feasting with friends

Michigan Monday: Ember’s Pork Chop

embers1Why 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

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print


4 Thick cut Pork Chops (¾ – 1 inch thick)

For Marinating:
1½ cups low sodium soy sauce
¾ cup water
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 Tablespoon molasses
½ teaspoon salt

For Saucing:
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.


The chops after the first bake time…top 2 dipped in sauce.


After final baking…all chops are sauced and ready to eat.



  1. Never made it to this restaurant – always kind of sad when they have to close especially when they have been around so long. Sounds delicious but I agree 1 pound would have to be shared with a friend or two. I remember when Win Schuler’s use to serve 1 pound prime rib and that was a lot of meat. Thanks for sharing…

  2. Hi Nancy, you’re back! I missed your blog posts! This pork chop recipe looks delicious. My son loves pork chops, but I don’t always have good ideas about how to prepare them, so I will definitely keep this in mind. I also love the Michigan map. 🙂 Glad to see your posts again! 🙂 Stay warm this weekend!

  3. These do look good, Nancy. i never went to Ember’s, at least not that I recall. I’m pretty sure I’d remember being served that pork chop. I do love my pork. 🙂
    I once saw a person from Wisconsin use his hand to represent his state. Amateur!

    • Hah…amateur for sure! I only made it to Ember’s once that I recall…my sister was a student at CMU. It’s unfortunate the doors are shuttered, but at least this taste of Ember’s remains. 😛

  4. Sue

    Hi Nancy, it made me so happy to see your posts in my reader this week. Missed you and hope you are well. btw, I’m not sure if you also updated your “About Me” page or if I just missed it before but it’s so sweet! Love your patio!!! xx sue. Now I will go check out this pork chop, and your soup and the budino.

    • Hi Sue!! You made me happy to see this message. 😀
      I have not updated my about me page in quite awhile…ironically, I just looked at it myself yesterday contemplating an update. My decision was, ehhh…good enough for now, lol. The patio you see is at a villa we rented in Tuscany with friends…with so many great memories (especially of the food) I HAD to use those photos. The time there was the ultimate feast with friends!

I'd love to have your input....

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: