My family should be dubbed “The Pork Chop Crew" because we eat them at least once a week. Pork chops are a versatile cut of meat—I endorse them wholeheartedly. They benefit from a good brine—a salty flavored liquid for soaking the meat—and can be grilled, baked, pan-seared, and even cooked sous vide.
I love grilled pork chops most because it’s the least messy way to prepare them. You don’t have to deal with splattering hot oil from the pan and no messy sheet pans to clean up after baking. I simply brine the pork chops and then I pop them onto a hot grill. That’s it!
Best Pork Chops for Grilling
A rib chop, sometimes called a center-cut rib chop, is my go-to cut. It has a bone that runs along one side and a border of fat. On the grill, the fat melts and the marrow in the bone caramelizes, which translates to a whole lot of good feelings that ensue as we dig in!
I prefer a cut that is 2 inches thick. Any thinner, it is more likely to dry out on the grill or get too salty in the brine.
Boneless chops, although pricier, are an option if you're looking for an all-around leaner cut of meat. They are basically rib chops with the bone and some of the fat trimmed off. My family isn’t shy about a generous ribbon of fat, so I hardly trim any off. Leave at least a 1/8-inch layer of it on since fat adds flavor as it renders on the grill.
Brined Pork Chops are Juicier!
Pork is a lean meat that can become notoriously bone-dry when cooked. Brining pumps them full of moisture, preventing them from drying out. Even a quick dip, about 30 minutes, in the brine will help your pork stay juicy and tender.
The brine I recommend for these pork chops is quite simple to prepare, and it works wonders. It guarantees the meat remains juicy until you sink your teeth into them. While I'm ashamed to admit that I tapped out before I could finish both of my pork chops, I am proud that even when I reheated them, they didn't dry out.
How Long to Brine the Pork Chops
Don’t brine them for too long. The salt and acid from the vinegar or citrus can make the pork chops overly salty and mushy. A rule of thumb: Brine for 1 hour per pound of pork chops. You can go over the suggested time, but only by about 30 minutes.
Tips for Grilling Pork Chops
For a gas grill, turn on one set of the burners to 400°F or high and keep the other set of burners off. If using a charcoal grill, spread lit coal under one half of the grill and keep the other half empty. This creates two cooking zones: a hot direct cooking zone over the fire to sear the pork chops and a cooler indirect cooking zone over the unlit burners to cook them all the way through without burning the outside.
Even built-in grill thermometers can give inaccurate readings. An external thermometer set near the center of the grill provides the most accurate temperature reading. Although less precise, you can estimate the temperature by carefully holding your hand 6 inches above the heated grill grates. If you can hold it there for only 1 to 2 seconds, it's ready for the pork chops.
Crosshatch grill marks are pretty but too high maintenance even for me. If you really want bold grill marks, don’t move the pork chops while they sear.
How Long to Grill Pork Chops
Grill 2-inch-thick rib chops for about 4 minutes per side over high heat. Then finish cooking them through over low heat for 15 to 20 minutes. Boneless chops or thinner rib chops will take less time to cook through.
The safe internal temperature of pork is 145°F. When cut, the center of the meat will have a light blush pink color.
How I Serve Grilled Pork Chops
I serve grilled pork chops with lightly seasoned vegetables, like yellow squash, bell peppers, zucchini, or asparagus, which I grill while the pork chops rest. Macaroni and cheese or a rice dish would also be a fantastic accompaniment.
More Pork Chop Recipes to Try
- Mom’s Perfect Pork Chops
- Pork Chops with Cherry Pan Sauce
- Skillet Pork Chops with Cabbage
- Vermont Maple Syrup Pork Chops
- Pork Chops with Pomegranate Glaze
Easy Grilled Pork Chops
Instead of Morton’s kosher salt, use 1 teaspoon table salt, 1 3/4 teaspoons sea salt, or 2 teaspoons Diamond Crystal kosher salt.
- 4 1/2 cups pork chop brine
- 4 bone-in pork rib chops, each about 2 inches thick
- 1 1/2 teaspoons Morton's kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon sweet paprika
- Pinch of cayenne pepper (optional)
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil, plus more for grill
Brine the pork chops:
In a large pot or bowl, add the cooled brine and the pork chops, making sure all of them are fully submerged in the brine. You can place a heavy plate on top to help them stay submerged. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour.
Remove the pork chops from the brine. Rinse them under cold running water, then pat them dry with paper towels. Lay the pork chops on a platter so that they come to room temperature while the grill heats.
Heat the grill:
Use a grill brush to clean the grill grates. Saturate a wad of paper towel generously with vegetable oil and rub it along the grates. If using a gas grill, heat one side to 400°F or high and keep the burners off on the other side. If using a charcoal grill, spread the hot coals on one half of the grill and leave the other half empty.
Season with the spice rub:
In a small bowl, combine the salt, cumin, black pepper, paprika, and cayenne pepper, if using. Use your hands to rub both sides of the pork chops with the oil. Sprinkle and massage the spice rub all over them.
Grill the pork chops:
When the grill reaches 400°F, place the pork chops on the hot side of the grill and press down firmly with a grill spatula. Sear for 4 minutes without moving them. This allows the meat to caramelize properly. Flip them over and sear for 4 minutes without moving them.
Move the seared pork chops to the cool side of the grill, then close the lid. Cook for 15 to 20 minutes, or until a meat thermometer inserted in the center of the pork chop registers 145°F.
Allow the pork chops to rest:
Transfer the grilled pork chops onto a platter and cover it loosely with foil. Rest them for 5 minutes before serving, which will allow the juices to settle down.
Did you love the recipe? Leave us stars below!