Cast-Iron Pork Chops with Cacao-Spiced Rub

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cast iron pork chop with cacao spiced rub recipe
Eric Wolfinger/The Mexican Keto Cookbook

It’s not often that we cook a big cut of meat at home—it’s kind of intimidating, no? But Torie Borrelli’s new The Mexican Keto Cookbook includes a cast-iron pork chop with cacao-spiced rub that’s too good to resist…not to mention a breeze to make.

“The trick to these chops is that they are salted 45 minutes before cooking and they are at room temperature before throwing them on a hot, sizzling cast-iron skillet,” Borrelli writes. “Small tricks can really change texture. It’s the difference between having a tough piece of meat versus one that melts in your mouth with smooth but crispy fat near the bone.”

Meanwhile, the spicy rub is easy to whip up and you’ll definitely have some left over that you can save for whatever protein you make next. (It’s versatile like that.)

Serve this with a simple green salad and admire your work. Oh, and did we mention it’s keto-friendly? We’ll let that sink in.

Reprinted from The Mexican Keto Cookbook. Copyright © 2019 by Torie Borrelli. Photographs copyright © 2019 by Eric Wolfinger. Published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC.


Cacao Spiced Rub

2 tablespoons cumin seeds, toasted and ground, or 2 tablespoons ground cumin

2 tablespoons chili powder

1 tablespoon paprika

2 teaspoons dried epazote or oregano

2 teaspoons cacao powder (no sugar)

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Pork Chops

Two 2-inch-thick bone-in pork chops (about 1¼ pounds)

Coarse sea salt (about 2 tablespoons or as needed)

1 tablespoon avocado oil

2 tablespoons unsalted butter (preferably grass-fed)


1. Make the Rub: Combine the ground cumin seeds, chili powder, paprika, epazote and cacao. Add the cinnamon and cracked pepper, and stir until the mixture is well combined. Set aside.

2. Preheat the oven to 450°F. Remove the pork chops from the fridge and set on a plate. Liberally salt the meat on each side and into the fat bits. Rub the spice mixture all over the meat. Allow to rest at room temperature for 45 minutes.

3. Cook the Pork Chops: In a large cast-iron or other ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat, heat the oil until it is shimmering. Place the seasoned chops in the skillet and brown for about 2 minutes on each side.

4. Transfer the skillet to the oven and roast the chops until just cooked through, 10 to 12 minutes.

5. Remove the skillet from the oven and carefully drain any excess oil into a bowl to be discarded once cooled. With the pork chops still in the skillet, evenly add the butter on top of the meat. It should melt from the heat of the pan and the chops. Baste the chops with the melted butter and pan juices, then leave the pork to rest for at least 10 minutes, flipping once. (This helps to distribute the juices evenly.) Cut the pork from the bones, slice and sprinkle with sea salt.

Nutrition Facts
  • 306 calories

  • 21g fat

  • 7g carbs

  • 24g protein

  • 1g sugars

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Note: The information shown is Edamam's estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist's advice.

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