Smoked Pork Chops – The Secret To Delicious Meal

There are a couple of different pork chop cuts that you can cook in a smokerShoulder chops are cut from the front quarters of the pig right at the shoulder area. The most common chop from the shoulder is the blade chop. These chops have the shoulder blade bone in them. They are marbled with some fat that helps to keep them moist when cooking in a smoker. 

Loin chops are cut from the lower back area of the hog. You can buy loin chops boneless or bone-in. Rib loin chops have the rib bones attached along one side of the tenderloin. Center cut chops are the T-bone or porterhouse cuts with the bone being flanked on either side by a steak portion and a tenderloin portion. Loin chops are quite lean and can benefit from wet or dry brining, or both, before smoking.

Sirloin chops are cut from the hip area toward the back of the loin. This chop has both some of the hip and back bones in them. The meat is not as tender as the loin chops. This cut is probably better suited for low and slow braising rather than smoking or grilling. 

Pork chops can be a little tricky to cook to perfection, as they can easily become dry if just slightly overcooked. I like to think of pork chops as the child whose button can be pushed at random, resulting in a bit of a meltdown. In an instant pork can seize up and become tough. I really like to cook pork low and slow in a smoker so that it remains moist and relaxed.  

It is good practice to smoke chops that are thick and meaty. Look for ones that are approximately 1-1/2 inches thick or even 2 inches. I also like a bone-in chop with a band of fat left on. The bone and the fat will add flavor and juiciness to the meat.

Pro tip #1: If you don’t see the thickness of chop you want, just ask the butcher to cut fresh chops for you. They are usually happy to accommodate.

For the delicious pork chops recipe here we’ll use bone-in loin rib chops that are approximately 1 pound each. Feel free to experiment with different cuts.

The Best Smoker to Use for Smoked Pork Chops

You really can use any type of smoker for cooking pork chops. I am partial to either a pellet grill or an electric smoker. I feel that a charcoal smoker is a little unpredictable when working with such a delicate protein. If there are hot spots, some chops may cook faster than others. 

A good pellet grill for this recipe is any of the Traeger models. You really don’t have to babysit these grills. And, you don’t have to add any water because the Trager brand pellets have an adequate amount of moisture content. Smoked Traeger pork chops are really delicious.

Wood pellets are fairly concentrated and impart a good amount of flavor into the chops. This is a good thing for pork loin chops. They are inherently mild in flavor, so go ahead and be aggressive with the smoke. I think mesquite and hickory are good choices. If you prefer a little milder flavor, try apple or cherry wood pellets. Fruit is a natural pairing with pork.

Don’t worry if you don’t have a Traeger pellet grill. You can use an electric or even gas smoker for this recipe. I do recommend that you fill the bowl in these smokers with liquid. I really like a mixture of water and apple cider or apple juice. Just fill the bowl halfway and check it and the wood chips every 45 to 60 minutes. Replenish as needed.

Pro tip #2: Some pit masters like to smoke their chops, then turn up the heat and sear them off on a hot grill for char marks and a crusty exterior. A pellet grill affords you this option. 

Brined and Smoked Pork Chops Recipe: A Step-by-Step Guide

I like brining lean pork chops prior to smoking them. I also like a creamy mustard sauce with a bit of a spicy bite. Any loin or shoulder chop will work for this recipe. If you aren’t using a pellet grill, follow the manufacturer’s instructions for setting up and tending to your type of smoker. Go ahead and double the recipe for a larger crowd.

Equipment 

Pro tip #3: It is important to use a non-reactive container when brining animal proteins. Aluminum, iron, and poor quality plastic can impart a bitter taste or chemical pollutants into the meat.

Prep Time: 5 minutes + 8 hours for brining

Cook Time: 2 hours

Servings: 4 

Ingredients

  • 4 bone-in pork loin rib chops, approximately 1-1/2 inches thick
  • 1 quart filtered water at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup coarse sea salt
  • 1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon whole peppercorns
  • 2 garlic cloves smashed
  • 1 teaspoon whole allspice
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Mustard sauce (recipe follows)
Brine the pork chops

Directions

Step 1. In a large container or bowl, combine the water salt, sugar, peppercorns, garlic, allspice, and bay leaves. Stir well to dissolve the salt and sugar. Add the pork chops into the brine and submerge completely. Cover the container with a lid or plastic wrap and refrigerate for 8 to 12 hours. 

Step 2. Remove the pork chops from the brine and rinse under cold water to remove the brine. Pat the chops dry with paper towels. Take a rack from the smoker and place the chops on it. Set this aside to allow the meat to come to room temperature while you prepare your smoker. 

Step 3. Prepare your smoker by filling the hopper with wood pellets. Plug in and turn on the smoker to establish a flame. Set the temperature to 250˚F and preheat the smoker with the top closed until it comes to temperature. 

Step 4. Place the rack with the pork chops inside the smoker. If a probe thermometer is attached, place it in the thickest part of one of the chops. Close the lid. Smoke the pork for 90 minutes and check the temperature. You are looking for an internal temperature of 145˚F. Continue smoking for approximately 30 minutes longer if the temperature is below that. (Prepare the sauce while the pork chops are smoking).

Step 5. Remove the pork chops to a clean cutting board and tent loosely with foil. Allow them to rest for 10 minutes before serving to ensure they retain moisture. Don’t skip this step. 

Step 6. Serve the pork chops with a creamy mustard sauce, warm applesauce, and your favorite smoked vegetables.

Smoked pork chops
Print Recipe Pin Recipe
5 from 3 votes

Brined and Smoked Pork Chops Recipe

Any loin or shoulder chop will work for this recipe. If you aren’t using a pellet grill, follow the manufacturer’s instructions for setting up and tending to your type of smoker. Go ahead and double the recipe for a larger crowd.
Prep Time8 hrs
Cook Time2 hrs
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Pork Chops, Smoked Pork
Servings: 1
Calories: 140kcal

Equipment

Glass, non-BPA plastic, or stainless steel container
plastic wrap
Paper towels
Pellet grill smoker
Mesquite, hickory, or apple wood pellets
Digital meat thermometer
Cutting board
Aluminum foil

Ingredients

  • 4 bone-in pork loin rib chops, approximately 1-1/2 inches thick
  • 1 quart filtered water at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup coarse sea salt
  • 1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp whole peppercorns
  • 2 garlic cloves smashed
  • 1 tsp whole allspice
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Mustard sauce

Instructions

  • In a large container or bowl, combine the water salt, sugar, peppercorns, garlic, allspice, and bay leaves. Stir well to dissolve the salt and sugar. 
  • Add the pork chops into the brine and submerge completely. 
  • Cover the container with a lid or plastic wrap and refrigerate for 8 to 12 hours. 
  • Remove the pork chops from the brine and rinse under cold water to remove the brine. 
  • Pat the chops dry with paper towels. Take a rack from the smoker and place the chops on it. Set this aside to allow the meat to come to room temperature while you prepare your smoker. 
  • Prepare your smoker by filling the hopper with wood pellets.
  • Plug in and turn on the smoker to establish a flame. Set the temperature to 250˚F and preheat the smoker with the top closed until it comes to temperature. 
  • Place the rack with the pork chops inside the smoker. If a probe thermometer is attached, place it in the thickest part of one of the chops. 
  • Close the lid. Smoke the pork for 90 minutes and check the temperature. 
  • You are looking for an internal temperature of 145˚F. Continue smoking for approximately 30 minutes longer if the temperature is below that. (Prepare the sauce while the pork chops are smoking).
  • Remove the pork chops to a clean cutting board and tent loosely with foil. 
  • Allow them to rest for 10 minutes before serving to ensure they retain moisture. Don’t skip this step. 
  • Serve the pork chops with a creamy mustard sauce, warm applesauce, and your favorite smoked vegetables.

Nutrition

Serving: 3oz | Calories: 140kcal

Download This Recipe

Save this recipe in your Cave Tools BBQ app or download other recipes from the community recipes exchange!

Brined and Smoked Pork Chops (105 downloads)


Creamy Mustard Sauce for Smoked Pork Chops

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 5 minutes

Servings: 4

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • 2/3 cup cream or half and half
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon prepared horseradish
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh tarragon
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh parsley

Directions 

Step 1. In a skillet over medium-high heat, add the chicken broth and warm it through. Stir in the cream, mustard, lemon juice, horseradish, salt, and pepper. Allow this to come to a slow boil, stirring often. 

Step 2. Reduce heat to medium and simmer the sauce uncovered for 5 minutes or until it has thickened just enough to barely stick to the back of a spoon. 

Step 3. Serve the sauce spooned over the smoked pork chops. Garnish with tarragon and parsley, if desired.

Download This Recipe

Save this recipe in your Cave Tools BBQ app or download other recipes from the community recipes exchange!

Creamy Mustard Sauce for Smoked Pork Chops (117 downloads)

Smoked pork chops recipe

Wrapping it Up

I think smokers were designed for cooking pork, a tricky protein to get right. Choose high quality, bone-in chops for best results. Make sure there is a bit of fat cap still on the chops for more flavor and moisture. 

Brining the chops will really help with the tenderness and flavor of the meat. Don’t be shy about your choice of wood pellets for this recipe. Mildly flavored pork chops can take the smoke from more aggressive woods like mesquite or hickory. 

Serve your pork chops with a creamy and slightly spicy sauce. Balance the meal out with a sweet side, such as warm applesauce, and a smoky vegetable. I personally like smoked asparagus with pork and apples. A light, dry red wine completes this delicious pork chops recipe. 

Each Share Saves a Steak From Being Cooked Well Done