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!
Recipe: Grilled Pork Chops
- 4 pork chops
- 2 quarts ice cold water
- 1/3 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.
Pork Chop Seasoning
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon onion powder/granules
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder/granules
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon ground mustard
- 1/8 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.
I get your emails, and I love your blog. I understand your focus is on healthy eating and avoiding processed foods, not animal rights. However, I sure wish you’d stop publishing recipes that use meat from pigs. You’re a smart, informed person, so I’m sure you know the issues. I won’t belabor the point, but I’m sending you three pieces of information.
From the Washington Post:
And pigs are as smart as dogs and are capable of complex social and emotional relationships.
Finally, I think this photo of female pigs in gestation crates will break your heart.
Thanks for your consideration,
Thank you very much for taking the time to comment. I do understand your concerns and appreciate you sharing the links.
I really try hard to create a blog that’s respectful of all different viewpoints. I totally agree with you that traditional pork production is a very nasty business, and it’s something I don’t support. That’s why I made a very concerted effort to educate folks by sharing tip #4 in my blog post:
While my intent isn’t to change your mind on pork consumption, I’ll also share a quote from Barry Estabrook about eating pork from a recent article published by Time:
Again, I appreciate your feedback and agree with 99% of what you’re saying. It comes down to whether sustainably-raised pastured pork is a good alternative. I respect your decision that it is not. I’ve simply made a different decision.
In general the hope and mission of my blog is that we can always learn from each other. We’re never going to agree on everything 100% of the time. That said, we can all be more informed consumers by listening to one another and respecting each other’s points of view!
Thanks so much for writing back! I didn’t see your tip because I didn’t read the recipe, but I appreciate very much that you’re doing your best to educate those who do eat pork. Nevertheless, as you know, the amount of humanely-raised pork available to consumers wouldn’t come close to meeting the demand if suddenly everyone wanted it. And, in addition, many consumers don’t have access to humanely-raised pork and/or can’t afford it. I believe that eventually, pressure from consumers will lead to the elimination of factory farms, but it’s going to take a very long time.
Thanks for the good work that you do.
I wish everyone could communicate their ideas so clearly and respectfully on the internet. How refreshing.