Grilled Pork Chops with Tangy Prune and Five Spice Tomato Sauce

Recipe by: Chef Paul Lillakas
The beauty of ketchup is in it’s perfect balance of sweetness, saltiness and acidity. In keeping with that philosophy, adding sweet and sticky California Prunes to nicely reduced tomatoes and balancing with Chinese fivespice results in a tangy sauce that is very much a ketch-upgrade! Drizzled over perfectly grilled pork chops, this condiment is a surprising riff on the world’s most popular condiment.

Servings: 4 servings
Prep Time:
Cook Time:


  • 1-1/2 cups passata (strained tomatoes)
  • 1 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 6 California Prunes
  • 1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp grated ginger (1/2 tsp powdered)
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1-1/2 tsp Chinese five spice powder
  • 4 1-¼ inch thick bone-in pork rib chops (see tip)
  • 1 tbsp canola oil
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • Freshly cracked black pepper
  • 4 green onions


  1. In blender, combine passata, tomato paste, California Prunes, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, garlic, ginger and salt. Blend until smooth.
  2. In skillet, over medium heat, toast five spice until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Scrape contents from blender into pan. Cook, stirring frequently, until thickened, about 8-10 minutes. Remove from heat and keep warm. Thin with 1 tbsp of water at a time, if needed.
  3. Drizzle pork chops with canola oil; sprinkle with sea salt and pepper. Rub to coat. Transfer to preheated grill over high heat. Cook, flipping as needed until meat thermometer inserted into thickest part of meat reads 145°F (63°C), about 13-15 minutes. Place green onions on grill for final 4-5 minutes until charred and slightly wilted. Transfer to skillet with sauce and let rest for 10 minutes before serving.

Tip: Brining pork before grilling results in succulent, juicy pork that is seasoned throughout. In a large bowl, combine 2 cups hot tap water with ¼ cup sea salt and ¼ cup granulated sugar. Stir to dissolve. Add 2 cups ice cold water; stir. Submerge pork chops in liquid, cover and refrigerate for 8 hours or overnight. Pat completely dry and let stand at room temperature for 1 hour before cooking.

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