serving
  • 1 ½ teaspoons garam masala
  • 1 ½ teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 ½ teaspoons sweet paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 2 limes, juiced
  • 4 (1-inch-thick) bone-in pork chops
Optional Ingredients
  • Lime wedges
  • Minced cilantro
  • Mango chutney
Directions
  1. Prepare the tandoori marinade by whisking together the yogurt, garlic, ginger, salt, ground spices, and lime juice.
  2. Place the pork chops in a baking dish and pour the tandoori marinade over pork chops.
  3. Flip pork chops so that marinade covers both sides.
  4. Cover and refrigerate chops for at least 4 hours and up to overnight.
  5. Preheat the grill to 400 F. Remove the pork chops from the marinade and bring them to room temperature.
  6. Grill the pork chops over direct heat for 2–3 minutes per side.
  7. Turn off one burner and move the chops to indirect heat. Cook for 7–9 minutes, or until the chops reach an internal temperature of 140 F.
  8. Remove the chops from the grill, lightly cover with foil, and rest for 5 minutes.
  9. Season with more salt and pepper, if desired, and serve with lime wedges, minced cilantro, and mango chutney, if desired.
Nutrition
Calories per Serving 397
Total Fat 20.1 g
Saturated Fat 7.0 g
Trans Fat 0.2 g
Cholesterol 143.3 mg
Total Carbohydrates 9.8 g
Dietary Fiber 2.2 g
Total Sugars 3.0 g
Sodium 606.3 mg
Protein 43.8 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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