Dinner Tonight: Pork Chops with 'Magic Dust' Recipe

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Dinner Tonight: Pork Chops with 'Magic Dust' Recipe

[Photograph: Blake Royer]

If you're done much research in the realm of barbecue, you may have come across a spice mixture, credited to the great barbecue pitmaster Mike Mills, known as "magic dust." It is a marvelous, intoxicating mix of spices that can be used as a dry rub not only on a rack of ribs for smoking, but just about any cut of meat (or even sprinkled over vegetables), making it a handy mix to have around at all times. I always make up a big batch and use it regularly, which is how I found myself with a gorgeous, marbled, thick-cut pork chop and the inspiration for an easy way to dress it up.

The main flavors in Magic Dust are cumin and mustard powder, which give it the pungency and unique spiciness it's famous for (the cayenne, chili powder, and black pepper help, too). A little sugar ensures extra caramelization, and paprika brings the deep red color. If you have time, rub this on the pork chops in the morning to really infuse the flavor; but if you're rushed (like I was) you'll still be amazed at the depth of flavor this provides. It's famous for a reason.

  • Yield:serves 4
  • Active time: 10 minutes
  • Total time:20 minutes


  • For the magic dust (makes 2 cups):
  • 1/2 cup paprika
  • 1/4 cup kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons mustard powder
  • 1/4 cup chile powder
  • 1/4 cup ground cumin
  • 2 tablespoons ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup granulated garlic
  • 2 tablespoons cayenne (or less to taste)
  • For the pork chops
  • 4 thick-cut pork rib chops
  • 1/2 cup magic dust (recipe above)
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil


  1. 1.

    Combine the spices for magic dust in a sealable container and shake to combine and distribute. Rub 1/2 cup of the magic dust into all sides of the pork chops, and set aside.

  2. 2.

    Prepare a grill to medium heat, or heat a ridged grill pan over medium heat. Using a paper towel and tongs, spread the canola oil over the grill grates or grill pan to prevent sticking.

  3. 3.

    Grill the pork chops until well-caramelized on all sides and done to your liking, 3-5 minutes per side for medium, depending on thickness. Allow to rest for 3-5 minutes before serving.