Cooking Tips for Grilling Pork Chops

From Grill Time to Glazes

Grilled meat with boiled potatoes and vegetable salad

Pork chops are perfect for grilling and can be made with almost infinite flavors: honey mustard, barbecue, Cajun, Mexican, French, Italian, Asian and more. There are many easy pork chops recipes, but no matter how you're making them, these grilling tips will help you learn how to cook pork chops.

In any case, you can follow a few easy steps to make these great non-leathery pork chops every time.

  1. Choose pork chops, boneless or with bone, that are about one inch thick. If you can't find them in your market (look for packages that say "great for the grill" or similar), buy a pork loin or tenderloin and slice it into pieces one inch thick.
  2. Brine the pork. Soaking pork in this mixture helps keep it juicy and moist on the grill. These days pork has been bred to be so lean that this step is almost always necessary to ensure perfect results when grilling pork chops. For two pounds:
      • For Asian, try minced ginger, garlic and crushed hot pepper flakes.
      • For Italian, garlic, basil, thyme and rosemary work.
      • If you plan to finish with barbecue sauce, add paprika, a few drops of liquid smoke (hickory or mesquite), onions and celery.
      • Orange juice, jalapeno peppers, allspice and cilantro add a Caribbean note.
      • Standard marinade mixes can be included as well.

  • Combine one-half cup each of Kosher salt and brown sugar in two cups of hot water.
  • Stir well to dissolve the salt and sugar.
  • Let cool.
  • Add two quarts of cold water and stir.
  • Add seasonings of your choice. Depending on what flavor your finished chops will be, onions, garlic, shallots, celery (use the leaves too), fresh or dried herbs, spices, pre-blended seasoning mixes, mustard and fruit juices are all appropriate.
  • Refrigerate up to 24 hours; gallon sized plastic bags work well for this. Turn them over every few hours.
  • Drain well and proceed with the steps below.

  • Preheat the grill to medium.
  • Grill time for pork chops can be tricky. Grill the chops, turning every few minutes and rotating as needed for cool or hot spots on your grill. Cook to an internal temperature of 140F (60C) and let rest on a foil-covered platter for five minutes before serving. Be careful not to overcook. Many people are still afraid of parasites with under-cooked pork, but they are virtually gone thanks to care and breeding and pork is now so lean it is far more likely to overcook than anything else.
  • If you want to add a grilling glaze or other sweet sauce, add it about five minutes before the chops are done. Take these cooking tips into consideration when making a glaze: These sugary sauces can burn quickly, so watch them carefully.

    • Grilling glaze recipe: For something different, combine three tablespoons of apricot or peach jam (low sugar or sugar-free is fine) with one and a half tablespoons Dijon mustard, one finely sliced green onion and black pepper to taste. Brush the sauce on the pork for the last five minutes of cooking time. If you use this glaze, brine it as above with onion, celery and apricot or peach juice in the brine.


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    Another good choice is to buy pre-cooked pork chops, with bone and smoked, sprinkle with real lemon juice and throw on the grill. Grill each side about five minutes each, and then enjoy. A Cesar Salad goes great with lemon-flavored pork chops.

    By Marion Cornett