Smoked pork chops are juicy, flavorful, and smell heavenly. Thick chops, a simple rub, and applewood are all you need. Is your mouth watering? Mine sure is!
These smoked pork chops are bursting with flavor. Thick chops seasoned with a simple spice rub infused with the sweet smoke of applewood make for an outstanding main. They have a great depth of flavor; the pork is super tender and juicy, plus smoking them couldn’t be easier. Instead of brine or marinade, I applied a dry rub to the chops but season how you prefer.
Thick pork chops are great, but time is needed to get them as flavorful on the inside as on the exterior, which is the part exposed to the smoke and seasonings.
Why You’ll Love Smoked Pork Chops
- Flavorful – Applewood and the delicious rub are responsible for the fantastic flavor of these chops. Chili powder, paprika, garlic powder, and onion powder add so much to the recipe. There’s heat and sweetness, and the chops are so fragrant that you’ll want to dig in as soon as you remove them from the grates.
- Easy to make – Smoked pork chops come together in just a few steps and don’t call for a lengthy smoke. It takes just under an hour. The hardest part is giving the rub time to permeate the meat.
- Versatile – You can customize the rub to suit your taste preferences or use boneless pork chops. If you opt for boneless, monitor internal temperature vigilantly to prevent overcooking.
Smoked Pork Chops Ingredients
To make smoked pork chops, you’ll need the following:
- Pork chops: Choose bone-in pork chops about 1 ½ inch thick for the best flavor and moistness but boneless will work with this recipe as well. Select pork chops with a pinkish color and some marbling but no yellow fat, only white. The fat will retain moisture so the meat doesn’t dry out, resulting in more flavorful chops. Also, steer clear of pale pork, dark-colored bones, and pork chops with dark spots on the fat.
- Chili powder: It adds heat for a spicier rub. Chili powder also adds an appealing red hue.
- Paprika: I used smoked paprika. The smoky undertone adds a layer of complexity to the pork and boy, does it smell good.
- Salt and pepper: Every protein needs a little salt and pepper.
- Smoking wood: Applewood works well with pork. The mildness of the wood and its fruity sweetness complement it like no other.
Find the complete ingredients list with amounts in the recipe card below!
How to Make Smoked Pork Chops
- Make the dry rub (Feel free to use your favorite spice rub): Mix the ingredients in a small bowl. Brush the pork with oil and apply the rub once it is ready. Dry the chops with paper towels before application to remove excess moisture. The oil does an excellent job of helping the seasonings stick.
- Refrigerate: The chops need about 4 hours in the fridge before smoking. The seasonings permeate the meat during this time, and the salt in the rub tenderizes the pork. It also lets the exterior dry out, so you’ll get a nice crust during the searing stage.
- Prepare the smoker: Preheat your smoker or pellet grill to 225°F and add the smoking wood. If you’re using a charcoal or gas grill, set it up for smoking. For charcoal, create a two-zone fire and add wood chips (that have been soaking for 30 minutes) once it is within the desired temperature range. Since this is a relatively short cook, the need to replenish the wood chips is unlikely. For a gas grill, add wood to the smoker box or, if your grill does not have a smoker box, wrap dry chips in a foil pouch, poke holes in the pouch, and nestle it right over one of the burners.
- Sear, then smoke: They need 2-3 minutes per side in a hot cast iron skillet. Once done, transfer the pork chops to the smoker, close the lid, and smoke until the internal temperature of the pork reaches 145°F, about 50 minutes.
- Rest and serve: Don’t worry. Smoked pork chops only need to rest for 5 minutes.
How to Apply Dry Rub on Pork Chops
Apply about 1 tablespoon of dry rub per pound of meat or per one 1 1/2 inch thick pork chop, which weighs about a pound.
- Blot the chops dry with paper towels before application to remove excess moisture.
- Massage with your hands or brush both sides of each pork chop with oil.
- Use the wet hand / dry hand method to sprinkle the dry rub with one hand and use the other hand to rub the seasoning into the chops.
Pro Tip: If a thick crust forms when you apply it to the meat, you used too much dry rub (unless that is how you like it). Simply scrap off some of the rub off the meat before cooking. Although not as effective this will work in a pinch after cooking as well.
Variations, Substitutions, and Cooking Tips:
Change the rub – Adding spices such as cumin and cayenne can customize the dry rub to suit your taste preferences. You can also add a little brown sugar.
Try a marinade – Combining garlic, herbs, spices, and soy sauce will work, as would citrus and various other seasonings and aromatics. Experiment to see what works best!
Go boneless – As mentioned, you can use boneless chops. If you go this route, select 1-1 ½-inch-thick chops and closely monitor the internal temperature to avoid overcooking.
Bring to Room Temperature – Take the pork chops out of the fridge about 30 minutes before cooking. This will allow more even cooking throughout the chops and prevent overcooking.
Storage and Freezer Tips
Store any uneaten smoked pork chops in a shallow airtight container. Shallow containers allow for rapid, even cooling of the food, which is integral to proper food storage. If you don’t have an airtight container, tightly wrap the pork in foil. Either way, smoked pork chops will keep in the fridge for 3-4 days. You can also freeze them and store them for 2 months. To freeze, wrap in plastic, then place into a freezer bag. Before sealing the bag, remove as much air as possible.
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon black pepper
- 2 teaspoons onion powder
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
- 4 bone-in pork chops, about 1 ½-inch thick, or boneless pork chops
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- Combine the salt, pepper, and other seasonings in a bowl or use a dry rub that you prefer.
- Pat the room temperature pork chops dry with a paper towel.
- Brush or massage both sides of each pork chop with oil, then apply the rub to each side and let sit for 15 minutes or for flavor purposes, marinate for at least 2 hours before grilling.
- Preheat a smoker or pellet grill to 225 degrees Fahrenheit. Use applewood for this cook.
- Meanwhile, preheat a grill at a high heat or preheat a cast iron skillet or another heavy nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.
- Sear the pork chops for 2-3 minutes per side to develop a nice crust.
- Transfer the pork chops to the smoker, close the lid, and smoke for 50 minutes to an hour. The pork chops are ready when the internal temperature reaches 145 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Remove from the smoker and rest for 5 minutes before serving.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 450Total Fat: 26gSaturated Fat: 8gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 15gCholesterol: 158mgSodium: 1081mgCarbohydrates: 3gFiber: 1gSugar: 0gProtein: 50g
This data was provided and calculated by Nutritionix.
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