Today’s recipe is inspired by a popular item served at the Minnesota State Fair.
Just about every year since I moved to Minnesota I’ve visited the State Fair and the grilled pork chop on a stick has been one of my favorites. In a sea of junk food, it’s always been a really simple, delicious meal.
But as my food values have changed and I’ve grown more concerned about where my food comes from, I decided I’d like to try and replicate the amazing flavor of this grilled pork chop at home using sustainably-raised, pastured pork. So here’s the delicious recipe I’ve come up with and some tips to grilling a better pork chop!
4 tips for grilling a great pork chop!
Grilling a great pork chop isn’t hard. You just need to know some tricks to making them turn out delicious. Here are my four tried and true tips for making a great, grilled pork chop:
- Brine. Brining brings a whole lot of flavor and juiciness to pork. This really is worth the effort so try to make the time to brine. Do it the night before, the morning of, or even just a couple hours before you grill, and you’re all set!
- Season. I’ve been fiddling around with this one for a while. Below is my “secret” blend of seasonings that brings out the amazing flavors when grilling grilled pork chops.
- Smoke. I love grilling with a little smoke from mesquite, hickory, or applewood chips. Adding a smoker box to your gas or charcoal grill is super easy, and it really provides an amazing touch of flavor.
- Choose Wisely. Most pork products are the result of very inhumane treatment so I recommend choosing sustainable, responsibly-raised pork. I you’re interested in learning more check out “Pig Tales: An Omnivore’s Quest for Sustainable Meat” by Barry Estabrook. And to find local, sustainable, pastured-raised options, ask your butcher, check your local food co-op, or search for a farmer at LocalHarvest.org.
Ready to start grilling? Then here are your recipes! Ready, set, grill!
- 4 pork chops
- 2 quarts ice cold water
- ⅓ cup kosher or sea salt
- 1 recipe Pork Chop Seasoning Blend (see recipe below)
- Make brine in large bowl by combining water and salt.
- Soak pork chops in brine for at least 1-2 hours in the refrigerator (all day or overnight works best).
- Preheat gas grill to high or start charcoal grill and get very hot.
- Remove pork chops from brine and pat dry.
- Season to taste with pork chop seasoning blend.
- Grill pork chop on covered grill for about 5-6 minutes on each side.
- Cook your chop until it’s around 135 degrees (if necessary moving it to a cooler part of the grill so it doesn't burn) then remove from grill. Residual heat will bring the pork chop up to 145 degrees F—the safe temperature recommended by the USDA. If you prefer a medium to well done chop cook to 150 degrees F—just realize that the pork chop will be dryer and tougher.
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon onion powder/granules
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder/granules
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon ground pepper
- ¼ teaspoon ground mustard
- ⅛ teaspoon ground thyme
- 2 dashes nutmeg
- Mix seasonings together.
Kitchen Tips and Resources:
Here are some of the suggestions mentioned above that can help you grill up a better pork chop!
- I bought this smoker box for my grill and it has lastest decades!
- Here’s a great source for organic, pesticide-free mesquite, hickory, and applewood chips to get you “smoking” with your grill.
- “Pig Tales: An Omnivore’s Quest for Sustainable Meat” by Barry Estabrook is a great read that will help you learn more about where your meat comes from.