Olympia – Jan/Feb 2018
Seaside – Jan/Feb/March 2018

Grilled Pork Chops with Chorizo, Dates, and Manchego Stuffing

Grilled pork chops with chorizo, dates, and Manchego stuffing, Chef Cowan Madison

Grilled Pork Chops with Chorizo, Dates, and Manchego Stuffing is a Spanish-Treatmenf of stuffed pork chops. In the U.S., stuffed pork chops usually have a breadcrumb filling. This Spanish treatment calls for a unique and flavorful stuffing of spicy chorizo, sweet dates, and Manchego cheese, a sharp cheese from the La Mancha region of Spain. Alternatively use local, affordable cheddar if Manchego is unavailable.

Makes 6 servings

  • 6 double-thick bone-in rib chops, about 12 ounces each
  • 2 cups apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • ½ cup sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon dry mustard
  • 1 tablespoon black peppercorns
  • ½ gallon iced water

Chorizo Stuffing

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 pound smoked Spanish chorizo, diced
  • 2 medium celery, finely chopped
  • 1/3 cup pitted and finely chopped dates
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped shallot
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh sage
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 cup (4 ounces) shredded Manchego or sharp Cheddar cheese
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

To brine pork chops:  Bring vinegar, brown sugar, salt, mustard, and peppercorns to a simmer over medium heat, stirring to dissolve salt.  Do not inhale fumes.  Transfer to large, deep food-safe container.  Let cool until tepid.  Stir in iced water.  Submerge chops in brine.  Refrigerate for 3 hours, no longer.

To make stuffing: Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add chorizo and cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Add celery, dates, and shallot, and cook, stirring often, until celery is tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in parsley, sage, and paprika. Transfer to a bowl and let cool completely.  Stir in cheese and season with salt and pepper.

Remove chops from brine, rinse under cold water, and blot dry with paper towels. Cut a horizontal pocket in each chop to the bone using a sharp knife. Spoon equal amounts of stuffing into each chop, and close each opening shut with wooden toothpicks. Do not overstuff the chops; you may not use all of the filling.

Prepare a medium fire in an outdoor grill. (For a gas grill, preheat to about 400ºF. For a charcoal grill, let the coals burn until covered with white ash and you can hold your hand about an inch above the cooking grate for 3 seconds.) Brush cooking grates clean. Grill pork, with the lid closed as much as possible, turning occasionally, until an instant-read thermometer inserted horizontally into the center of a chop reads 145ºF, about 15 minutes. Remove from the grill and let stand for 3 to 5 minutes.

Remove toothpicks and serve.

Want more? Check out Chef Madison’s Pork Loin Chops with Chinese Five Spice Glaze

And Moroccan-style Country Rib Ragu with Couscous Cakes.

Celebrity chef, Chopped Grand Champion, and Iron Chef America winner, Madison Cowan boasts stints cooking in London, Jamaica, Detroit and even for the U.S. Coast Guard. This worldly chef is known for blending diverse inspirations from around the globe – and cooking from the soul. You can read more about Chef Madison at

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Bobbie Hasselbring

RFT founder and the website's former editor-in-chief, Bobbie Hasselbring has been a travel junkie her entire life. She's been an award-winning writer and editor for more than 25 years and author of the regional food-travel bestsellers, The Chocolate Lover’s Guide to the Pacific Northwest and The Chocolate Lover’s Guide Cookbook.