Delicious And Easy Pork Chops on a Traeger Grill
Pork chops are one of the staples of American cuisine. They are as standard for family dinners as fried chicken and macaroni and cheese. Many people find themselves frying pork chops in a skillet, but they truly shine when braised with a specialty sauce or dressed with a savory rub on the grill.
Do you want to know an easy way to create delicious grilled pork chops? Does the idea of cooking these potentially delectable little steaks secretly fill you with trepidation? You are not alone as pork can be temperamental to cook, often becoming dry and tough. A Traeger Grill could be your answer. All you need for delicious and easy pork chops on a Traeger grill are a few simple steps and a no-fail recipe.
What ingredients will you need?
- Traeger Grill
- Standard Electrical Outlet
- Grill Grates
- 4 to 8 thick-cut pork chops
- Your favorite Barbecue Rub
- Flavored Wood Pellets
- Grill Tool – Flipper
- Instant-read Meat Thermometer
What is a Traeger Grill?
A Traeger is a type of pellet grill. You can smoke meat in it with wood pellets that come in maple, oak, or apple flavors to namme a few. It runs on electricity, combining the simplicity of cooking on a propane gas grill with the rich flavor of a wood smoker.
Traeger grills operate based on one digital start up button. They require no lighter fluid and are accurate to within 10 degrees Farenheit of the temperature you program. They are just as versatile as other grills but do not require the maintenance nor the investment.
What flavor of wood pellets should you use?
When it comes to wood smoke, pork is versatile. You can make it mild or bold according to your preference, and the meat will neither overwhelm subtlety nor be overwhelmed by strong flavors. You can also combine different types of wood pellets to obtain a more exotic flavor.
- Apple is one of the most popular flavors used for poultry as well as pork. The smoke is mild and has a hint of fruit that highlights mild food.
- Cherry is a fruit-accented wood similar to apple but more flavorful while remaining mild.
- Alder enhances delicate-flavored meat and can even be used for baked treats.
- Hickory is one of the strong hardwood flavors that enhance pork and most other meats. It is also one you can mix with oak or apple to temper its boldness.
- Mesquite provides a hearty flavor and is commonly used in barbecued meats much like hickory.
- Oak is an excellent middle-ground wood and mixes well with milder or stronger wood to provide a more balanced smoke. It is stronger than apple.
- Pecan is another good blending wood or is great alone for pork, poultry, or beef with its medium smoke.
Oak and mesquite typically do not complement pork as well as the other flavors. Often you will get best results if you mix them with pellet flavors like pecan or apple or both.
A Traeger Grill burns about one to three pounds of wood pellets every hour.
Grilling is an art, so these basic instructions will get you started. Eventually, you will find variations that work better and will create your own rhythm and style.
Step 1: Preheat your grill
Preheat your grill to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Set to your desired temperature setting, close the lid, and let heat up for 10 to 15 minutes.
Step 2: Rub
Wash and pat your pork chops dry. Allow them to reach room temperature, which should only take 20 to 30 minutes. Apply the dry rub to your pork chops. Apply generously to all sides of the chop and massage into the meat.
Note that you can also use a marinade for your pork chops or a brine. Both of these methods require you to soak the meat for at least a couple of hours. Dry rubs work quite well for grilled pork chops. You will see yummy pre-made rubs at the grocery store if you do not want to make your own.
You can use a light coating of olive oil to make the rub coat the chops better. You can also coat with Worchestershire sauce before applying the rub for additional flavoring.
Homemade Sweet Barbecue Rub
- 4 Tblspns brown sugar
- 4 Tspns Kosher salt
- 2 Tspn paprika
- 2 Tspn ground black pepper
- 1 Tspn ground mustard
- 1 Tspn cayenne pepper
Combine all ingredients in a small bowl. Set aside until you are ready to use. A dry rub does not need to sit on the meat for any length of time before cooking them.
Homemade Seasoning Rub
- 2 Tblspn paprika
- 1 Tspn white pepper
- 1 Tspn black pepper
- 2 Tspns garlic salt
- 2 Tspns onion powder
- ½ Tspn cayenne pepper
Pork chops using sugar-based rubs can be cooked at temperatures as low as 275 degrees Farenheidt to prevent the seasoning from burning. You can braise sweet sauces on when there are only five minutes of cooking left.
Step 3: Grill
Set your rubbed pork chops on the grill racks. Cook for about 20 minutes with the lid closed, flipping at the halfway mark. Keep in mind cooking times can vary greatly depending on the thickness of the chops and whether they are boneless or not. Thinner pork chops may only require six minutes per side while thick-cut bone-in chops could take 30 minutes or more of total grilling. A more accurate assessment is the internal temperature of the pork, which should be 145 degrees Fahrenheit.
Step 4: Rest
Remove the Traeger pork chops from the grill to a platter and allow to rest for five to ten minutes. Resting redistributes the juices in the meat and stops the cooking process.
Do not pierce or cut into the chops during cooking except as necessary for your meat thermometer. It releases the juices of the meat and can dry your Traeger pork chops out.
If you do not have a Traeger Grill, you can accomplish the same results in a smoker or with a charcoal grill and wood chips using the indirect grilling method.
Side Dish Suggestions for Grilled Pork Chops
Your dinner task is never complete until you complement your crowning main entrée achievement with a suitable side dish. Traeger Pork chops are so easy you may find it more difficult to make a worthy side dish than the main course.
- Sweet potatoes – you can mix yams, sweet potatoes, or white potatoes with sour cream, garlic, or Parmesan cheese, to make a satisfying complement to pork chops. You can try grilling the potatoes for a change of pace.
- Red potatoes – you can place these little buds in aluminum with a bit of garlic and place them right on the grill with the pork chops. They may, however, take longer to properly cook.
- Rice – wild rice, white or brown rice, and rice pilafs go well with pork chops. You can even add grilled asparagus or sautéed spinach.
- Applesauce – there is no way you can go wrong with this classic, especially if you have children dining. The sweet apple delights the taste buds, particularly if you used apple-flavored wood pellets.
- Kale, apple, pecan, or plain crisp salad
Grilled Pork Chop and Beverage Pairings
Nothing wraps up a delicious and fulfilling meal like a great beverage to wash it down. Pork chops are versatile with the types of beverages you can serve. Whether you prefer beer or wine, here are a few great pairing suggestions. We even included a couple of cocktails.
- Islay scotch whiskey pair well with pork chops with a heavy smoky barbecued flavor
- Sweet cocktails – these are great with spicy pork chops.
- Sweet tea – best with spicy pork.
- Pork chops with savory side dishes – Grenache-based or light Zinfandels work well here.
- Pork chops with sweet potatoes – heavier Zinfandels
- Pork chops with creamy sides – a rich Chardonnay complements these dishes well. You can try spicy white wines as well or even a blush.
- Amber ale - goes well with barbecue rubs because of it malty and caramel flavor.
- Smoked beer is slightly sweet and pairs well with grilled pork chops.
- Bock beer – Has a mild caramel toasted taste and goes well with pork chops or steak.
Do you now feel inspired to tackled delicious pork chops on a Traeger Grill? We hope you found the recipe easy and straightforward. Once you select a delicious rub, there is nothing to it. And more important, your pork chops will be tender, juicy, and flavorful.
I never had a problem with my pork chops lacking flavor. However, they always seemed drier and chewier than the ones I enjoyed at rib houses. With this smoking technique, I prepare Traeger pork chops weekly. You cannot beat less than an hour of grill time. You can easily entertain guests, dressing the meal up with some fabulous side dishes. Feel free to share these ideas with others or add a few of your own.
Frequently Asked Questions
What should I serve with smoked pork chops?
We have some great suggestions for side dishes to go along with your grilled pork chops. Anything from grilled vegetables to rice, quinoa, or polenta would be a great choice. We also have a few beverage pairing ideas, if you’re into it, so check out the article above!
How long does it take to grill 1-inch-thick pork chops?
Pork chop grilling time depends on whether they’re boneless or bone-in and how thick the meat is cut. In general, a boneless pork chop less than an inch thick should take about 10 minutes total, or 5 minutes a side. A 1-inch-thick pork chop would take closer to 14 minutes, and a thicker cut may take as long as 20 minutes. If you are buying bone-in chops, keep in mind that it may take longer.
What temperature do you grill pork chops?
The USDA’s safe recommended cooking temperature for pork is 145 degrees F, which is a medium rare temperature. If you are worried about pink pork, feel free to cook it a few extra degrees or as high as 155 degrees F. Cooking pork chops over 165 degrees F can result in a dry, overcooked pork chop, but you can always serve it with a nice applesauce to cover up the dry spots.
How do you grill frozen pork chops?
If you don’t have time to defrost your pork chops, you can cook them from frozen on a hot grill. Keep in mind they will take about 50 percent longer to cook than a regular, thawed pork chop. It’s always best to defrost pork chops overnight in the refrigerator, as they will have a better flavor and will turn out juicier. But, it is possible to cook them safely from frozen if you forgot!
Can you use the Traeger as a grill?
Yes, most people us their Traeger as a smoker, but it is an electric wood pellet grill. If you crank the temperature up higher than smoking ranges, you can absolutely use the Traeger as a grill. Keep in mind that the Traeger’s heat source is indirect, so it will be very hard to get grill marks using an electric pellet grill.