Juicy grilled pork chops make a perfect, quick meal and dry rubs are a terrific way to season them. Be sure to select chops of close to an inch in thickness—nothing flimsy—then grill them over steady, medium heat.
Opt for rib chops over the center-cut variety when cooking outdoors because their greater fat content helps keep them moist, and bone-in chops are preferred for their juiciness. You could add a barbecue sauce on the side, but we relish their crispy surface unvarnished.
I must confess, the pork chops I purchased were over 2″ thick!! My choice at the supermarket was either boneless chops—which I wasn’t looking for in this case—or very thin bone-in chops, which I knew would dry out. Obviously, cooking times need to be lengthened to accommodate the extra thick meat, but the directions below cater to a 1″ thickness.
In order to get the desired cross marks and a perfect doneness, sear over direct heat on both sides, then move the chops to the indirect heat side of the grill until they reach 135°. Carryover cooking will cause the temperature to continue rising after being removed from the heat source, so knowing when to pull the pork chops off the grill is critical. Pull from the grill and allow to rest on a cutting board, tented with foil, for about 5-10 minutes. Spot check the internal temperature after about 5 minutes to be sure you’re at, or almost at the target temp of 145°F.
Alas, the best laid plans… due to an emergency, I had to freeze the already seasoned chops until two weeks later. And it was raining the evening we actually had them for dinner, so I used another sure-fire method to cook the chops. Just sear both sides on high heat in a carbon steel or cast iron skillet. Then put the skillet directly into a 400° oven until they reach 135°. Tent with foil for five minutes to let the juices redistribute, and voila, juicy pork chops!
As I mentioned, our two-chops-in-one were over 2″ thick, so they took nearly 20 minutes in the oven to come to temp. But they came out with a perfect light pink interior and crispy exterior. Our sides of crispy/creamy baby roasted potatoes and savory, tender kale completed the meal. Not surprisingly, we had a lot of leftover pork which, when sliced down, came in handy for lunches and munchies…
Spice-Rubbed Grilled Bone-in Pork Chops
- 3 Tbsp. hot smoked paprika, preferably Spanish
- 1 Tbsp. freshly ground black pepper
- 1 Tbsp. coarse salt, either kosher or sea salt
- 1 Tbsp. brown sugar
- 3/4 tsp. chili powder
- 3/4 tsp. granulated garlic or garlic powder
- 3/4 tsp. onion powder
- 1/2 tsp. ground cayenne
- 6 to 8, 10-ounce bone-in pork rib chops, 1-inch thick
- Vegetable oil spray
- At least 1 and up to 8 hours before you plan to grill the pork chops, prepare the dry rub, combining the ingredients in a small bowl. Coat the chops with the spice mixture, place them in a large plastic bag, seal, and refrigerate.
- Fire up the grill, bringing the heat to medium.
- Remove the chops from the refrigerator and let them sit covered at room temperature for about 20 minutes.
- Spray the chops with oil and transfer them to the grill. Grill for 18 to 20 minutes total. Turn onto each side twice, rotating the chops a half turn each time to get criss-cross grill marks. (If your chops are much thicker, move them over to indirect heat for the time needed to reach 135°.)
- Pull from the grill and allow to rest on a cutting board, tented with foil, for about 5-10 minutes. Spot check the internal temperature after about 5 minutes to be sure you’re at, or almost at the target temp of 145°F. Serve hot.
Recipe adapted from Cheryl and Bill Jamison, found on Epicuious