Why it’s great to be from Michigan… Reason #1… Michiganders have a portable, always available map that they have attached to their arms!
And it’s so “handy” to share where this recipe hails from… Mt. Pleasant, Michigan!
Ember’s was a wonderful restaurant in Mt. Pleasant, Michigan, where chef Clarence Tuma prepared his famous One Pound Pork Chop. The restaurant closed in 2007 after being a mid-Michigan staple for over 50 years.
Fortunately, many of their “famous” recipes were graciously shared by Chef Tuma over the years. He won many awards for his “1 Pound Pork Chop”. It takes a full 24 hours to prepare. But don’t let that scare you…it’s simply marinating time.
This is a recipe I’ve had in my arsenal for at least 25 years. This is the first time I’ve made it in at least 10 years…I just kind of forgot about the stained piece of paper it was written upon!
The recipe you see below is somewhat altered from the original 1 Pound Ember’s Pork Chop.
First and foremost…I do not use 1 pound chops. It’s just too much meat for me. The chops I used for this go-around were thick cut and between 6 and 8 ounces each. Still a lot of meat, but not sacrificing the flavors.
Next… I always found the original recipe a bit too salty. Switching to low sodium soy sauce and decreasing added salt for the marinade remedied that problem.
Finally… using smaller chops means less marinade and sauce are needed AND less marinating time and cooking time are required.
Thankfully, the changes DO NOT change the taste of an Ember’s experience! They simply make the meal a little more home cook friendly and a tad bit less gluttonous. 😉
Ember's Pork Chops
4 Thick cut Pork Chops (¾ – 1 inch thick)
1½ cups low sodium soy sauce
¾ cup water
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 Tablespoon molasses
½ teaspoon salt
¼ cup water
10 ounces ketchup
9 ounces chili sauce (mild, sweet in flavor…I use Heinz)
¼ cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons dry mustard
In a small sauce pan, over medium high heat, combine the soy sauce, water, brown sugar, molasses and salt. Whisk well as sugar dissolves. Bring to a boil. Remove from heat and let cool completely.
Place pork chops in a large zip-top bag. Pour cooled marinade over chops and refrigerate a minimum of 8 hours or up to overnight. Turn bag 2-3 times to ensure all meat is marinated.
To Bake: About 30 minutes before baking (to take a bit of “the chill” out of the meat), remove the pork chops from the marinade and place in a large baking dish in a single layer.
Cover the baking pan tightly (this is key for optimum results) with aluminum foil. Heat oven to 375°F.
Bake for 75-90 minutes or until fork tender. Note: Do not peek until at least the 75 minute mark. Once the tight seal of foil is broken, it’s nearly impossible to achieve again.
While the pork chops are baking, prepare the sauce.
In a medium sauce pan, over medium heat, combine the water, brown sugar and dry mustard. Whisk well until the dry ingredients are diluted and no lumps remain. If the dry mustard clumps initially, it will dissolve easier once the liquid ingredients warm up…be patient. Add the ketchup and chili sauce. Heat through. Reduce heat to low and keep warm until needed.
Remove the pork chops from the oven (at the 75-90 minute mark). Reduce oven temperature to 350°F.
One by one (using tongs) dip the pork chops in the warm sauce coating them entirely. Return the chops to the baking pan. Bake for an additional 15-20 minutes. The sauce will appear more of a glaze…slightly shiny, sticky and a bit browned.
Note: The sauced pork chops can be grilled (instead of baking) for the final step. Reduce cook time to 10-15 minutes for optimum results.