This Bourbon Glazed Pork Chops recipe makes perfectly tender pork chops oozing with bright citrusy and herby flavors drizzled with a sweet and tangy bourbon glaze—a savory flavor bomb in your mouth!
Looking for the perfect fancy dinner dish to make for your loved ones? This is it—definitely a delicious way to consume your protein!
Prep time takes a while, but the hands on time is just a few minutes. The brine makes the pork chops almost melt-in-the-mouth tender. It also packs lots of sweet, citrusy, and savory flavors from orange juice, brown sugar, kosher salt, black pepper, garlic, and herbs.
The bbq bourbon sauce, tangy, zesty, and savory all at the same time, just makes it over the top. Pair it with your favorite drink like this Texas Margarita.
What is bourbon glaze made of?
The ingredients for my bourbon glaze are molasses, brown sugar, apple cider vinegar, rosemary, butter, and of course, bourbon. Bourbon has oaky and smoky notes that compliment the savory pork chops.
We let these ingredients boil first, then simmer to cook off the alcohol and to really let the flavors meld. The result is phenomenal!
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❤️ Why You’ll Love This Recipe
This recipe makes perfectly tender pork chops with delicious citrus and herb flavors. The sweet and tangy bourbon glaze makes it even more tasty!
- These pork chops are great party pleasers. You can simply multiply the recipe, brine a big batch, sear them, and put them all in the oven to cook.
- The meat becomes very tender and flavorful, thanks to the brine and bourbon sauce!
- Even though there are several steps, this recipe is easy to make.
If you prefer meat dishes to be more on the sweet side, check out this Maple Glazed Baked Pork Chops recipe.
The ingredients you’ll need to whip up these bourbon pork chops are all common and very easy to find.
- Orange juice: Freshly squeezed is best! But if oranges aren’t available or you don’t want the hassle of squeezing oranges, you can use store bought juice. Try to find good quality, real orange juice and not artificial flavored powdered juice.
- Brown sugar: This adds a different kind of sweetness to the brine; it also helps in the browning of the meat when seared. This process is called caramelization.
- Kosher salt: Salt retains moisture so it helps keep the meat moist even after cooking.
- Garlic cloves: The garlic in brine adds a subtle buttery flavor to the meat.
- Fresh thyme: For a bright, herby flavor.
- Bay leaves: Another herb for more flavor. It has an earthy, minty, and slightly flowery flavor.
- Black peppercorns: Adds just some amount of heat to the meat.
- Pork chops: I used boneless pork loin chops but you can use bone-in pork chops if you prefer. Just keep in mind that they will cook longer.
- Olive oil: To sear the meat. It has more nutrition advantage compared to vegetable oil, but you can use the latter as an alternative.
- Molasses: Molasses has a slightly smoky sweet flavor, which makes it perfect for pork chops.
- Apple cider vinegar: Its sharp and tangy flavor adds depth to the overall taste of the sauce. We put just enough to balance the sweetness of the sugar and molasses and the tang from the bourbon.
- Rosemary sprig: Rosemary and barbecue are like a match made in heaven. Don’t skip!
- Butter: The melted butter adds a beautiful sheen to the sauce. It also makes the taste richer.
- Bourbon: The star of this recipe. Don’t worry about the alcohol, it gets cooked off. It’s perfectly safe for the kids.
See recipe card for quantities.
Here’s how to substitute some of the ingredients if they’re not available:
Garlic cloves: One clove is equivalent to about 1/8 teaspoon of powder, so you would need only one teaspoon garlic powder. For granulated garlic, it’s one clove to 1/4 teaspoon, so you would need two teaspoons granulated garlic.
Fresh thyme: To substitute dried thyme, use 1/3 the amount of fresh needed. So just maybe use a small pinch of dried thyme, or about 1/4 tsp.
Molasses: It’s the best to use for this recipe but if it’s not available, you can use honey, dark corn syrup, maple syrup, or golden syrup as alternatives.
Apple cider vinegar: Red wine vinegar, white wine vinegar, champagne vinegar or even plan white vinegar would work just fine.
Rosemary: Use one teaspoon of dried needles for every sprig called for in the recipe.
Bourbon: It’s the star of the recipe so hopefully you can get your hands on some good bourbon! But if not, use any alcohol like scotch whisky, cognac, brandy, or rum.
🌈 Variations / Options / Add-Ins
What’s great about cooking your own meals is that you get to customize them to your liking!
- Spicy: If you’re a fan of spicy dishes, you can add some heat to these pork chops by adding cayenne pepper, paprika, or chili powder. Sprinkle these on all sides of the pork chops prior to searing. You can also make the bourbon glaze spicy by adding any of the mentioned ingredients. Just taste and adjust as you go.
- Skewers: You can really stick to the barbecue theme by making skewers instead. This is a great option if you’re using other less expensive cuts of pork like butt or shoulder. Cook them on the grill, too!
No time for brining? Check out this French Onion Pork Chops Recipe that’s ready in under an hour!
🔪 How to Make Bourbon Glazed Pork Chops
It’s very easy to make. The prep time is long due to brining, but the hands on time is just a few minutes. Here’s a step-by-step guide to further explain the instructions.
Step 1: Prepare brine
In a large saucepan, combine water, orange juice, brown sugar, salt, garlic, thyme, bay leaves, and peppercorns. Boil it then reduce to a simmer for 10 minutes. You want the sugar to melt and all the flavors of the ingredients to infuse together.
Then, let the mixture cool completely to room temperature before putting the meat in.
Step 2: Brine meat
Place the boneless pork loin chops into a large bowl or freezer bag with the brine. Refrigerate overnight.
The optimum brining time is 12 hours. Do not over brine! Over brining will cause the pork to be too salty and the protein strands to break down too much resulting in mushy meat.
Step 3: Preheat Oven and Prep meat
When ready to cook, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Now back to the pork chops, remove them from the brine and rinse under cold water. Dry each piece well using paper towels. The drier they are, the better sear they will get so try to remove any excess liquid as much as you can.
Step 4: Sear
Heat up a large skillet over medium-high heat and drizzle olive oil. Once hot, sear pork chops for 4-6 minutes each side. Do this in batches.
Do not overcrowd the pan. Otherwise, the liquid will collect, turn into steam, and will lessen the searing of the meat. You can place all the chops back in the skillet once they are all done.
Step 5: Bake
Place the skillet into the preheated oven and cook the chops for another 4-6 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 140 degrees F.
Once done, let the chops rest for at least 5 minutes. This will help seal in the juices as compared with slicing them right away.
Step 6: Make glaze
To make glaze, combine molasses, apple cider vinegar, and rosemary in a small sauce pan. Cook for about 15 minutes over medium heat. You want to keep an eye on it and stir it constantly to avoid the bottom from burning.
Once mixture has reduced to about 2/3 cup, whisk in butter and bourbon. Cook for 2-3 minutes or until thickened.
Step 7: Serve
Drizzle or brush the glaze over the chops. Serve it with your choice of sides, and enjoy your Bourbon Glazed Pork Chops!
🍽️ Serving Suggestions
You can also serve it as a wrap. Slice the pork chops, have some cut up bell peppers, lettuce, shredded cheese, and your favorite condiments ready, as well as tortilla wraps. Wrap the pork chops and enjoy!
❓ Recipe FAQs
The ultimate secret to juicy pork chops is brining, which is exactly what you do for this recipe. The salt in the brine helps with moisture retention. Brining also helps enhance the flavor.
You can tenderize pork chops quickly by pounding them with a meat mallet (kitchen mallet).
Alternatively, if you have a bit more time, you can marinate the pork in milk for 30 minutes to two hours. The enzymes in milk will break down the protein making the meat more tender.
Ideally, you will only marinate pork for 12 hours maximum. This is just enough time for it to tenderize and soak up flavor. Any longer, the meat might be too tender or too mushy as the protein will break down.
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Bourbon Glazed Pork Chops
- Large saucepan
- Freezer bag or a deep bowl
- Oven-safe skillet
- small saucepan
For the brine:
- 6 cups water
- 2 cups orange juice
- ½ cup packed brown sugar
- ¼ cup kosher salt
- 8 garlic cloves crushed
- 1 bunch fresh thyme
- 3 bay leaves
- 2 teaspoons black peppercorns
- 1 family pack boneless pork loin chops 3 pounds total
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
For the Bourbon-Molasses Glaze:
- ⅓ cup molasses
- ½ cup brown sugar
- ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
- 1 rosemary sprig
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 cup bourbon
- In a large saucepan, combine orange juice, brown sugar, salt, garlic, thyme, bay leaves, and peppercorns. Heat to boiling and reduce to a simmer, then continue to cook for 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool to room temperature.
- Place the pork chops in a large bowl or gallon-size freezer bag with the brine. Refrigerate overnight.
- When ready to cook, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- Remove pork chops from the brine, and rinse well under cold water. Use paper towels to pat the pork chops dry.
- In a large (12 inch) skillet over medium-high heat, heat the olive oil. Cook the pork chops in batches for 4 to 6 minutes. Return all of the pork chops to the skillet.
- Place the skillet in the preheated oven and cook for another 4 to 6 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 140 degrees F. Allow the pork chops to rest for 5 minutes.
To make the glaze:
- Combine the molasses, apple cider vinegar, and rosemary in a small saucepan. Cook for about 15 minutes over medium heat. When the liquid has been reduced to about ⅔ cup, whisk in the butter and bourbon. Continue to cook for about 2 to 3 minutes until thickened.
- Serve pork chops drizzled with the Bourbon-Molasses Glaze.
🛑 Food safety
We sometimes take for a granted that we have years (or decades) of cooking experience, that the average visitor may not. Here are some health and safety tips to help you cook.
- Do not use the same utensils on cooked food, that previously touched raw meat
- Wash hands after touching raw meat
- Don’t leave food sitting out at room temperature for extended periods
- Never leave cooking food unattended
- Use oils with high smoking point to avoid harmful compounds
- Always have good ventilation when using a gas stove