How To Grill Pork Chops

A plate of grilled pork chops with a side of salad on a wooden table

How To Grill Pork Chops

  1. Mix pork chop marinade in a large bowl and add pork chops.
  2. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours.
  3. Preheat grill to medium-high heat (375-400 degrees) 20 minutes prior to grilling.
  4. Place pork chops on grill and cook for 2 to 3 minutes on each side.
  5. Move pork chops to indirect heat (or lower temp to medium) and cook for 8-12 more minutes, flipping once, or until pork chops reach 145 degrees F.
  6. Remove pork chops from the grill and allow them to rest for at least 5 minutes.

Grilled pork chop with seasonings and grilled tomatoes on a black background.

Whether it’s the summer grilling season and you need to add some variety to your weekly backyard barbecue or you want something hearty and full of flavor to pair with your winter squash, grilled pork chops are the ideal and often forgotten meat.

The key, however, is knowing exactly what goes into grilling the perfect juicy pork chop. We’ve all had the disappointing chewy, dry, and overcooked pork chop. Taking a few simple steps will ensure you have perfectly cooked juicy pork chops.

Everything You Need To Know About Grilling Pork Chops

  1. How to Grill Pork Chops Properly
  2. Dry Rub--An Alternative to Marinade
  3. How To Tell If Pork Chops Are Done
  4. How To Keep Pork Chops From Drying Out
  5. The Difference Between Barbecue and Grilling
  6. Frequently Asked Questions About Grilling Pork Chops
  7. More Great Recipes

1. How to Grill Pork Chops Properly

Juicy apple cider glazed pork chops on a square wooden cutting board on a dark surface

Tools Needed:

Grilled Pork Chops Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 4 bone-in thick center cut rib chop pork chops, at least 1” thick
  • ½ cup olive 
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon cracked black pepper
  • 2 large cloves of finely chopped garlic (or 4 teaspoons garlic powder)
  • 2 teaspoons onion powder
  • ¼ cup soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 half freshly squeezed lemon juice

Instructions:

  1. In a large bowl, make pork chop marinade by mixing brown sugar, kosher salt, black pepper, garlic, and onion powder. Add in olive oil, soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, balsamic vinegar and lemon juice. Whisk together. 
  2. Place pork chops in casserole dish and pour marinade over them. Cover and place in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours.
  3. If using a gas grill, preheat to medium-high 10 minutes prior to grilling. If using a charcoal grill, prepare it so you will have a place for indirect heat by banking coals on each side of the grill, leaving the center of the grill without coals/heat. Light charcoals at least 20 minutes prior to grilling. Temperature in either type of grill should be 375-400 degrees prior to putting on the pork chops.
  4. Using your tongs, place loin chops on grill and sear for 2-3 minutes per side.
  5. Move pork chops to indirect heat (or reduce to medium), and continue grilling for 4-6 minutes on each side, depending on their thickness. If you have a meat thermometer, make sure the thickest part of the chops reach 145 degrees. 
  6. Remove the pork chops from the grill and allow them to rest for 5-8 more minutes.

Pro Tips:

  • Choosing the right cut is key to a perfect, juicy pork chops recipe. All pork chops come from the loin, but depending on what section of the loin, the chops will differ in flavor and tenderness. In my experience, the center-cut rib chops are the best choice for grilling. They have a little fat to add flavor, but not the tough gristle of a shoulder chop. They are very tender and the flavor is mild. A boneless chop is also an option, and perhaps the most commonly used. They cook a little faster, but without any bone or fat, they often have less flavor and dry out quickly. 
  • Thick pork chops are also key to maximum flavor and juiciness. If you can, get your chops cut at your local butcher or meat counter and request a minimum of 3/4” thick, ideally 1 to 1 ½” thick. But remember, the thickness of your pork chops affects the time it takes them to cook on the grill, so always take that into account when timing your grilled pork chops. 
  • If you want to cut your own chops, buy a 8-rib bone-in pork loin from your local butcher. With the loin on your cutting board, use your carving knife and slice between each bone or every two for thicker pork chops. 

2. Dry Rub--An Alternative to Marinade

Everyone loves a good sauce, but dry rubs are also a great way to add flavor and seasoning to your pork chops. 

A quick and easy dry rub recipe:

  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon cracked black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
  1. Whisk all ingredients together until they are well-blended. 
  2. After drying your pork chops with a paper towel, brush each side with an equal parts olive oil and soy sauce mixture. 
  3. Rub mixture on each side of the loin chop. 
  4. Grill as previously instructed.

3. How To Tell If Pork Chops Are Done

Raw Pork Chops On A Wooden Cutting Board Surrounded By Garnish

Investing in a digital instant-read meat thermometer is key to perfectly cooked, juicy grilled pork chops. You’ll avoid the guesswork and know exactly when to take your pork chops off the grill before they get dry and overcooked. When you think your pork chops are almost done, insert the thermometer into the thickest part of the meat without touching the bone, and the temperature should register within a few seconds. As soon as the temperature reads 145 degrees, take them off the grill. 

If you don’t have a meat thermometer yet, not to worry. There are other ways to gauge the readiness of your pork chops. The best way is to gently poke the meat with your finger or a fork to determine its firmness. (It’s very important not to slice into the meat. You’ll lose some of the juices, and the meat will cook and dry out faster.) If the meat is soft and spongy, it will still be raw in the middle. If the meat is firm and leathery, it is well done.

The perfect chop will be firm, but not hard. Once you remove the pork chops from the grill and they have rested for 5 minutes, you can cut into the thickest part of the meat and check the color. Perfectly done pork that has reached 145 degrees can still be a little pink, but any juices you see should be clear. If you think your meat is still undercooked, throw them back on the grill for 1-2 minutes and check again. 

4. How To Keep Pork Chops From Drying Out

My fondest childhood memories are eating over at my grandmother’s house. That sweet, southern woman could cook the perfect fried chicken, but give her a pork chop and she would serve up a tough leathery hockey puck. It’s the reason we’ve all shied away from cooking pork chops for so long! Am I right? But fear not. There are tried and true ways to ensure those chops are tender and juicy. 

  • Buy bone-in pork chops, ideally the center-cut rib chop, which is the most tender.
  • Thick pork chops are key. Anything less that ¾” in thickness will inevitably end up cooking too quickly and drying out. 
  • If you do end up with a different cut or a boneless pork chop, soaking them in a salt water brine for a minimum of 30 minutes tenderizes the meat throughout the chop.
  • Bringing the meat to room temperature helps the meat cook more evenly.
  • Use a meat thermometer to make sure your pork chops reach exactly 145 degrees, and remove them from the grill immediately.  
  • Make sure your pork chops get their moment of rest (at least 5 minutes). The fibers of the meat relax as it is resting, and this gives the pork chops the juicy tenderness we all aspire to. 

5. The Difference Between Barbecue and Grilling

Metalic BBQ Tools hanging off an open grill that's cooking different meat and vegetables

Premium Grill Kit - 4-Piece - Tongs, Spatula, Fork, Silicone Basting Brush

Is there a difference? Most everyone uses these words interchangeably, but there is actually a difference! Who knew?! We typically use barbeque and grilling both to mean cooking outdoors on gas grills (or any grill for that matter). But as a cooking technique, they differ in a couple of ways.

  • Barbecuing refers to cooking slowly on low heat.
  • Grilling is typically cooked fast on higher heat.
As delicious as perfectly juicy grilled pork chops are, a pork tenderloin marinated in a traditional barbecue sauce or better yet, a sweet and spicy bbq sauce and cooked for hours is just as divine. Which is why some people look for barbecue pork chops recipes over grilled pork chop recipes. 

Now that you know how to cook the perfect pork chops, b
e sure to check out this handy guide on how to set the dinner table. 

6. Frequently Asked Questions About Grilling Pork Chops

How long do you cook pork chops on the grill?

This depends on the thickness, but a good rule of thumb for a 1” thick pork chop is to sear on high/direct heat for 1-2 minutes, move to medium/indirect heat and cook for 4-6 minutes on each side. The best way to ensure you have cooked your pork chops for the right amount of time is to use a meat thermometer. Insert into the thickest part of the meat and remove from grill after it reaches 145 degrees.

What temperature do you cook pork chops on the grill? 

Pork does not like very high heat. That will cause it to cook too quickly and become tough. A medium-high temperature of 375-400 degrees is perfect for grilling pork chops. 

Is it safe to eat pork chops if they are pink inside? 

According to the USDA, pork cooked to 145 degrees is safe to eat. At this temperature, the meat may still look a little pink but is safe to eat. 

Should I keep the lid on when grilling pork chops?

Yes, keeping the lid on gives you more consistent heat. 

Can I use the same recipe for a baked pork chop or a pork tenderloin?

Yes! Our pork chop marinade can also be used for baked pork chops or a pork tenderloin. And if you’re short on time or have surprise guests, just keep your favorite bbq sauce stocked in the pantry for barbeque pork chops!

7. More Great Recipes

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Written by Meredith Daniel Sims

Devoted follower of the farm-to-table scene, Meredith is most well-known for her ability to whip up a gourmet meal in the tiniest of spaces, including her camper van.