What better way to enjoy a relaxing weekend than with a deliciously cooked pork chop and a nice cold beer to follow? The secret to the best-tasting pork chops is the marinade – a step many people forgo serving dry and tough chops.
But just because pork chops are a cheaper cut of meat does not mean that you have to serve a dish that tastes cheap. Could a beer-based marinade be the key to unlocking the ultimate pork chop?
You can absolutely use beer to marinate pork chops. In fact, beer marinates are often used for pork chops to make the chops wonderfully tender.
Why Do You Need To Marinate Pork Chops?
We have all experienced one or two tough pork chops in our time.
Typically, a chewy pork chop is a sign of an overcooked dish but it is even easier to ruin a pork chop’s texture by skipping over the most critical part of the pork chop cooking process… the marinade!
There are 4 types of pork chops, each coming from various points of a pig’s loin. But despite their variation, typically pork chops are very lean cuts of meat with very little fat, hence why they are considered a healthier meat option.
Other cuts of pork have a high fat-to-meat ratio. This fat allows the meat to naturally tenderise as the meat is cooked, especially if the pork is cooked slowly and that fat is given time to melt into the meat.
Likewise, this fat is full of natural flavour that melts into the meat as it cooks.
Seeing as pork chops lack this fat for the most part, you have to give the meat a hand in becoming just as tender and tasteful as other cuts of pork. That is where the marinade comes in.
Marinades serve all types of purposes depending on the type of marinade used and what exactly you are marinating. A pork marinade is designed to do 2 things:
- Add an abundance of flavour to the pork chop
- Tenderise the meat of the pork chop
You can change the flavour of your pork chop marinade however you wish to suit the meal you want to make. But the marinade must have an element of acidity to allow the pork chop meat to tenderise.
The good news is that you can actually get ahead and freeze pork chops in a marinade. Pop the pork chops into a bag, pour in your marinade, seal and freeze.
What Does Beer Do In A Marinade?
That all-important acid in a pork chop marinade can be included via a range of acidic ingredients including lemon juice and vinegar.
However, ingredients such are these are only acidic, making it very easy to use too much lemon juice or vinegar and over-tenderize your pork chops.
Beer has the ideal amount of acidity to tenderise your pork chop at a much gentler pace. You will not have to worry as much about the acidity of the beer over tenderising your pork chop as it does not contain enough acidity in the first place to do so.
That is if you marinade your pork chops for no longer than 12 hours.
Once the beer has made the pork chop nice and tender, you can then cook the pork chop however you wish. The tenderised meat will not get tough as it cooks but instead stay soft and juicy.
Beer does more for a pork chop marinade than tenderise the meat, though. It also adds a whole new level of flavour that is hard to achieve yourself.
Every beer has been crafted and designed over years of dedication with each brand having its own signature tastes. Some are sweeter, other more like caramel. Some are delicate and refreshing while others are harsh.
Adding beer to your pork chop marinade is like adding soy sauce to a stir fry or salt to a soup. It just adds that extra in-depth flavour that can make all the difference in flavour once the pork chops are cooked.
What Type Of Beer Works Best In A Pork Chop Marinade?
Dark beers, such as Guinness, can also be used in a pork chop marinade. However, as any dark beer fan would tell you, Guinness and other drinks like it are much richer in their flavours, using intense ingredients such as coffee or even nuts.
This means that using dark beer to marinate your pork chops may not be a good idea if you are trying to achieve a lighter flavour. Save the darker beers for more hearty pork chop dishes like pork chop pie or stew.
Ale-type beers, such as Corona, have enough acidity to work as the tenderising element in pork chop beer, often slightly more than dark beers making them even better at tenderising the pork.
However, ale beers are not nearly as acidic as lemon juice or vinegar, so you won’t have to worry about leaving your pork chop in the marinade for too long.
Compared to dark beers, ale beers are much more refreshing, which is what makes them a more popular type of drink and, therefore, usually more accessible. The fruitier taste of ale beers and much easier-to-palate sweetness means that they are the perfect beer to use when you want to keep your pork chop light and delicious.
There is often a sharp underlying bitterness to ale beers to help balance out their sweetness. This can actually work in your favour as it will prevent the ale beer over sweetening your pork chop.
Our Simple Beer Marinade for Pork Chops
Combine one cup of beer with half a sliced onion, a whole and crushed garlic clove, a teaspoon each of cumin, paprika and oregano, a drizzle of olive oil and a splash of white wine vinegar. Once mixed, add in your pork chops and leave for 12 hours.
Pork Chops in Beer FAQs
Do you have more questions about marinating pork in beer? Then have a look at these FAQs:
Yes, most meat can be marinated in beer. It’s impossible to get the right level of sweetness and acidity for the perfect marinade, however. Every beer is different so ensure the right sort of beer is chosen first.
You should marinate the pork in beer for up to 12 hours. Beyond this, you can ruin both the texture of the pork whilst imparting too much beer-like flavour into the meat.
Where we obtain our information and verify the facts in this article:
Acacia may be a freelance writer by day, but they are a food fanatic by night. They are always trying out new recipes or finding different ways to elevate classical dishes. But their biggest culinary aim is to educate others on the basics of the kitchen so that they too can enjoy delicious food.