Pork chops, which are a cut of meat obtained by cutting perpendicular to the spine of the pig and generally contain part of a rib, are a delicious cut of pork and just right for grilling. There are different types of pork chops to choose from.
Thin cut chops are usually under 3/4 of an inch thick and need to be grilled differently from thick cut pork chops which are chops that are over 3/4 of an inch thick. Thinner cuts need to be grilled quickly so that they retain their moisture and don’t dry out. Thicker cut pork chops need to be grilled slower. They need to be cooked through the middle, while keeping the surface from drying out. For grilling purposes, thicker cuts of chops work better.
Before grilling your chops, there are a few steps you should take to ensure that you bring out the flavor and the moistness of your meat.
-Brining- Pork nowadays has been bred to be extra lean. While this is healthier, the fat is what causes a chop to be juicy and tender. To make up for the lack of fat in pork chops, brining the chops in a solution of salt and water for two to four hours before grilling is recommended. The salt breaks down tough fibers found in the meat.
-Marinades- Marinades also bring out the flavor of the chops and add an additional layer of flavor to them. Marinades can range from spicy to sweet. Be sure to marinate your pork chops overnight in the refrigerator. It must be noted that only one of these methods should be used. Brining and marinating pork chops can result in a very salty chop.
After brining or marinating your pork chops, remove from the refrigerator and allow them to rest at room temperature for about 20 minutes. This will keep the meat from going into shock when it is placed on the hot grill. Take this time to light your grill and to let your grill get hot.
Place your chops on the grill and cover. Let them grill for about three minutes on each side. After flipping, reduce the grill to low if it is a gas grill, or move over indirect heat if you are using charcoal and grill for about 7 minutes per side. Using a meat thermometer, insert the probe at the thickest part of the chop. Look for an internal reading of at least 160 degrees Fahrenheit.
Remove the chops from the grill and let rest an additional 10 minutes before serving.
Here’s a great recipe to get you started on your way to grilling juicy, flavorful pork chops.
6 tablespoons Dijon mustard
4 tablespoons brown sugar
3 tablespoons beer or applesauce
3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
4 (8 ounce) pork loin chops
1. In a large bowl with a lid, combine the Dijon mustard, brown sugar, beer or applesauce, and the Worcestershire sauce. Blend well.
2. Place the pork chops in the mixture, making sure each chop is coated.
3. Place the lid on the bowl and refrigerate at least four hours.
4. Oil the grill rack before starting the grill.
5. Remove chops from marinade, reserving the marinade, and let them rest for about 20 minutes while the grill is heating.
6. Place pork chops on grill rack and baste with reserved marinade.
7. Cover the grill and grill each side for about 6-10 minutes or until thermometer reaches 160 degrees Fahrenheit.
8. Remove and serve.
Apples go well with pork and enhance the flavor. Other ideas for marinades include teriyaki sauces, barbecue sauce, Italian dressing, onions, garlic, or even different jams and jellies. A tip to remember is when grilling with a jam, jelly, or barbecue sauce, don’t apply the glaze or sauce until the final five minutes of cooking time. These contain sugar, which causes pork chops to char and burn.