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How to Grill Pork Chops – 6 Secrets to Success

Updated on August 3, 2017

Perfectly grilled pork chops are sublime – but too often what we sit down to at the dinner table is a little too chewy and a little too dry.

Well, here are 6 tips that you can use to make better, tastier and juicier BBQ grilled pork chops every time.

  1. Pick pork chops with marbling, if possible. The more fat you see running through the meat (The little flecks of fat within the meat, not the big chunks on the side) the more forgiving the chop will be on the grill and the juicier and tastier the end result. Although most pork chops are cut from the loin, I love pork blade steaks for their white and dark meat, great flavor and substantial fat content!
  2. Brine your chops – Letting pork chops sit in a little salty brine for an hour or so before grilling is about the single best way to combat dry and leathery meat. Brined pork chops will be juicier and wells seasoned throughout. Do not brine pork that has been pre-brined at the supermarket!
  3. Let the meat come to room temperature before grilling. One reason that pork chops get dry and tough is that they’re thrown on the grill straight from the fridge. When the meat is cold it takes longer to cook through – and the longer it takes to cook, the longer the exterior is sitting exposed to the fierce heat of the flames. What happens is the exterior gets overcooked and tough before the interior has a chance to come to temperature.
  4. Turn the meat frequently, every minute or so, while grilling. Although BBQ lore would suggest that a single flip is the way to go, flipping every minute or so keeps the heat on both sides and increases the speed of the cooking while decreasing the length of time that either exterior is exposed to the high heat – which again, reduces the odds of overcooking it.
  5. Buy an instant read thermometer and use it. Take pork chops off the grill at 140f. Chops that are thicker than about ¾ inch will continue to get hotter even off the grill, and will end up at about 150 inside by the time you reach the table. 150 gives you pork that is just very slightly pinkish inside. If you like things a little more well-done (but a little less juicy…there is a trade-off) then take off the heat at 150, which will bring you to the conservative USDA recommended 160 by eating time.
  6. Let the pork chops rest for a few minutes before eating. Right off the grill, the exterior of a pork chop is considerably hotter than the interior, and so much of the liquid in the chop is right near the surface where it is hottest. If you cut into a pork chop right off the grill, this water will spill out of the meat and onto you plate, leaving you with a dry and tasteless piece of meat. If you wait for 5 or 10 minutes with the pork chops loosely covered in foil, then the heat equalizes between the exterior and the interior and the juices are reabsorbed throughout the chop. Now, when you cut into the meat, the juices won’t run out and you get a tasty and juicy pork chop.

Happy BBQ’n!


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    • John D Lee profile image

      John D Lee 7 years ago

      4foodsafety, thanks for the comments - yes marbling is important, although with today's commercial pork being so lean, it can be hard to find in a loin chop these days. If you can ever find an artisan pork producer, who lets the pigs get a little bigger and a little fatter before market, you'll really see the difference (and it's kind of nice to think of happy pigs rooting around in the fields.

      CassidyS and Riviera Rose, thanks for the comments, and yes brining makes a huge difference!

    • Riviera Rose profile image

      Riviera Rose 7 years ago from South of France

      I'd just recently heard about soaking pork chops in water before cooking them, so I'll definitely try 'brining' them. (Is that a verb?!) Also letting the meat stand a few minutes after cooking is a good idea. Thanks for a great hub.

    • CassidyS profile image

      CassidyS 7 years ago from OK

      I love your recipes and tips!

    • 4FoodSafety profile image

      Kelly Kline Burnett 7 years ago from Fontana, WI

      I heard about red meat for marbling - never knew applied to pork chops too!

      And I knew to wait and let the meat rest but never knew why.

      Excellent Hub!