Traditionally BBQs and grilling at our place have been reserved for steaks, lamb chops and sausgaes -ie – red meat. Now I love red meat as much as the next gal but sometimes you gotta mix it up.
Grilling pork chops is an entirely different experience than grilling red meat. While steaks can be charred on the outside and a delicious shade of pink inside, pork needs to be more uniformly cooked throughout. Therefore, use a medium direct heat while grilling pork so the inside cooks evenly with the outside.
Keep in mind when assembling the ingredients for the herb rub that it is more of a template than a hard-and-fast rule. We aren’t going for dainty precision with this technique, just a uniform infusion of robust herbal flavors.
Before we get into the actual cooking here are three great tips from outdoor cooking expert Fred Thompson, to endure you get juicy delicipus chops and not an old piece leathery meat.
Tip #1: Go thick, not thin. Don’t try to grill thin pork chops. Bread them and fry them, and they’ll taste great. But if you put them on the grill, they’ll cook too fast and end up tough and flavorless. Make sure you get chops that are at least 3/4 to 1 inch thick. Bone-in is the way to go.
Tip #2: Brine, brine, brine. Brining pork chops, even for a short time, provides a little wiggle room on doneness. If yu are like us and get distracted and cook the chops a little too long, the brine will help keep the meat moist. And remember you want the chops to sear, not steam so don’t forget to pat the chops dry with a paper towel.
Tip #3: Watch the heat. Pork doesn’t like high heat. Put a chop over a hot fire and you’ll end up with a tough piece of meat, even if you’ve brined it. Setting up your grill for indirect grilling is a good way to go. You can put a quick sear on both sides of the chop and then move it to the indirect-heat area for slower cooking.
- 2 tbsp. Kosher salt
- 6-8 large fresh basil leaves, torn into pieces
- 2 stems fresh rosemary, leaves stripped from stems and crushed
- 2 tbsp. fresh thyme leaves, crushed with fingers
- 3 cloves garlic, smashed, peeled and roughly chopped
- 1 tbsp. Black Hawaiian salt
- 4 thick-cut bone-in pork chops, approximately 1” thick
- Combine salt, basil, rosemary, thyme, garlic and pepper thoroughly in a small bowl. Rub mixture over all sides of pork chops until thoroughly covered.
- Scrub grill grates with a wire brush prior to starting. Preheat grill to medium before adding pork chops over direct heat. Cook for 7-8 minutes, turn once, but otherwise keep the lid closed as much as possible. If your chops are thinner or thicker than 1”, adjust cook time accordingly.
- Remove chops from heat, cover and let rest for 3 - 5 minutes before serving. Serve with a grilled summer vegetable medley and top with a pat of compound butter seasoned with the same herbs used in the rub.