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Grilled Pork Chops

Just about everyone loves good pork chops.  The trick is getting to the finished product while they're still tender and juicy, and that's more difficult for many cooks than you might imagine.  It's a fine line between "just right" and "oops", and nothing is more disappointing than chops that are dry and chewy.

Part of the problem is that many of us were always taught that pork needed to be cooked until the meat was no longer pink inside.  In other words, well done.  For our parents and grandparents this was less of a problem because pork in their day had a much higher fat content than it does today.  The additional fat allowed the pork to be cooked through while still remaining tasty and moist.  Today's leaner pork just will not stand up to "well done" cooking.  And trichinosis, the reason our parents always cited when lecturing on the perils of pork, has been virtually eradicated from commercial offerings.  This means we can eat pork that is still warm and pink inside with no more worry than we would have for medium rare beef.

The times listed here should be used as a guide because temperature variations on the grill can make a big difference.  I always rely on a quality instant thermometer.  An instant read, digital thermometer will cost about $20 but once you have one you'll wonder how you ever got along without it.

" to 1" thick    boneless pork chops
small amount    vegetable oil
dry rub    try my Creole Seasoning, Tarragon/Basil rub, or just good ole salt and pepper

Rub the chops with oil and apply seasonings. Allow them to sit at room temperature for 1-2 hours, or overnight in the fridge.  If refrigerated allow enough time for the chops to come up to room temperature, about one hour.

Prepare the grill for medium-hot coals.  Arrange the coals so that you have some grill space that is not directly over the fire.  Brush the grill surface with oil (or use a non-stick spray), and place the chops directly over the coals and cook for about 2 minutes until nicely seared.  Turn the chops and repeat.

Move the chops to the part of the grill that is not directly over the fire, cover, and continuing cooking indirectly for another 3-4 minutes.  Check the internal temperature with an instant read thermometer.  The chops are ready to come off the grill when the internal temp reads 140-150 degrees.  Allow the chops to sit for 5-10 minutes before serving.

Because the cooking times will vary depending on the temperature of the grilling surface and the thickness of the chops I always start checking the temperature after six minutes - better safe than sorry.  If you follow these instructions I guarantee you will be talk of the diner table - perfect chops every time!

 

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