Grilled Cuban Pork Chops Recipe

Grilled Cuban pork chops, plated with sweet potato fries.

You only need some thick pork loin chops, a citrusy marinade, and a hot charcoal grill to make these delicious grilled Cuban pork chops. Cook them right and they’re smoky, tangy, and perfectly tender.

Why you’ll love grilled Cuban pork chops

I make a lot of pork loin chops at home. They’re versatile and lean like boneless, skinless chicken breast, but so much more flavorful. This recipe in particular brings a fun flavor profile to the pork — you can’t go wrong with garlic, orange, lime, and cilantro.

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Plus, these grilled Cuban pork chops are easy. Whip up a 5-minute marinade in a reseable bag, drop your chops in, and let them hang out in the fridge for a few hours. Then grill them over charcoal, while you wind down with a cold beverage in hand.

Ingredients for grilled Cuban pork chops

You may have everything you need on hand for this recipe. The entire ingredient list is as follows:

  • 2 boneless pork loin chops
  • 1/8 cup orange juice
  • 2 small garlic cloves (minced)
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

How to make grilled Cuban pork chops

There are two steps to this recipe: marinate and grill. Let’s talk through it.

1. Marinate

Cuban marinade and pork chops inside resealable bag on cutting board.
If you wanted to be disciplined about this, you could whisk the marinade ingredients together in a separate bowl. But I’d rather spare the extra dish, so I make the marinade right in the bag and then shake it up.

Get yourself a gallon-size resealable bag and add all ingredients. Seal and shake. Place the whole thing in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours.

I like to get this done in the morning, so the pork can absorb those Cuban flavors all day.

2. Grill

Cuban pork chops on the grill.

Clean and lightly grease the grates on your charcoal grill. Fire up the coals. Once it’s hot, place the chops on the grill and close the lid. Discard any extra marinade.

The cooking time on these will vary depending on the thickness of your chops. It usually takes 8 to 12 minutes per side. I like to grill them for 8 minutes, flip, and then insert a leave-in thermometer. Once the internal temperature reaches 145°F or 63°C, they’re done.

Pull the chops off the grill and let them rest for 3 minutes.

What to serve with grilled Cuban pork chops

Grilled vegetables

Keep the grill fired up and prepare a medley of grilled vegetables such as zucchini, bell peppers, eggplant, or asparagus. The smoky char from the grill will harmonize with the flavors of the pork chops.

Citrus quinoa salad

Prepare a refreshing citrus quinoa salad with segments of oranges, chopped cilantro, diced red onions, and a light dressing of citrus juice, olive oil, and a touch of honey. This vibrant salad adds a zesty and satisfying element to the meal.

Roasted sweet potatoes

Grilled Cuban pork chops, plated with sweet potato fries.

Toss sweet potato chunks with olive oil, garlic, and a sprinkle of chili powder or smoked paprika. Roast them in the oven until tender and slightly caramelized. The sweetness of the potatoes pairs wonderfully with the tangy and savory flavors of the pork chops.

Coconut rice

Cook fragrant coconut rice by combining jasmine or basmati rice with coconut milk, water, and a pinch of salt. The subtly sweet and creamy rice provides a soothing and tropical contrast to the bold flavors of the pork chops.

Charred corn salad

Grill fresh corn on the cob and cut off the kernels. Mix them with diced tomatoes, red onions, chopped cilantro, and a squeeze of lime juice. This vibrant and tangy corn salad adds a burst of freshness and texture to the meal.

Garlic green beans

Sauté fresh green beans in garlic-infused olive oil until they are tender-crisp. Sprinkle them with a squeeze of lemon juice, a pinch of red pepper flakes, and a sprinkle of chopped cilantro for added zest.

Cilantro lime coleslaw

Toss shredded cabbage, carrots, and thinly sliced red onions with a tangy dressing made from lime juice, mayonnaise or Greek yogurt, honey, and chopped cilantro. This zesty and crunchy coleslaw complements the flavors of the pork chops perfectly.

Roasted Brussels sprouts

Roast Brussels sprouts with a drizzle of olive oil, minced garlic, and a sprinkle of orange zest. The caramelized edges and citrusy notes elevate these crunchy vegetables and make them an excellent side dish.

What to drink with grilled Cuban pork chops

Citrus-infused sparkling water

A refreshing and non-alcoholic choice, citrus-infused sparkling water or soda can enhance the citrusy notes of the pork chops while providing a crisp and effervescent palate cleanser.

White wine

Choose a light to medium-bodied white wine with citrus or tropical fruit notes, such as a Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Grigio, or a lightly oaked Chardonnay. These will complement the citrus and herb flavors in the pork chops while providing a refreshing balance.

Citrus beer

Find a a citrus-infused beer, such as a Hefeweizen, that carries orange or lemon zest flavors. The bright and zesty characteristics of these beers harmonize with the grilled pork chops and enhance the citrus and herbaceous elements.

Margarita

Prepare a classic margarita with fresh lime juice, tequila, and a hint of orange liqueur. The tangy and citrus-forward flavors of the margarita complement the citrus and garlic in the pork chops.

Mojito

Sip on a refreshing mojito made with muddled fresh mint leaves, lime juice, simple syrup, and a splash of soda water. A classic Cuban drink for a classic Cuban dish.

Iced tea

Brew a pitcher of citrus-infused iced tea using black tea or green tea. Add slices of fresh oranges or lemons. The light bitterness of the tea balances the savory flavors of the pork chops while the citrus infusion adds a refreshing twist.

Light-bodied red wine

Opt for a light-bodied red wine like a Beaujolais or a Pinot Noir. The gentle fruity notes and moderate tannins that can complement the pork chops without overpowering them.

Citrus mocktail

Create a mocktail by combining freshly squeezed orange juice, lime juice, a splash of cranberry juice, and a hint of sparkling water. Vibrant and tangy, it’ll complement the chops very well.

How to make Cuban grilled pork chops in pictures

Yield: 2 Servings

Cuban Pork Chops Recipe

Grilled Cuban pork chops, plated with sweet potato fries.

This is an easy grilled pork chop recipe. You'll spend minutes mixing the marinade, then about 20 minutes grilling. The end result is citrusy, smoky, and tangy.

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Inactive Time 4 hours
Total Time 4 hours 25 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 boneless pork loin chops
  • 1/8 cup of orange juice
  • 2 small garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

Instructions

  1. Add all ingredients to a gallon-size resealable bag. Shake the bag to combine the ingredients and coat the pork.
  2. Seal the bag. Refrigerate and allow the pork to marinate for at least 4 hours.
  3. Heat an outdoor grill to medium-high heat. Remove the pork chops from the marinade and discard the marinade. Grill for about 8-12 minutes per side or until the internal temperature has reached 145°F or 67°C.

Notes

You can use this marinade for bone-in pork chops. The cooking time may be longer or shoter (if they are very thin). Use a thermometer rather than trying to guess on the cook time.

You can also sub in lemon juice if you don't have orange juice. I would make this a last-resort option, though, because the orange flavor is so, so good.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

2

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 402Total Fat: 24gSaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 14gCholesterol: 132mgSodium: 352mgCarbohydrates: 3gFiber: 0gSugar: 1gProtein: 41g

Nutrition information isn’t always accurate.

More pork loin chop recipes to try

After making this recipe, you might have a new appreciation for pork loin chops. Here are more dishes you can try:

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