Grilled Pork Chops
When it’s time for seasonal grilling, pork chops are an underappreciated, highly versatile selection. Many people don’t know how juicy, flavorful, and delicious grilled pork chops can be, so you’re sure to delight the guests at your BBQ when you serve them the perfect mouth-watering pork chops straight off the BBQ grill. To learn everything you need to know to start cooking better pork chops today, read on!
Grilling Delicious & Flavorful Pork Chops
When picking meats for your BBQ, it can be easy to overlook pork chops. Many of us have experienced dried out and unappetizing pork chops, so expectations are often not high. However, there’s a lot to love about pork chops when they’re selected, cooked, and served correctly. They’re more versatile than chicken, less expensive than a high-end steak, and relatively quick and easy to prepare if you take the right steps. If you’re an aspiring amateur chef, grilling pork chops is a great way to build your skills. So dig in!
Before you get started, it’s important to recognize the two key factors in excellent grilling: time and temperature. Getting your meat to exactly the right temperature is the best and most important step to take to ensure a safe and delightful grilling experience with an appetizing and delicious end product. Temperature is what makes the real difference between delicious pork chops and those that are subpar. And the easiest way to know the temperature of your pork chops is with a precise and accurate digital thermometer.
Grilling Great Pork Chops: How to Chose the Right Cut
The process of BBQ-ing pork chops begins with selecting the ideal cuts of meat for your needs. This can require more well-informed decision-making upfront.
Compared to steaks or chicken, you have more options when it comes to pork chops, because they can be cut from different areas of the loin. Your options may include:
- Blade end cuts, from the front of the loin near the shoulder, tend to lead to more fatty pork chops than other common options.
- Rib chops, which tend to be leaner, have large and smooth sections of meat.
- Bone-in center cut chops include loin and tenderloin and, like other bone-in meats, may take longer to cook to perfection.
- Sirloin is from the back end and includes more muscles than other selections.
If you’re an amateur chef just starting out, try experimenting first with rib cut chops. That’s because they tend to produce pork chops that are more tender and less chewy than others.
The thickness of your chops will affect how long they cook, as well as the final product. Thicker pork chops tend to cook more quickly than thinner ones so it’s best to start with thicker cuts, usually about one inch in thickness.
How to Brine your Pork Chops
It’s usually a good idea to submerge your pork chops in brine before they get near your BBQ grill. Brining your pork chops accomplishes two useful things. It helps season them evenly, and it brings some extra moisture into the game. This way, even if you cook your pork chops for a bit longer than the ideal length of time, you will run less risk of overcooking them, which is what causes some pork chops to be chewy and unpleasant in taste and texture.
Creating a great brine for your pork chops is an endeavor unto itself, but it doesn’t need to take too much time. To get started, all you need is some salt whisked in cold water. You can add some sugar if you like. With some experience and experimentation, you may find that you prefer your brine to include pepper and other flavorful ingredients to add some surprise and delight to your pork chops. It’s all part of the process.
You should bring your pork chops for 30-120 minutes, which you can do while your grill is heating up to the right temperature for cooking your pork chops.
Season Your Pork Chops: Preparing Your Pork Chops for the Grill
After you’ve finished bringing your chops, dab with a dry paper towel and add your seasoning of choice to both sides. Pepper works well, or you can experiment with other spices. At this step of the process, you shouldn’t need to add any more salt – you took care of that in the brining step of the process, and you’ll want to avoid over-salting.
The Perfect Pork Chop: Time & Temperature
Now! Here’s where things get interesting. To reiterate, the difference between a dried-out and chewy pork chop comes down to time and temperature.
As with steaks, you want to create two “zones” of heat on your grill, high (for searing) and medium (to finish). Searing your pork chops will usually take about three minutes per side, while finishing them up should take four to eight minutes depending on how thick your pork chops are and how well done you want them to be.
Do not judge the doneness of your pork chops by sight! You run the risk of serving undercooked pork chops, which is a health hazard, or serving too-well-done pork chops, a tough and chewy experience no one enjoys.
Using your meat thermometer get your Pork Chops to the ideal temperature to which to cook your pork chops is 145 degrees Fahrenheit. When your pork chops reach 145 degrees Fahrenheit in temperature, you should remove them from the grill and let them “rest” for about five minutes.
Then, add your favorite barbecue sauce – or, if you’re feeling adventurous, try other sweet and tangy sauces on the side – and you’re ready to serve delicious, tender pork chops to your guests
The Perfect Pork Chop Recipe
- 4 pork chop cuts
- 6 cups cold water
- About 1 ¾ ounces of salt
- 1 teaspoon of pepper or other spice
- 3 tablespoons of granulated sugar
- Optional brine flavors of your choice
- Prepare your brine, mixing your water, salt, granulated sugar, and other flavorings in a bowl and whisking until it’s all thoroughly combined and dissolved.
- Brine your pork chops for 30-120 minutes.
- Heat your grill to a temperature of 450 degrees Fahrenheit, creating separate “zones” of high and medium heat using burner temperatures or by piling your charcoal on one side, depending on what sort of BBQ grill you’re using.
- Dry and season your pork chops as described above.
- Sear your chops over high heat, which should take approximately 3 minutes per side.
- Finish cooking your pork chops over medium heat, which should take 4-7 minutes per side.
- Remove your chops when they hit 145 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Let your pork chops “rest” for five minutes, and serve to your delighted guests.
You’ll be surprised at what you can do with pork chops – and how much you’ll love them – provided you cook them to exactly the right temperature. The only way to do this with certainty is to use the best digital meat thermometer, which will take the guesswork out of the process and provide a safer and more delicious grilled pork chop BBQ grilling experience for you and your guests. Make sure you have a good digital thermometer ready before you get started. Have fun, and bon appetit!
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