Recipe Details

Santa Fe Chops with Firecracker Salsa

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Servings: 6


Cook to 145 F with 3 minute rest


6 New York (top loin) pork chops, 1 1/2-inch thick
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt

Firecracker Salsa:

1 jalapeno chile, seeded and minced*
1 20-oz can pineapple tidbits, drained
1 medium cucumber, diced
1 tablespoon lime juice
1 tablespoon brown sugar
Pinch salt

Cooking Directions

In small bowl mix together chili powder, cumin, pepper and salt. Rub evenly onto both sides of chops. Prepare a medium-hot fire in a kettle-style grill. Grill chops directly over fire for a total of 12-16 minutes, turning once, until internal temperature on a thermometer reads  145 degrees Fahrenheit, followed by a 3-minute rest time. Serve with Firecracker Salsa.

Firecracker Salsa: In small bowl stir together pineapple tidbits, diced cucumber, lime juice, brown sugar, salt and jalapeno chile (*Wear rubber gloves when handling hot chile). Cover and refrigerate 4-24 hours to allow flavors to blend.

Serves 6.

Serving Suggestions

Southwest-seasoned chops arrive from the grill to be dressed with a sweet-hot pineapple-jalapeno-cucumber salsa. Hot cornbread with Honey-Lime Butter makes a great accompaniment.

Nutrition Information

Calories: 300 calories
Protein: 35 grams
Fat: 10 grams
Sodium: 290 milligrams
Cholesterol: 95 milligrams
Saturated Fat: 3 grams
Carbohydrates: 17 grams

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About the Cut: Chop

Pork chops are the most popular cut from the pork loin, which is the strip of meat that runs from the pig’s hip to shoulder. Depending on where they originate, pork chops can be found under a variety of names, including loin, rib, sirloin, top loin and blade chops.

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About the Cooking Method: Grilling

There are two ways to grill pork based on the size of the cut:

  • Direct heat, where food is placed directly over the heat source, is ideal for small cuts like kabobs, tenderloin, burgers and chops.
  • Indirect heat, where food is placed on the grill rack away from the coals or gas burners, is good for large cuts like loin roasts, ribs, shoulder and fresh ham.

Direct Heat

Arrange hot coals evenly on the fire grate of the grill or use all gas burners. Place pork directly above the heat source. Follow suggested cooking times, turning once during cooking.

Indirect Heat

Bank hot coals on both sides of the fire grate, on one side of the grill or in a ring around the perimeter. For gas grills, pre-heat and then turn off any burners directly below where the food will go. Place pork on the grill so it is not directly over any coals or gas burners and close grill hood. Follow suggested cooking times until pork is done. The heat circulates inside the grill, so turning the pork is not necessary.

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Tips and Tricks

Buying, Handling & Storage Tips

The best way to defrost pork is in the refrigerator in its wrapping. Defrosting a 1 inch chop will take 12-14 hours.

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Butcher's Tips

It’s important to note that all pork chops cook the same. The length of cooking primarily depends on the thickness of the chop. Thickness can vary from ½ to 2 inches. Whether you choose chops boneless for convenience or chops with the bone attached for their attractive appearance, the cooking time is the same. Pork chops are likely the least intimidating of all pork cuts because they are so easy to prepare.

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by NMtricia 01/02/2010
Hot, moist, has a big kick.

by NMtricia 01/02/2010
Fantistic recipe. Chops were moist with excellent flavor, but it may be to hot for some. If you're not into spicy foods - I'd recommend less jalapeno & chili.