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Use flame and fruitwood to flavor simple grilled pork and vegetables
Milk Street Bowtie Armenian Grilled Pork with Pepper Sauce

Armenian Grilled Pork with Pepper Sauce

1 hour plus marinating

Free

To recreate khorovats, or Armenian barbecue, we used thick-cut, bone-in pork chops, marinated them in a mix of onion and oregano, then grilled them with wood chips to infuse the pork with smokiness. Bone-in, blade-end pork loin chops are the best cut for this recipe because they contain a good amount of fat, which keeps the meat moist and flavorful; rib chops will work, too, but because they are leaner, it’s important not to overcook them. The sauce that accompanies these chops was inspired by an Armenian grilled vegetable recipe called summer khorovats. It's excellent with any grilled pork or chicken. You will need an 8-inch square disposable foil pan for cooking the vegetables. Khorovats is traditionally accompanied with warmed lavash.

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 large yellow onion, cut into large chunks
3 tablespoons dried oregano
Kosher salt and ground black pepper
4 10- to 14-ounce bone-in pork chops, each 1 to 1½ inches thick
3 tablespoons salted butter, cut into 4 pieces
3 cups apple wood chips (for smoking)
1 pound plum tomatoes (4 medium), cored
12 ounces cubanelle peppers, Hungarian wax peppers or Anaheim chilies, stemmed, kept whole and seeded
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
12 medium garlic cloves, peeled
4 tablespoons (½ stick) salted butter, cut into 4 pieces, divided
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
Kosher salt and ground black pepper
For the pork chops:
  • ¼

    cup extra-virgin olive oil

  • 1

    large yellow onion, cut into large chunks

  • 3

    tablespoons dried oregano

  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper

  • 4

    10- to 14-ounce bone-in pork chops, each 1 to 1½ inches thick

  • 3

    tablespoons salted butter, cut into 4 pieces

  • 3

    cups apple wood chips (for smoking)

For the sauce:
  • 1

    pound plum tomatoes (4 medium), cored

  • 12

    ounces cubanelle peppers, Hungarian wax peppers or Anaheim chilies, stemmed, kept whole and seeded

  • 1

    tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

  • 12

    medium garlic cloves, peeled

  • 4

    tablespoons (½ stick) salted butter, cut into 4 pieces, divided

  • ½

    teaspoon dried oregano

  • 3

    tablespoons red wine vinegar

  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper

Directions
  1. 01
    To prepare the chops, in a food processor, combine the oil, onion, oregano, 2 tablespoons salt and 1 tablespoon pepper. Process to form a coarse paste, about 1 minute, scraping the bowl as needed. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl. Using a paring knife, make verticals cuts spaced about ½ inch apart into the fat on each chop. Add the chops to the onion paste and turn to coat, rubbing the mixture into the meat. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or up to 24 hours. Remove from the refrigerator 30 minutes before heating the grill.
    See Demo
    Armenian-Grilled-Pork-Step-1
  2. 02
    Loosely wrap the wood chips in a 12-by-18-inch sheet of foil, forming a flat packet roughly 7 inches square. Poke several holes in each side of the packet. Prepare a grill for indirect, high-heat cooking. For a charcoal grill, pour a heaping chimney of hot coals evenly over one side of the grill bed and set the wood chip packet on the coals; open the bottom grill vents and lid vents. For a gas grill, place the wood chip packet directly on one burner that will remain on during cooking; turn all burners to high.  Heat the grill, covered, for 5 to 10 minutes, then clean and oil the cooking grate. If using a gas grill, turn off one burner, leaving the remaining burner(s) on high.
  3. 03
    To prepare the sauce, while grill heats, in a large bowl, toss the tomatoes, peppers and oil. Place the vegetables on the hot side of the grill, then cover and cook, turning occasionally, until lightly charred all over, 5 to 10 minutes. Transfer to an 8-inch square disposable foil pan and add the garlic, 2 tablespoons of butter and the oregano. Cover with foil and poke a few holes in the foil, then place the pan on the cool side of the grill.  Scrape any excess marinade off the pork chops and place the chops on the cool side of the grill alongside the foil pan. Cover the grill, positioning the lid vents over the pork chops if using a charcoal grill. Cook without lifting the lid for 10 minutes.
    See Demo
    Armenian Grilled Pork Step 3
  4. 04
    Move the chops to the hot side of the grill and cook, uncovered and turning occasionally, until well-browned on both sides and the centers near the bone are just barely pink when cut into or reach 135°F, 5 to 8 minutes. Transfer to a platter, place 1 piece of the butter on each chop and tent with foil. Let rest for 15 minutes.
    See Demo
    Armenian Grilled Pork Step 4
  5. 05
    Meanwhile, uncover the pan; the vegetables and garlic cloves should be completely softened. Using a fork, mash the vegetables until broken down but a bit chunky. Use tongs to remove and discard any large pieces of tomato or pepper skins that do not break down. Stir in the remaining 2 tablespoons butter until melted, followed by the vinegar. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Transfer to a serving bowl and serve with the pork.
    See Demo
    Armenian Grilled Pork Step 5
Tip: Don't soak the wood chips before wrapping them in foil. Dry chips smoke more readily, which is desirable for quick-cooking foods such as pork chops. After placing the pork on the grill, don't open the lid for 10 minutes. This allows the smoke to collect and create a more intense smokiness in the chops.
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Armenian Grilled Pork with Pepper Sauce

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4

Servings

1 hour

plus marinating

Tip

Don't soak the wood chips before wrapping them in foil. Dry chips smoke more readily, which is desirable for quick-cooking foods such as pork chops. After placing the pork on the grill, don't open the lid for 10 minutes. This allows the smoke to collect and create a more intense smokiness in the chops.

For the pork chops:
  • ¼

    cup extra-virgin olive oil

  • 1

    large yellow onion, cut into large chunks

  • 3

    tablespoons dried oregano

  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper

  • 4

    10- to 14-ounce bone-in pork chops, each 1 to 1½ inches thick

  • 3

    tablespoons salted butter, cut into 4 pieces

  • 3

    cups apple wood chips (for smoking)

For the sauce:
  • 1

    pound plum tomatoes (4 medium), cored

  • 12

    ounces cubanelle peppers, Hungarian wax peppers or Anaheim chilies, stemmed, kept whole and seeded

  • 1

    tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

  • 12

    medium garlic cloves, peeled

  • 4

    tablespoons (½ stick) salted butter, cut into 4 pieces, divided

  • ½

    teaspoon dried oregano

  • 3

    tablespoons red wine vinegar

  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper

Step 1 of 5

Prepare marinade and the pork chops

¼
cup extra-virgin olive oil
1
large yellow onion, cut into large chunks
3
tablespoons dried oregano
2
tablespoons Kosher salt
1
tablespoon pepper
4
10- to 14-ounce bone-in pork chops, each 1 to 1½ inches thick

To prepare the chops, in a food processor, combine the oil, onion, oregano, 2 tablespoons salt and 1 tablespoon pepper. Process to form a coarse paste, about 1 minute, scraping the bowl as needed. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl.


Using a paring knife, make verticals cuts spaced about ½ inch apart into the fat on each chop. Add the chops to the onion paste and turn to coat, rubbing the mixture into the meat. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or up to 24 hours. Remove from the refrigerator 30 minutes before heating the grill.

Step 2 of 5

Prepare the grill

3
cups apple wood chips (for smoking)

Loosely wrap the wood chips in a 12-by-18-inch sheet of foil, forming a flat packet roughly 7 inches square. Poke several holes in each side of the packet. Prepare a grill for indirect, high-heat cooking. For a charcoal grill, pour a heaping chimney of hot coals evenly over one side of the grill bed and set the wood chip packet on the coals; open the bottom grill vents and lid vents. For a gas grill, place the wood chip packet directly on one burner that will remain on during cooking; turn all burners to high. 


Heat the grill, covered, for 5 to 10 minutes, then clean and oil the cooking grate. If using a gas grill, turn off one burner, leaving the remaining burner(s) on high.

Step 3 of 5

Prepare the sauce

1
pound plum tomatoes (4 medium), cored
12
ounces cubanelle peppers, Hungarian wax peppers or Anaheim chilies, stemmed, kept whole and seeded
1
tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
12
medium garlic cloves, peeled
2
tablespoons salted butter
1
teaspoon dried oregano

To prepare the sauce, while grill heats, in a large bowl, toss the tomatoes, peppers and oil. Place the vegetables on the hot side of the grill, then cover and cook, turning occasionally, until lightly charred all over, 5 to 10 minutes. Transfer to an 8-inch square disposable foil pan and add the garlic, 2 tablespoons of butter and the oregano. Cover with foil and poke a few holes in the foil, then place the pan on the cool side of the grill. 


Scrape any excess marinade off the pork chops and place the chops on the cool side of the grill alongside the foil pan. Cover the grill, positioning the lid vents over the pork chops if using a charcoal grill. Cook without lifting the lid for 10 minutes.

Step 4 of 5

Grill the pork chops

3
tablespoons salted butter, cut into 4 pieces

Move the chops to the hot side of the grill and cook, uncovered and turning occasionally, until well-browned on both sides and the centers near the bone are just barely pink when cut into or reach 135°F, 5 to 8 minutes. Transfer to a platter, place 1 piece of the butter on each chop and tent with foil. Let rest for 15 minutes.

Step 5 of 5

Finish the sauce

2
tablespoons salted butter
3
tablespoons red wine vinegar
Kosher salt and ground black pepper

Meanwhile, uncover the pan; the vegetables and garlic cloves should be completely softened. Using a fork, mash the vegetables until broken down but a bit chunky. Use tongs to remove and discard any large pieces of tomato or pepper skins that do not break down. Stir in the remaining 2 tablespoons butter until melted, followed by the vinegar. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Transfer to a serving bowl and serve with the pork.

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