01 of 08
How to Cook the Perfect Pork Chop
Pork chops get a bad rap, largely because they are not cooked properly. Perfect for the grill, either gas or charcoal, this method will take 2 1/2 hours start to finish, but 2 hours of that time is in the brining. The actual work time is about 30 minutes.
What you will need:
- Pork chops*
- A grill (charcoal or gas)
- Fuel for the grill
- A reliable meat thermometer
- A basting brush
- A pork chop rub (see step 3)
- A pork chop glaze (see step 6)
- Aluminum foil
*Rib chops are a great option since these... are the pork equivalent of the beef rib steak. The combination of lean and fat with a good section of bone make this the best pork chop. However, any pork chop, cut 1-inch thick, will work perfectly for this method.
Trim the pork chops of any large pieces of fat to reduce flare-ups during the cooking pattern. Do not remove all the fat, just the large sections.
Make sure to read through this method entirely before starting. While the pork chops are brining, put together the spice rub and glaze so that these will be on hand when needed.Continue to 2 of 8 below.
02 of 08
The Perfect Pork Chop - Brining
Brining isn't an option for the perfect pork chop. It is what is going to make all the difference between a dry and flavorless chop and the best pork chop you have ever eaten. A brine, simply put, is a salt water solution that penetrates meat adding extra water.
What you need for the brine:
- 4 cups (950 mL) cold water
- 1/4 cup (60 mL) unionized table salt
- 1/4 cup (60 mL) sugar
- A large, non-reactive container
Depending on the container, you may need more brine. The general rule is 1 tablespoon (15... mL) of salt and sugar per 1 cup (240 mL) water. The sugar offsets the salt flavor, preventing the pork from tasting too salty.
Combine the brine ingredients in a large container and stir until mixed. Add pork chops and cover. Refrigerate for 2 hours.
To add extra flavors you can add any herbs or spices to the brine. This will lightly enhance the flavor, but won't overpower the natural flavor of the pork.
Once the two hours are up, remove the pork chops from the brine and rinse thoroughly to remove any extra salt from the surface. Pat dry with paper towels.
Because we have brined these pork chops, they will be well salted and no additional salt should be added.Continue to 3 of 8 below.
03 of 08
The Perfect Pork Chop - Seasoning
Right now is the time to start preheating the grill. If using a charcoal grill, get the charcoal lit. If using gas, light up at least two burners on high and allow to preheat for 10 minutes.
Our brine, now thoroughly rinsed off, has enhanced the pork chops and lightly, very lightly, flavored them. Now it is time to add the first real layer of flavor. This comes in the form of a spice rub. We want the pork to be the star of this method, but we also want to add some additional flavors. Since the... brine has already added our salt on a nearly molecular level, we don't need more salt. These flavors can be whatever you like best, but it's great to start with black pepper. We want this rub to be a fine grind of seasoning because large chunks of herbs will simply fall off while grilling.
- 1 tablespoon paprika
- 2 teaspoons black pepper
- 2 teaspoons onion powder
- 2 teaspoons dried marjoram
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon dried mustard (optional)
- 1 teaspoon mild chili powder (optional)
Combine all ingredients, mix completely, and apply even over the pork chops.Continue to 4 of 8 below.
04 of 08
The Perfect Pork Chop - On the Grill
Now it is time for these perfect pork chops to hit the grill. We want our grill as hot as possible. This is going to be a quick process so it is important to stay close and pay attention.
It is a good idea to have a portion of the grill that is not lit so that you can move the pork chops away from the fire if necessary while still keeping them on the grill.
With the grill hot and the cooking grates clean, place the chops on the grill, evenly spaced directly over the heat. Close the lid. After... about 1 to 2 minutes open the lid and rotate the chops 45 degrees. This gives them that crosshatch grill mark pattern. The chops should be browned, but not burned. If there is a flare-up in the grill, move to an unused part of the grill when rotating.Continue to 5 of 8 below.
05 of 08
The Perfect Pork Chop - Turning
After another minute or two, open the lid and check the chops. They should be well browned, with good grill marks on the cooked side. They should be gray along the sides of the meat and still raw on the top. At this point, flip the chops over and repeat the process from the last step, rotating 45 degrees after a minute or two. Once the entire surface of the chops are cooked it will be time to start applying the glaze.Continue to 6 of 8 below.
06 of 08
The Perfect Pork Chop - Glazing
Glazing the perfect pork chop adds a sweet flavor to the surface, creates a light crust, and helps to keep the chops from dying out as the reach the final temperature. The glaze shouldn't be anything too complicated, but ideally include a sweet element because it enhances the final flavor.
This step requires constant attention. Sugars burn quickly and to avoid burning the chops it is important to glaze quickly, turning the pork chops as needed so that the glaze can cook on the meat without it... burning.
This glaze can be most anything, but you could try:
- 1 cup (240 mL) apple jelly
- 1/4 cup (60 mL) dry white wine
- 2 tablespoons (30 mL) Dijon mustard
Combine all ingredients in a saucepan and heat while stirring. The baste should be completely blended before using.Continue to 7 of 8 below.
07 of 08
The Perfect Pork Chop - Temperature Check
A reliable meat thermometer is a necessity when grilling. Once our chops are glazed, they should be very close to being cooked. Pork is cooked at an internal temperature of 145 degrees F/65 degrees C. Since they will continue cooking for a few minutes after being removed from the grill we need to hit a minimum temperature of 140 degrees F/60 degrees C, while they are still on the grill, over heat. Of course, you can take these pork chops to a higher temperature, but anything over 165 degrees... F/75 degrees C will be dry and overcooked. The perfect pork chop should be cooked closer to the 145 degrees F/65 degrees C temperature.
To test a pork chop for temperature, pick it up with a pair of tongs and insert the temperature probe into the side of the chop until it reaches the middle. Testing from the top of the chop will not get an accurate reading. Test all the pork chops before removing from the grill. Some may cook faster than others. Cooked chops should be moved to the unheated part of the grill before removing them.Continue to 8 of 8 below.
08 of 08
The Perfect Pork Chop
With the pork chops removed from the grill, quickly cover them, loosely, with aluminum foil and place in a warm place. The pork chops should rest for about 5 minutes. This allows the meat to loosen and the juices to flow back into the meat evenly. This also allows the middle of the chops to finish cooking.
After five minutes and not much more, the pork chops should be served. Enjoy, and make note of your cooking times for future reference. There is a lot of variability in grills and cook times... can be very different on different types of grills.