Pork Chops with Agrodolce Sauce

in Polenta & Grits, Pork

For the longest time, the Foodie Groom insisted that he didn’t like pork chops. Early on, I took “I don’t like [fill-in-the-blank,” at face value. He didn’t need a second mother, after all. But when I was staring down a killer deal on big, thick pork chops, I asked why he didn’t like pork chops. “They’re too tough.”

Oh, honey! An easy problem to fix, that is! (And it’s too bad you weren’t standing in HEB with us. You would have heard my terrible Yoda impression.)

I always look for pork chops that are at least 1 1/2 inches thick and I always, always, always brine pork chops. The meat is tender and juicy. The only thing “tough” on pork chop night is the “seconds or dessert” decision.

It doesn’t take much to brine pork chops, either. You need salt, water, and herbs/seasoning. And time. I usually brine pork chops overnight, or at the very latest, I’ll put the brine together after breakfast for dinner that night.

I’ve made these pork chops for dinner four times in three weeks. Yep, four times. I serve the juicy and slightly spicy pork chops over a mound of grits – the sweet and sour (agrodolce) sauce soaks into the salty Parmesan grits. It’s pure harmony on a dinner plate. The Foodie Baby cannot get enough of those grits!

I learned the first time that you need to make the sauce first – it has to cool pretty substantially before it thickens. Otherwise it’s pretty runny and not nearly as fun to eat.

Spiced Pork Chops with Agrodolce Sauce

Juicy Pork Chops with a sweet and sour sauce.


  • For the pork chop brine
  • 12 cups cold water
  • 1/2 rounded cup of kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup molasses
  • 1 tsp black pepper corns
  • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 4 pork chops, 1 1/2-2 inches thick thick
  • For the pork chops
  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 3 green onions, sliced
  • 3 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 4 brined pork chops (recipe follows)
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil (or cooking spray)
  • Red pepper flakes
  • Salt
  • Black pepper
  • Parmesan and Truffle Butter Grits (recipe follows)
  • For the Grits
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cups quick-cooking grits (not instant)
  • 2/3 cup finely grated Parmesan
  • 2 Tbsp black truffle butter*
  • Salt
  • Pepper


Pork Chop Brine
  1. Add salt and molasses to water in a large non-metal bowl or enameled dutch oven, stirring until thoroughly mixed.
  2. Strip the leaves from the rosemary sprigs and roughly chop.
  3. Add sprigs and leaves to brine mixture. Add peppercorns and pork chops.
  4. Cover tightly and refrigerate up to 24 hours.
  5. Remove from the brine and pat the pork chops dry before preparing.
Pork Chops
  1. Preheat oven to 425.
  2. In a small sauce pan, stir together balsamic vinegar, honey, white and light green parts of the onions, and garlic over medium-high heat.
  3. Bring to a boil and let cook for ~10 minutes, reducing heat as necessary to prevent boil overs.
  4. Remove from heat, stir in butter until melted, and set aside to cool and thicken.
  5. Heat olive oil or cooking spray over medium-high heat in an oven-safe pan.
  6. Liberally season both sides of the pork chops with red pepper, salt, and black pepper.
  7. Sear for 3 minutes, flip pork chops, and finish in the oven to an internal temp of 150.
  8. Remove and let rest in the pan for 5 minutes.
  9. Serve over Parmesan and Truffle Butter Grits, topped with a generous spoonful of agrodolce sauce.
  1. Bring water to boil over high heat in a small sauce pan. Stir in grits, reduce to medium heat, and cover. Cook for 5 minutes. Stir in cheese and butter until melted. Season to taste. Serve hot/warm.


Yields: 4 servings

Source: Confections of a Foodie Bride

16 comments… add one
  • This looks fantastic. Just starred it to make after the holidays. I LOVE pork.

  • Emily

    Wow this looks amazing! Will have to try it! I too, was in the “I don’t like pork chops” camp. In fact, my brothers were in it too. We grew up in a house where Mom always baked them til they were dry and very unappealing. Served with a side of microwaved lima beans the whole meal was the worst…. When my husband finally convinced me to try a chop that he’d pan fried it was amazing.. We’ve since taught my brothers the way of the pork chop- and are working on my mom so that my dad doesn’t have to continue to suffer!

  • This looks amazing~ I am putting it on next week’s menu

  • Sarah

    My husband is in the “too tough” camp too. I’ve never tried a brine. I’m gonna try this soon!

  • My husband thought he didn’t like pork chops too, but it turned out that he just didn’t like the cheapo cut of pork chop (blade, I believe) that is tough. Wierd!

  • Those are the best looking pork chops I’ve ever seen!

  • Those pork chops are absolutely gorgeous!

  • Robin

    Can’t wait to make these for dinner tonight! Love agrodolce sauce!

  • Linsey M.

    I made this tonight for dinner and it was awesome! Even my picky husband liked it! The sauce was his favorite.
    Thanks for sharing!

  • Guess what? I already had marked this as something to make NOW and then for Christmas, my sister gave me truffle butter! Without even knowing I could use it!

  • Margie

    Had this for dinner this week and it was absolutely FABULOUS! Already looking forward to making it again. Great job!!

  • Thank you so much for sharing these amazing chops! I made them for the second time and my boyfriend and I are in love with them. We are definitely believers in brining now. I just posted about them: http://fromdahliastodoxies.blogspot.com/2012/05/juicy-pork-chops-with-agrodolce-sauce.html

    Thanks again so much for the recipe! Love your site!!!

  • molly

    where is the recipe for the grits??

  • I made this earlier this week and it was delicious! Thanks for the great recipe!

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