I love smoking pork chops on pellet grill - you can't beat the flavor or the texture. I learned this great recipe from one of my aunts and have been tweaking it for as long as I can remember.
I finally have a version that I would like to share with all of you!
You don't have to brine your pork chops before you smoke them but I would suggest that you do. This is because chops tend to be a rather lean cut. As such, they are prone to drying out in your grill or smoker.
I know that a lot of people like wet brining their chops but personally I prefer a dry brine. For one thing, it is far less fussy, easy to do, and takes a lot less time to take.
For this method, simply take a pinch of kosher salt in between three fingers. Then, raise your hand several inches above the pork chops and sprinkle over the meat. Repeat until the entire cut is completely covered.
Then, place in the refrigerator and let the pork chops sit for 45 minutes or until the surface of the chops are dry to touch.
Take the pork chops out 20 minutes before smoking.
Preheat your pellet smoker grill to 225 degrees F.
Mix the ingredients of the dry rub together in a small bowl.
Pat dry pork chops. Sprinkle the dry rub onto each side of the pork chops. Press into the meat.
Place the seasoned chops on a pellet grill grate and close the lid.
Smoke pork chops until the internal temperature reaches 145 degrees F.
If you want to take carryover cooking into consideration you can take the pork chops out of the grill when the internal temp is at 140 degrees F.
This can take a little over an hour.
Take them out of the grill and place pork chops on a cutting board. The smoked pork chops rest for at least 5 minutes before serving.
There are two main criteria you need to focus on when choosing pork chops for this recipe.
The first is that you choose thick cut pork chops that are at least 1.5 inches in thickness. This will ensure that you end up with juicy and tender smoked pork chops.
As I mentioned, the pork chop can dry out if you aren't careful. If you do want to choose a thinner pork chop I would advise you to lower the smoking temperature. Also, keep a closer watch on these pork chops to ensure that they don't overcook.
The other thing that I would suggest is to use bone in pork chops instead of boneless pork ones. For one thing, these are less likely to dry out when you cook pork chops. The bone also adds flavor and helps you get the best smoked pork chops.
Always take your pork chops out of the refrigerator about 20 minutes before you smoke them. This allows the meat to get closer to room temperature. Not only do the pork chops cook faster, they cook more evenly too.
When I smoke pork chops I always prefer using a mild and simple rub. This is for two reasons - first, pork is rather delicately flavored. Use too many spices and you drown out that natural flavor profile.
The other thing is that I prefer to let the smoke flavor from the pellet grill to take center stage here.
I would also suggest making up your own version of rub instead of using a commercial store bought version.
For the best flavor, you need to find the wood pellets with the right flavor. Personally, I find something light and sweet works best with chops on a pellet grill.
Apple wood and cherry wood are my favorite here. If you don't mind something a little more robust and smokier, then hickory can be a great choice too. Just make sure to only use a handful of hickory and top up the rest with apple, cherry, or oak.
It doesn't matter what kind of pellet grill you use - Pit Boss or Traeger grill as long as you pay close attention to the temperature at which you are smoking your meat.
As pork chops are more delicate, I would suggest a lower temperature - 225 degrees F will do. You can go up to 250 degrees F, although pay close attention to the internal temperature in this case. It is best not to go any higher than this as the risk of overcooking your pork chops is high.
It doesn't matter what meat you are smoking or grilling, always keep an eye on the internal temp of the pork chops. If you want, you can keep a temperature probe in the thickest part of the pork chop from start to finish.
Otherwise, once an hour has passed, you can check the temperature to see how far along they are. Just avoid opening the lid too often as you can mess with the temperature inside the cooking chamber, resulting in a prolonged cook.
As mentioned, pork chops are cooked through at 145 degrees F, but I do like to remove the pork chops from the pellet grill a little earlier.
Through the process of carryover cooking, each pork chop will continue to cook for a little longer once it is taken off the heat. It can often go up by as much as 10 degrees. As such, I like to remove it ahead of time to prevent the chops from drying out.
It is important to rest the meat once it has been smoked. The great thing about chops is that they don't require too much time. About 5 minutes is often enough for the meat to reabsorb any juices that it has lost.
This is definitely a recipe that you are going to want to try out. It offers a juicy, tender cut complete with a sweet, spicy, and smoky finish. Once you have given it a shot, you aren't going to want to go back to your old methods!