I recently discovered that sweet tea makes for an ideal marinade for pork because the sugars help the meat caramelize as it cooks. Now, pork loin is very lean. Yet, this grilled pork chop is succulent and the flavor is a contrast of both sweet and savory.
As I was working with the English breakfast tea, the aroma enticed me to make myself a cup. I drink black tea as I do 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.
Tip: Use large pieces of fruit and vegetables when grilling.
Why Bowls Have Revolutionized Eating
There has been a serious bowl obsession 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.
This bowl is an array of contrasts:
- creamy avocado
- crispy, salty bacon
- juicy, charred pineapple
- spicy jalapeno
- sweet pork
- saucy, lemony dressing
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.
You can grill more vegetables or swap in different cuts of pork. If you do, let me know in the comments how it goes.
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.