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Lemon and Thyme Grilled Pork Chops

Photo: Lisa Romerein; Styling: Dani Fisher
Total time 5 hrs, 10 mins
Yield Serves 6
Pork pairs perfectly with the fresh tartness of the lemon and the earthiness of the thyme. Your family will thank you for throwing these brined babies on the grill.


  • 3 dried bay leaves
  • 2 teaspoons peppercorns, cracked*, plus 1/2 tsp. ground pepper
  • 1 cup dry white wine such as Sauvignon Blanc
  • 1/2 cup kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tsp. packed light brown sugar
  • Zest of 2 lemons, divided
  • 6 bone-in center-cut pork rib chops (3 1/2 lbs. total) with bones frenched* if you like
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh thyme leaves and small, tender sprigs

Nutrition Information

  • calories 328
  • caloriesfromfat 53 %
  • protein 32 g
  • fat 19 g
  • satfat 6.2 g
  • carbohydrate 4.5 g
  • fiber 0.3 g
  • sodium 395 mg
  • cholesterol 88 mg

How to Make It

  1. Heat 1 1/2 qts. water, the bay leaves, and peppercorns in a large pot until boiling. Remove from heat and stir in wine, salt, 1/2 cup brown sugar, and the zest of 1 lemon. Nest pan in a sink of ice water and let brine cool. Add pork to brine. Chill at least 4 and up to 12 hours.

  2. Drain meat, rinse, pat dry, and set on a platter or baking sheet. In a bowl, mix oil, thyme, ground pepper, remaining 2 tsp. brown sugar, and the zest of 1 lemon. Pat mixture onto both sides of meat, pressing it in. Let meat stand at room temperature.

  3. Heat grill to medium (350° to 450°). Heat a large cast-iron griddle, 12-in. paella pan, or 2 large cast-iron skillets on cooking grate with grill lid down until water dances when sprinkled on cooking surface, 8 to 10 minutes.

  4. Set chops on griddle and cook with grill lid down, turning once, until meat is well browned and done the way you like, 8 to 10 minutes total for medium-rare (cut to test). Transfer to a platter.

  5. *Crack peppercorns in a mortar, or seal in a plastic bag and smash with a rolling pin. Rib chops come from the rib end of the loin; if they aren't already frenched (some meat trimmed from the bone ends to make the chops look neater), ask a butcher to do it, or do it yourself by sliding a sharp knife along the bones.