Deliciously tender and juicy pork chops from the grill are easy to make when you choose the right cut of pork and prep with a one-hour brine.

Two bone-in grilled pork chops coated with barbecue rub on a cutting board.

Why We Love This Recipe

If you’ve ever made grilled pork chops and had them turn out dry and tough, you’re not alone. However, deliciously tender, juicy chops are a cinch to make provided you have the right cut of pork and an hour to bathe them in a simple brine before cooking. We also like to coat them with our own sweet-and-smoky barbecue rub. It adds flavor and the sugar in it caramelizes on the outside of the chops like a glaze.

Key Ingredients

These tasty chops turn out perfectly every time if you follow our list of tips for success. Let’s start with a few words about the ingredients.

  • The right type of pork chops: Bone-in rib chops are our number one choice for grilling. Choose chops between 3/4 and 1-inch thick with nice marbling and resist the urge to trim them as the rim of fat around the outside adds extra moisture and flavor. If you can’t get bone-in rib chops, the next best choice would be bone-in center-cut chops. These chops are tender and flavorful, but generally have less marbling than rib chops and consequently are not quite as juicy.
  • A homemade brine: A quick and easy brine made with water, kosher salt, sugar, and a couple of cloves of garlic helps to tenderize the pork chops and keep them moist and juicy despite the intense heat of the grill. During grilling season we make up a couple of quarts of this brine (minus the garlic) and keep it refrigerated. It can be used on pork tenderloin, boneless chicken breasts, even salmon fillets.
  • A simple rub for added flavor: This recipe calls for a coating of our Smoky BBQ Rub to be added to the chops just before grilling. It’s a simple mixture of sweet and smoked paprika, salt, pepper, brown sugar, dry mustard, onion powder, and garlic powder, and it’s the same one we use for our pulled pork recipe. If you don’t want to fuss with making a rub, no worries, it’s not imperative as the brine adds sweet and savory flavor and a hint of garlic.
Juicy pork chops fresh off the grill and resting before being served.

Three Steps to Juicy Pork Chops from the Grill

  1. Brine the chops: Combine 2 cups of water with the salt and sugar in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir until all the salt and sugar has dissolved, then remove from the heat and stir in 2 cups of cold water along with 2 cloves of garlic. Set the brine aside to cool, then pour it into a large, heavy-duty zip-top bag and add the pork chops. Remove as much air as possible and seal tightly. Refrigerate the chops for 1 hour, turning the bag over after 30 minutes.
  2. Prepare the chops: Preheat a gas or charcoal grill to medium-high heat (about 400°F). Remove the chops from the brine and pat them dry on both sides with paper towels. Sprinkle about 1 teaspoon of the Smoky BBQ Rub on each side of the chops and rub it into the meat with the back of a spoon. Alternately, you can rub them with a little olive oil and season with a pinch of salt and some freshly ground black pepper. Because of the salt in the brine, be careful when seasoning the outside of the meat.
  3. Grill the chops: Oil the grill grates thoroughly and add the chops. Grill for 4 minutes on the first side, turn and continue grilling until cooked through, 3 to 4 minutes additional. You can check for doneness with an instant-read thermometer and remove the chops from the grill when they reach 135 to 140°F (for medium). Allow the pork chops to rest for 5 minutes before serving.

Brined and Grilled Pork Chops FAQs

How can you keep pork chops from drying out on the grill?

Choose bone-in chops that are around 3/4-inch thick, have some marbling and fat around the outside, and soak them in a brine solution (water, salt, and sugar) for one hour prior to grilling.

How do you brine pork chops for grilling?

Combine 2 cups of water with 4 tablespoons of salt and 1/2 cup of sugar in a saucepan. Simmer and stir until the salt and sugar dissolve. Remove from the heat, add 2 cups of cold water and cool completely before brining the chops for 1 hour.

How long should you cook brined pork chops on the grill?

For 3/4 to 1-inch thick chops, cook on well-oiled grates for 4 minutes on the first side, 3 to 4 minutes on the second, or until a thermometer registers (135 to 140°F for medium). Let rest for 5 minutes before serving.

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Juicy Grilled Pork Chops

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Deliciously tender and juicy pork chops from the grill are easy to make when you choose the right cut of pork and prep with a 1-hour brine.

Ingredients

  • 4 bone-in pork rib chops, 3/4 to 1-inch thick – see notes
  • 2-1/2 to 3 tablespoons [Smoky BBQ Rub]

For the brine:

  • 4 cups water, divided
  • 4 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed

Instructions

  • Make the brine by combining 2 cups of water with the salt and sugar in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir until all the salt and sugar has dissolved, then remove from the heat and stir in 2 cups of cold water along with the garlic. Set aside.
  • Once the brine has cooled completely, pour it into a large, heavy-duty zip-top bag and add the pork chops. Remove as much air as possible and seal tightly. Refrigerate the chops for 1 hour, turning the bag over after 30 minutes to ensure even brining.
  • Preheat a gas or charcoal grill to medium-high heat. Remove the chops from the brine and pat them dry on both sides with paper towels. Discard the brine.
  • If desired, sprinkle about 1 teaspoon of the Smoky BBQ Rub on each side of the chops and rub it into the meat with the back of a spoon. Alternately, you can rub them with a little olive oil and season with a pinch of salt and some freshly ground black pepper. Because of the salt in the brine you'll want to be sure to go easy when seasoning the outside of the meat.
  • Oil the grill grates and add the chops. Grill for 4 minutes on the first side, turn and continue grilling until cooked through, 3 to 4 minutes additional. Check for doneness with an instant-read thermometer and remove the chops from the grill when they reach 135 to 140°F (for medium). Allow the chops to rest for 5 minutes before serving.

Recipe Notes

Tips for success:

 
Use bone-in pork rib chops about 3/4-inch thick. Look for nicely marbled chops and don’t trim the fat around the edges as it will help the chops stay tender and moist.
Be sure to cool the brine completely before adding the chops. If you can, make it ahead and refrigerate it.
Oil the grill grates well just prior to adding the chops, don’t overcook and be sure to let them rest prior to serving so all the juices can be reabsorbed into the meat. 
Calories: 247kcal, Carbohydrates: 5g, Protein: 24g, Fat: 14g, Saturated Fat: 5g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 8g, Cholesterol: 66mg, Sodium: 550mg, Sugar: 4g
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