5 Tips for the Best Grilled Pork Chops

5 Tips for the Best Grilled Pork Chops

Meghan Splawn
May 15, 2018
(Image credit: Sara Kate Gillingham)

Grilled pork chops are one of my favorite summer dinners — tasty enough for guests, but affordable enough for everyday meals. Pork chops and grilled meats often have a reputation for being dry, but neither could be further from the truth.

You can make a juicy, tender pork chop on the grill every time just by following these five tips.

(Image credit: Christine Gallary)

1. Go for thick, center-cut chops.

Bone-in or boneless is a personal choice, but center-cut pork chops are more tender from the start and almost guarantee a juicy grilled pork chop. Thicker pork chops also prevent overcooking, which leads to dry, not moist, grilled pork chops.

Read more: A Complete Guide to Pork Chops

(Image credit: Joe Lingeman | Kitchn)

2. Always be brining.

A brine — that is, a flavorful salt-water bath the pork chops should take a dip in — is the secret to juicy pork chops every time. Even better, brining gives you some insurance against overcooking, as slightly overdone grilled pork chops will still be moist if they were brined.

Learn more: 3 Scientific Reasons to Brine Your Meat

3. Use two-zone grilling.

We want two things when we grill pork chops — pretty (and flavorful) grill marks and a rosy, juicy interior — and a two-zone cooking approach is the best way to get both. Start the chops on high heat to get a crisp crust and good grill marks, then move it to medium heat to cook to temperature without drying out

(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

4. Save saucing for the end of cooking.

Sauces for grilled food are like icing on the cake; so much flavor can be delivered in a sauce. Problem is that sauces tend to burn on the grill if added to pork chops before cooking. Instead, save sauces for the last five minutes of cooking and for serving.

Get a recipe: Easy Brown Sugar Honey Glaze

(Image credit: Kimberley Hasselbrink)

5. Rest the pork chops for maximum juiciness.

While there's some debate about whether you should rest steaks post grilling, pork chops absolutely benefit from a 10-minute rest post-grilling. This allows for carryover cooking so you're not slicing an undercooked chop, and it prevents overcooking as the chop gently comes up to temperature. Cover your chops in foil just after cooking before slicing and serving.

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