Pan Seared Pork Chops and Hasselback Sweet Potatoes

Pan Seared Pork Chops and Hasselback Sweet Potatoes
(tender brined pork loin chops, sweet potatoes + BBQ herbed butter)
Serves 4

Don’t let the elegant look of these Hasselback Sweet Potatoes scare you. They are easy to make, healthy to eat and a great conversation starter.

What you need:
For Pork Brine

1 quart plus 1 cup apple juice
½ cup kosher salt
¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
2 tablespoons coriander seeds
4 small bay leaves
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
2 teaspoons black mustard seeds
½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

For Sweet Potatoes

8 tablespoons butter, melted
2 teaspoons thyme leaves, plus more for garnish

2 tablespoon Cool Smoke BBQ Rub

Juice from 1 lemon 4 large sweet potatoes

For Pork

Pork Brine (see recipe)

4 thick cut boneless pork loin chops (I use Chairman’s Reserve Prime Pork®)
Kosher salt
Coarsely ground black pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
Pomegranate arils for garnish (optional)

What to do:

1. Make Pork Brine: In a large pot or lidded container, whisk together the apple juice, salt, and sugar until dissolved. Stir in the remaining ingredients and refrigerate 24 hours before using.

2. Brine Pork Loin Chops: Strain the brine and discard the solids. Place the pork loins in a lidded container and pour enough strained brine over to cover. Refrigerate for 4 hours. Remove from brine and pat completely dry. 3. Make BBQ Herb Butter: In a bowl, stir together butter, thyme leaves, Cool Smoke BBQ Rub and lemon juice. Set aside.

4. Cook Sweet Potatoes: Preheat oven to 425º F. Line a baking sheet with foil. Cut a series of 1/8-inch slices (2/3 of the way through the sweet potato) along the entire length of each sweet potato. Place potatoes on the baking sheet and use ½ of the herb butter to brush over the tops of each potato and making sure to get in between the slices (keep remainder warm for serving). Roast until the center of the potatoes are tender and the outside crisp (about 50 minutes to 1 hour). Halfway through the roasting time, remove the potatoes from the oven and use a fork to gently fan out the slices from each other.

5. Cook Pork Loin Chops: Season chops with salt and pepper. Heat a large cast-iron pan over medium-high heat. Add oil and heat until shimmering. Place chops in pan and brown on both sides (about 3 minutes per side). Flip chops one final time and place in the preheated oven with the sweet potatoes to finish cooking until a meat thermometer placed in the thickest part of the loins reads an internal temperature of 140º F. Remove the loin from the heat and let it 10 minutes before serving.

To Serve:
Spoon remaining herb butter over sweet potatoes and serve alongside chops. Garnish with pomegranate arils (optional) and fresh thyme.

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