I recently discovered that sweet tea makes for an ideal marinade for pork because the sugars help the meat caramelize as it cooks. Even though pork loin is very lean, this grilled pork chop is succulent and the flavor is both sweet and savory.
As I was working with the English breakfast tea, the aroma enticed me to make myself a cup. I made my black tea as I make my rooibos–with sugar and cream. It was just delightful to sip my tea as I decided how to cut my pineapple. Not that it matters for the overall flavor, but I decided to make triangles so that they’d be large enough to sit on the grates of my grill without falling through.
Why Bowls Have Revolutionized Eating
There has been a serious bowl trend sweeping the nation and for good reason. Serving food in bowls is reactionary to people’s waning interest in fine dining. Hungry people don’t crave sparsely decorated plates. They want what’s familiar and what could be more accessible than the humble bowl?
Besides being casual and filling, what inspires me about this hawaiian pork bowl is the experience of tasting individual ingredients. I liked the contrast of the creamy avocado with the crispy, salty bacon. But for my money, there’s nothing better than juicy, charred pineapple, spicy jalapeno, and sweet pork. Even though it’s one dish, the mixing and matching of flavors and textures really gratifies my desire to experience everything in a meal.
Since I’m all about my options these days, let’s talk about the quickest side sauce ever. You can totally drizzle your sauce, but I also liked dunking into the cilantro, lime dressing to play with whether some bites needed the acidity of the lime or not. Sometimes when you have great ingredients like avocado and bacon, there’s very little they need. Other times, your favorite ingredients just need that little something extra. My last thought on any bowl experience is that it’s all about the quest for that perfect bite.
Since I had shishitos, I added them to the mix. While I love grilled shishitos, I wasn’t crazy about what they added to this dish. They have a strong bitter flavor that prevents the subtle sweet pork from coming through, so I’ve decided to leave them out of the recipe in order to let the pork flavor come through. One thing that’s great about this recipe is that you can easily swap in or out ingredients–if you want to try brown rice, go for it. Have a white onion, no problem. Were bone-in pork chops on sale? Substitute for different cuts of pork and just monitor the temperature to know when they’re done.
Did you make this recipe? Share your perfect bite with me in the comments below. I love seeing all the unique ways of plating a bowl. Share yours with me @thefrayedapron on Instagram. Thanks for helping me do what I love!
Hawaiin Pork Bowl
- 1 cup boiling water
- 1/4 cup cane sugar
- 2 English breakfast tea bags
- 1 pound pork loin chops, no bones, pounded
- 3 slices fresh pineapple, peeled, cored, quartered into 1" pieces
- 1 red onion, cut through the core into 1/2-inch wedges
- 3 limes, juiced
- 2 T minced cilantro
- 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing
- kosher salt and pepper
Steamed rice, crisp bacon, diced avocado, and thinly sliced jalapeno for serving
- In a large bowl, combine the boiling water, sugar, and tea bags and steep for 5 minutes. Discard tea bags and stir to dissolve sugar. At this point, treat yourself to a cup of English tea with some cream and sugar while you wait for your tea marinade to come to room temperature. Then add the pork and refrigerate for 1 hour.
- In a small bowl, combine the lime juice, cilantro, and 1/3 cup of olive oil. Season with salt and pepper and whisk to combine. Set aside.
- Preheat and clean grill. Drain pork and pat dry with paper towels. Brush the pork, pineapple, and red onion with olive oil and season both sides with salt and pepper. Using tongs, transfer the pork, pineapple, and red onion to the grill over high heat. Once the food touches the grill, leave it alone until lightly charred, then flip. The pork is done when an instant-read thermometer inserted reads 135°, about 7 minutes. Transfer to a cutting board and allow pork to rest for 5 minutes, then slice against the grain.
- Serve the sliced pork over steamed rice with crispy bacon, grilled pineapple, onion. diced avocado, thinly sliced jalapeno and the cilantro-lime dressing.
*Recipe adapted from Food and Wine.