If you survive puberty, there will come a time when you realize, perhaps with despair and confusion, that you have to make dinner. Again. It helps to have an arsenal of go-to recipes that are quick, cheap and definitely not boring.

Here’s one of my new go-to’s: Hoisin Pork Chops.

Ever tried hoisin sauce? It smells kinda like an Asian A1, but it can take a ho-hum cut of meat and transform it into something sticky-sweet and spicy and completely crave-inducing.

First, pick up some 1/2-inch-thick pork chops. Not the nice ones. The value pack.

Then, start mixing your mouthwatering marinade: hoisin sauce (aka Peking sauce), soy sauce, sesame oil, rice vinegar, garlic, ginger and red pepper flakes. Coat the chops in this mixture, set them aside, and pour the remaining marinade into a saucepan. You’ll be combining the marinade with honey, bringing it to a boil, and keeping it at a low boil for at least 10 minutes. While the sauce thickens, you can sear the meat on both sides. Pour the marinade over the chops, and bake them for about 10 minutes.

I can be a total chop-hater, but these pork chops make my taste buds happy-happy. Even with the searing and baking time, they stay juicy and have a nice kick. And you can rock them with a serious variety of sides, like sticky rice, stir-fried vegetables, snow peas, green beans, sweet potatoes or an Asian-inspired coleslaw, like this Asian Slaw with Roasted Peanuts. These chops actually make me look forward to making dinner. Again!

Hoisin Pork Chops

From Emeril Lagasse (Food Network, 2002)

  • 1/2 cup hoisin sauce
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon minced ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 2 (1/2-inch-thick) pork chops
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • Vegetable oil
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the hoisin, soy sauce, sesame oil, rice vinegar, garlic, ginger and red pepper flakes. Add the pork chops and turn to coat. Remove the chops from the marinade.
  3. Reserve the marinade and combine with the honey in a medium saucepan. Bring the honey marinade mixture to a boil, and cook at a low boil for at least 10 minutes.
  4. Add chops to a large saute pan coated with vegetable oil and sear on until golden brown on both sides, about 6 minutes per side. Pour the reduced marinade over the chops and bake for 10 minutes, or until an instant-read thermometer registers 160 degrees F.
  5. Remove the chops from the oven and set aside to rest for a few minutes. Serve immediately.