The best way to get a juicy tasty smoked pork chop is to brine the pork a day earlier and give it a generous sprinkling of dry rub before tossing it into your pellet grill. This way the tender meat gets to soak up some seriously delicious flavors before smoking.
For the past six years, I have been making these pork chops every weekend for my family and they absolutely love them.
In this article, I will tell you in detail how you can make the same tasty smoked pork chops to perfection every time. Let’s get to it…
Best Smoked Pork Chops Recipe
For this recipe, you will need a brine and a dry rub. Brine your chops overnight to soak the meat all the way through in flavor. The dry rub is to be applied a half hour before you place the meat on your grill for smoking. This will give your chops some extra tasty goodness and a crispy delicious bark.
- 4 thick-cut bone-in or boneless pork chops
- 4 cups water
- 1/2 cup kosher salt
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1 tbsp. black peppercorns
- 1 tbsp. fennel seeds
- 1 tbsp. crushed cloves
- 4 cloves minced garlic
- In a pan boil the water and reduce the heat to let it simmer.
- Add the salt and brown sugar and mix thoroughly.
- Turn off the heat and add the black pepper, fennel seeds, cloves, garlic, and mix.
- Let the mixture cool.
- Place your pork chops in a Ziploc bag and pour in the brine.
- Massage the bag to evenly coat all the chops and place the meat in the fridge for a minimum of 8 hours.
- I recommend letting the meat marinate for at least 24 hours for even better flavor and texture. Brining also adds moisture. This way you do not end up with dry pork chops.
Pork Chop Dry Rub Recipe
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- 1 tsp. smoked paprika
- 1 tsp. cayenne pepper
- 1 tsp. kosher salt
- 2 tsp. dry mustard
- 2 tbsp. brown sugar
- 1 tbsp. garlic powder
- 1 tbsp. onion powder
- olive oil
- To season pork chops, pour all the dry ingredients into a small mixing bowl and mix them up evenly through.
- You can tweak this homemade rub to your preferred taste. I like my rub spicy and fairly hot so if you prefer a sweeter version, you can increase the brown sugar. If savory is the flavor for you, then double the garlic and onion powder. You are free to experiment with your smoked pork chop recipe as you go.
- Alternatively, you can buy pork seasoning which is just as good. I sometimes use the Traeger Pork & Poultry Rub for the honey and apple hints and it is as good as advertised.
- Remove the brined pork chops from the fridge and place them on a flat tray or dish.
- Pat each pork chop dry using paper towels and ensure you get as much of the brine as you can.
- Drizzle some olive oil on the pork chops and use a brush to dab the oil all over the surface of the chops evenly. You can use canola oil, avocado oil, or vegetable oil.
- To make a perfect pork chop, season the meat with this rub liberally on every surface.
- Let the pork chops sit out for about thirty minutes.
Smoking Pork Chops on Your Pellet Grill
- Halfway through the 30 minutes, it should be time to fire up your wood pellet grill. I find that my Traeger grill makes absolutely divine pork chops so I am partial to a Traeger grill. I strongly recommend checking out the Traeger Grills Pro Series 575.
- Pour fresh pellets into your pellet smoker and light the grill. For the best smoky flavor, I recommend Traeger Grills Signature Blend.
- Set the temperature to 225 degrees Fahrenheit and cover the grill. This should take about 15 minutes.
- Place a meat thermometer into the thickest part of your pork chops. If you are cooking bone-in pork chops do not let the thermometer touch the bone. This will throw off the readings giving you inaccurate temp readings.
- Once the grill is hot enough, coat the grill grates with a layer of olive oil again using the brush and place pork chops on the grill. Make sure they do not touch one another.
- Cover the grill and set the timer for 90 minutes or until the internal temperature of the meat reaches 145 degrees Fahrenheit.
- You can flip them over at the 45-minute mark but this may be unnecessary since the heat distribution in a pellet grill is even enough to cook the pork chops through from all sides.
- At 90 minutes, the internal temperature should have reached 145 degrees which is the recommended safe temperature for pork consumption.
- Remove your pork chops from the grill and increase the heat to a searing 500 degrees Fahrenheit to create those pleasing grill marks we all love.
- Once your grill is up to temp, place the pork chops back on the grill and sear on each side for approximately 3-4 minutes on each side.
- Keep in mind that the pork chops are already cooked so do not keep them longer or they will start to lose moisture making them dry out.
- Remove from the grill and let the pork chops rest for three minutes.
- Carve and serve.
Should I Use Bone-in Or Boneless Pork Chops?
Either is fine.
For this recipe, I prefer bone-in pork chops for two reasons; their superior flavor and presentational value. The bone and marrow contribute additional flavor to the meat as it cooks and the attached bone is a great aesthetic to boot.
That said, boneless chops are straightforward enough to carve into when eating which is a valid reason to go for boneless chops instead.
Whether you go for boneless or bone-in pork chops, this recipe should deliver tasty results.
What Should I Serve With Easy Smoked Pork Chops?
The options are really up to you. Smoked pork chops are a highly versatile dish that can be served with many dishes. A few choice dishes I have come to love are:
- Classic mac and cheese
- Corn on the cob
- Mashed butternut squash
- Mashed potatoes
- Pasta and vegetable salad
- Potato salad
- Roasted potatoes
- Garlic-smoked sweet potatoes
How Long Do Smoked Pork Chops Last in the Fridge?
Assuming you got a bit excited and made quite the banquet, you will have some leftover smoked pork chops. Refrigerating the leftovers properly is key to avoiding the growth of harmful bacteria in your food and avoiding unnecessary wastage.
How you store smoked pork chops depends on how soon you intend to consume them. This can be in the fridge or in the freezer.
In the Fridge
Cooked pork chops can be stored in the fridge for 3 – 4 days after which it would be unsafe to consume. Simply put your chops in an airtight container or a Ziploc bag and place them in the fridge.
When you want to have yourself some delicious pork chops, you can nuke them in a microwave-safe bowl and dig in. They should be just as scrumptious.
In the Freezer
If you have no intention of consuming leftovers within four days, freeze them. Smoked pork chops will stay good in the freezer indefinitely but the ideal amount of time should be 4 – 6 months.
Frozen food may remain safe to consume longer than this but the cold temperatures and ice molecules continually affect and change the microstructure of the meat over time causing the texture of the meat to change irreversibly. The quality will therefore deteriorate.
Store each pork chop in individual wrapping to avoid thawing a whole batch only to refreeze what you can’t eat.
Use smaller freezer bags that can hold one or two pork chops at most. Vacuum seal the bags to avoid freezer burn from forming on your food. If you don’t have one you can expel as much air as you can manually.
That said, please consider getting yourself a vacuum sealer. It is one of the best investments a meat lover can have. I have been using the Nesco Deluxe Food Vacuum Sealer and I highly recommend that you check it out.
What Should The Internal Temperature of Smoked Pork Chops Be?
The optimal internal temperature of well-cooked pork chops should be 145 degrees Fahrenheit. This goes for grilled pork chops as well. At this temperature, pork is safe for consumption.
Some recipes have cited 130 degrees Fahrenheit but I find that it is always better to work with USDA-provided guidelines to err on the side of caution.
1. What is the Best Temperature to Cook Pork Chops on a Pellet Grill?
That depends on the cooking method since smoked and grilled pork chops, for instance, require different temperatures to cook.
The ideal temperature to smoke pork chops is 225 degrees Fahrenheit. At this temperature, you can slow cook the meat for 1 1/2 – 2 hrs which gives the meat ample time to acquire a deep smoke flavor.
A higher temperature will cook the tender meat too fast leaving your pork chops dry. Moreover, the smoke flavor will not penetrate the meat adequately.
Grilling chops on the other hand requires a high heat of 375 – 400 degrees Fahrenheit and a fast cooking time of approximately 7 minutes.
Finish off with an additional 8 minutes of searing, 4 minutes on each side at 500 degrees Fahrenheit.
Remember, the exact time will depend on the thickness of the pork chops you are cooking. Thick pork chops will take longer to cook through compared to thinner chops. Rely on your thermometer readings for accuracy.
The tenderness of the cut will also determine the length of time it will take to cook the pork. Pork loin, for instance, should take a shorter time to cook to readiness compared to pork shoulder.
2. How Long Does It Take to Smoke Pork Chops in an Electric Smoker?
Most electric smokers have a temperature range of 100 – 275 degrees Fahrenheit. At this temperature, the approximate smoke time for chops is an hour.
Of course, some electric models such as the Pit Boss 3 Series Digital Vertical Electric Smoker can go up to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. At this temperature, pork chops will take approximately 30 minutes.
Thick-cut pork chops may take longer than this so the best way to determine the doneness of your pork chops is to use a meat thermometer and pull the chops once the internal temp gets to 145 degrees Fahrenheit.
As I Pen Off…
Well, there you have it! A perfect juicy tasty pork chop needs only an overnight brining and a dry rub seasoning.
Smoke your seasoned pork chops on a pellet grill at 225 degrees Fahrenheit for 90 minutes and finish off with a nice sear to get those beautifully appetizing grill marks. Bon appetit.