BBQ Pork Chops: How to Grill Them to Perfection

This how-to guide provides a step-by-step process for perfectly barbecued pork chops, ensuring a juicy, flavorful meal every time.

Key takeaways:

  • Choose bone-in chops at least 1-inch thick.
  • Craft a well-balanced homemade BBQ rub.
  • Use a two-zone setup on the grill.
  • Cook pork chops to an internal temperature of 145°F.
  • Serve with coleslaw, cornbread, grilled vegetables, potato salad, and baked beans.

Selecting the Best Cut of Pork Chop

selecting the best cut of pork chop

Choose bone-in chops for a flavor boost thanks to the bone marrow that enriches the meat during cooking. Thickness matters; opt for at least 1-inch thick chops to ensure a juicy result post-BBQ without drying out.

Pay attention to marbling – those little streaks of fat within the muscle – for a naturally succulent and tender bite. Prioritize chops from the rib or loin section, as these provide a balanced combination of fat and lean meat, ideal for BBQ’s high heat.

For those inclined towards sustainable eating, seek out heritage breeds from local producers, which often offer superior taste and quality.

Homemade BBQ Rub

Crafting your own BBQ rub allows for a personalized touch, enabling the control of flavors and spice levels suited to your preference. A well-balanced rub typically includes a combination of sweet, salty, smoky, and spicy elements.

Begin with a base of brown sugar for caramelization and sweetness, balanced by kosher salt for depth. Smoked paprika and ground black pepper provide a warm, smoky kick, while garlic and onion powder contribute savory notes.

For depth and complexity, consider adding dry mustard for tanginess and ground cumin for an earthy hint. To customize further, chipotle powder introduces a smoky heat, while a pinch of cayenne offers a sharper spice.

Mix these ingredients in a bowl, ensuring any clumps are broken up for even distribution. Store the blend in an airtight jar to maintain freshness; it can be used immediately or kept for several months. Remember, the rub should be generously applied to all sides of the chops and allowed to permeate the meat for at least 30 minutes before grilling to maximize flavor infusion.

Grilling Temperature and Setup

For exceptional BBQ pork chops, maintaining the proper grilling temperature is crucial. Aim for a two-zone setup on your grill: one side set to high heat for searing and another at medium to allow the chops to cook through without burning.

Start by searing over high heat for two minutes per side to create a flavorful crust. Then, transfer to the cooler section of the grill, covering the chops to cook evenly. This indirect heat method circumvents flare-ups and ensures the meat remains tender while absorbing smoky flavors.

Using a grill thermometer to keep the ambient temperature around 350°F on the indirect side will yield consistently delicious results. Regularly monitor and adjust the grill’s heat as needed, and remember, patience is the key to perfection.

Internal Temperature for Safe and Juicy Pork Chops

Attaining the perfect internal temperature is the linchpin of mastering BBQ pork chops. The USDA recommends pork reach an internal temperature of 145°F, followed by a three-minute rest. This ensures a safe-to-eat chop that’s still moist and tender.

Utilize a reliable meat thermometer to check the temperature at the thickest part of the chop, steering clear of bone for an accurate reading.

While some enthusiasts may aim for slightly lower temperatures, caution and food safety protocols should always be priority. Pork chops continue to cook slightly during the rest period, a phenomenon known as carryover cooking. Factoring this in prevents overcooking. Remember, slightly pink pork is safe to eat, provided it has reached the recommended temperature.

Side Dishes That Complement BBQ Pork Chops

Coleslaw, with its crips textures and tangy flavor, cuts through the richness of BBQ pork chops, offering a refreshing contrast.

Cornbread serves as both a hearty side and a sponge for savory BBQ sauce remnants, enhancing the overall meal experience with its sweetness.

Grilled vegetables, like zucchini, bell peppers, and asparagus, not only add vibrant color to the plate but also absorb the smoky flavors of the grill, complementing the meat’s taste profile.

Potato salad, a picnic classic, brings a creamy and comforting element to the table, balancing the spices in the BBQ seasoning.

Baked beans, simmered in a sweet and savory sauce, provide a hint of smokiness that echoes the primary cooking method, tying the dish components together harmoniously.

These sides are not afterthoughts; each brings its distinct contribution to the table, creating a symphony of flavors that elevates the main attraction – the BBQ pork chops.