Using the reverse sear method isn’t just for steak! It’s also the best way to get succulent, incredibly tender smoked pork chops finished on the grill to lock in the juice.
I’ll also show you how to make a super tasty slaw that goes perfectly with smoked pork chops and will have you craving more with each mouthful, and a yummy apple sauce.
Want to watch the video version of this smoked pork chops recipe? Check out the YouTube video below.
Smoked pork chops
To make the best smoked pork chops, use center cut rib chops with the skin removed. Try and get pork chops that are around one and a half inches thick.
You also want to use bone-in pork chops for this recipe. While the bone might not add extra flavor, I find it helps protect the meat while it’s cooking.
While boneless pork chops tend to dry out, bone-in smoked pork chops turn out juicy and tender.
Since we are going to dry brine and then reverse sear the pork chops, thin-cut pork chops just won’t work.
Plus who isn’t happy to get more meat on their plate.
If you’re not sure just ask your butcher for thick-cut pork chops with the bone in.
And if you can’t find anything good locally, you can get these thick-cut pork chops from Porter Road delivered.
Items that will help you cook pork chops are:
- Kettle Grill that you can set up dual cooking zones (I’m using a 22” Weber Kettle)
- Lump Charcoal or High Heat briquettes (I’m using Briquettes)
- Kosher salt
- Wire rack and tray
- An instant read thermometer (I’m using a ThermoWorks Thermapen ONE)
- Cast iron grates such as Grill Grates (if you want nice looking grill marks)
- Chopping board
- Boning or trimming knife
General tips for smoked pork chops
- I like to smoke pork chops first, and then finish with a sear (AKA reverse sear). This gives you more control over the temperature, locks in the smoke flavor and helps guarantee perfectly cooked pork chops.
- Try and avoid using thin or boneless chops as they can dry out using this cooking method.
- For this smoked pork chops recipe, I keep the flavor simple with salt and pepper, but you can easily use a BBQ rub to amp up the flavor.
How long does it take to smoke pork chops?
Depending on how hot your smoker is it will take around 45 minutes to get your pork chops up to 120 degrees F. Allow a total time of an hour including the sear and a quick rest.
How to tell when pork chops are cooked?
We are aiming for an internal temperature of 145 degrees F. For best results use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature. If you don’t have one, you have to look for slightly pink meat in the middle.
Contrary to popular belief, pink pork is safe to eat so long as it is cooked to 145°F.
What is the best wood for smoking pork?
For this cook, I’ll be using a chunk of apple smoking wood to give a nice smoky flavor to the pork chops. Depending on the type of smoker you are using you can use pellets or wood chips as well.
Pork works well with just about any smoke wood, especially any fruit wood so don’t worry if you don’t have apple wood lying around. Other great options for a delicate smoke flavor include cherry, maple, or pecan wood.
It’s just another way of adding depth of smoke flavor to your cook.
How to smoke pork chops
1. Trim the pork chops
With the pork chops laid out on a chopping board, we just need to trim off any excess outer fat. It won’t all render down and it is the meat that we want to taste.
2. Salt and leave in the fridge
After trimming, place the pork chops on a wire rack on a tray. Give them a sprinkle of salt and place them in the fridge. You can dry brine pork chops for an hour or even up to 2 days.
For this recipe, I brined these in the morning and cooked them later that day, for an 8-hour brine but you could also go over night.
What is the point of salting or dry brining the pork chops you ask?
Since pork is such lean meat, the salt brine helps retain moisture during the cooking process. It also acts as a tenderizer, as the salt dissolves and is drawn into the pork flesh, it breaks down the muscle proteins.
If there is any visible salt left on the flesh when you are going to cook pork chops, use the back of a butter knife to scrape off any excess.
The most notable difference in dry brining when you reverse sear the pork chops, is that you will get a much better outer crust and we all know crust equals flavor. You cannot tell me you want less flavor.
3. Smoke the pork chops
Fire your smoker up to 225°F for the low and slow portion of the cook.
I cooked these chops on my 22”
I started off by lighting ½ of a chimney of charcoal briquettes. Once that was fully lit and ashed over, I dumped that on one side of the charcoal grate. I placed the grill grates on and then left a chunk of apple wood on the grate just above the lit briquettes.
Once the grill is up to temperature place the seasoned pork chops on the cooler zone and put the lid back on.
The foil package is for the apple sauce I’m making; if you want to make that too there are steps further down the page.
I like to keep an eye on the internal temp of the pork chops. Once they hit an internal temp of 110°F it’s time to think about how you are going to sear these chops.
Since I wanted to grill the chops on the
4. Rest and then sear
When the pork chops have reached an internal temp of 120°F, it’s time to remove and let them rest under some loose foil with a slice of butter to let the juices redistribute.
Get your grill or pan ripping hot while the pork rests.
I like to use my GrillGrates to get epic grill marks on the smoked pork chops. The Grates can fit over the top of any grill and give you an extra hot temp for searing.
You don’t have to use cast iron grates though, anything that can get nice a hot will work.
Once the Grill Grates are at temp, then you can grill the pork chops directly over the high heat source with no flare ups.
I like to put the pork chops down and time them at 1 minute and 30 seconds, then rotate them nearly 45 degrees to get a diamond shape sear mark.
Put the grill lid back on while each sear section happens in the cook.
Our target temp for the pork chops is 145°F internal.
If after grilling both sides of the pork chops, they are under 145°F. Just place them back in the cooler cooking zone to finish cooking.
An optional (yet addictive) apple sauce
First things first, apple sauce and pork go together like Bert and Ernie.
I like using Granny Smith apples for this sauce.
Peel and slice the apples into 1/3 inches thick pieces then lay them into a heatproof baking dish or a foil tray.
Drizzle with lemon juice and sprinkle with sugar, cinnamon, maple syrup, and lemon zest.
Cover this with aluminum foil and place on the
After an hour when the apples are soft remove and blend until smooth.
Pork Chops serving suggestions
This apple coleslaw recipe is a great side dish for smoked pork chops. My friends and family request it all the time as it’s super tasty and crisp and fresh.
Because these smoked pork chops are quite large, you’ll find one smoked pork chop more than enough for the average adult. So I’d suggest a good serving of the apple and beet slaw.
I like to lean the smoked pork chop over the slaw, it’s a nice way of presenting it, and we eat with our eyes as much as our taste buds. If it doesn’t look appealing, we don’t want to try it.
Off to the side, I like to put a good-sized dollop of apple sauce.
Smoked Pork Chops
- 6 pork chops 1½ inches thick
- 2 tbsp Kosher salt for dry brining
- 3 tbsp butter
Apple Sauce (optional)
- 3 Granny Smith apples or any tart apple, peeled and sliced in ⅓ slices
- 3 tbsp brown sugar
- ¼ tsp cinnamon
- 1 tbsp maple syrup
- 1 lemon zest off and juice
For the Pork Chops
- Trim any excess fat off the pork chops and then dry brine them by lightly salting and leaving in the fridge for at least 1 hour (8 hours – 2 days is best).
- Fire your smoker up for 225°F and place pork chops on the cooler cooking zone.
- When the pork chops have reached 120°F, remove them and loosely cover with some aluminum foil and butter.
- Get your grill or a cast iron pan as hot as you can to grill the pork chops.
- Set a timer, and grill the chops for 1½ minutes then turn them nearly 45 degrees to create a diamond sear pattern.
- Once the pork has an internal temp of 145°F they are ready to remove and eat immeditely.
For the Apple Sauce
- Spread the sliced apples onto a baking tray.
- Drizzle with lemon juice.
- Sprinkle with sugar, cinnamon, maple syrup and lemon zest.
- Cover with foil and bake for an hour.
- Once pieces are soft, put into a food processor and blend until a smooth sauce consistency is achieved.