These Reverse Sear Smoked Pork Chops are smoked first for that awesome flavor, and then finished hot and fast medium rare for a perfectly cooked pork chop.
Sometimes when I hear people turn their noses at the idea of smoked pork chops, I can’t help but ask them why they dislike such an amazing cut of meat. Without fail, I hear the classic story of growing up with overcooked pork chops. (SHHHH DON’T TELL MY MOM!) So when that happens, I try to turn on my charm and convince them to rethink the classic pork chop oven bake, and try it out on a grill or smoker.
For these smoked pork chops we’re doing the reverse sear method to make sure you get that gorgeous slow smoke infusion, then finish on the grill, or in this case, a hot cast iron pan, for that great sear and char.
What is a Pork Chop? The Cut
The pork chop is typically a loin cut of the pig, essentially it is the t-bone steak of pork. You can get them bone in or boneless. I love bone in for flavor and presentation and I like the butcher to cut me a thick piece, like at least 1 ½ to 2 inches thick. You can also use this recipe with any thick cut pork steak.
It is relatively lean unlike its beef cousin, but you will still want to look for good marbling. Not all pork is created equal, consider the well marbled Kurobuta Pork from Snake River Farms as an example of well marbled and incredibly flavored pork. Or seek out some local pork farmers for the best local pork you can find.
This is really low maintenance. You may want to trim excess fat on edge of meat if there is any. For the most part, there is very little trimming needed for smoked pork chops.
Start with a small coating of olive oil, this will help the rub stick to the meat. Then follow with your dry rub. You can always go salt and pepper but we like our ultimate rub recipe for pork. It is what it was made for. It has a little sugar, a little savory, and a little spice.
Smoked Pork Chops
We are going to reverse sear the pork chops to lock in smoke flavor, then finish in a cast iron pan with a butter bath or baste as some call it.
- Preheat smoker to 225 degrees Fahrenheit (F) using fruitwood.
- Place seasoned pork chops on the smoker and smoke for 30 – 45 minutes.
- Preheat a cast-iron pan as the smoked pork chop temp rises to your desired finishing temperature. (but don’t add the butter yet)
- Pull the smoked pork chops when the internal temperature of the steaks is 130 degrees Fahrenheit. Use a good instant-read thermometer like the Thermoworks MK4 Thermapen for the best results.
- Place the butter in the preheated cast iron pan and then add Steaks and the herbs. The butter will melt quickly. Spoon the melted butter on the top of the grilled pork chop for 2 minutes.
- Flip and repeat spooning the butter over the top of the steak for another 2 minutes.
- Pull the steak (the internal temperature will be closer to 135 – 140 degrees F) and let it rest for 10 minutes.
- Serve and pour the browned butter right over the steaks.
How Long to Smoke Pork Chops?
In the past, the USDA guidance was to cook pork to 165 degrees F. This is on the top end of well done and recently the guidance lowered that range to 145 degrees. We like our smoked pork chops cooked until its temp reaches 135 – 140 degrees for medium-rare. It is juicy and tender at that range.
What Wine to Pair with Smoked Pork Chops
Pork works great with so many red wines (Pinot Noir comes to mind). But it also works great with white wines, especially barrel-aged white wines like Chardonnay. Not only does the butteriness and creaminess of a barrel-aged Chardonnay a fantastic match for the pan sauce we created, but the oak notes are also a nice match for the sweet applewood we used in smoking the meat.
Other Grilled Pork Chop Ideas
- Grilled Pork Tenderloin with Fried Sage Sauce
- Crispy Pork Belly
- Reverse Sear Pork Chops – Tomahawk Style
- Grilled Pork Chops with Brown Butter Sauce
Side Ideas for Smoked Pork Chops
This recipe was originally published in October of 2017 and updated October 2020 to include more recipe details, sides, and other pork dishes.
For more tasty recipes, BBQ tips and tricks, check out the Recipe Index.
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Can I smoke the pork chops and refrigerate or freeze them and pull them out later in the week and reverse sear them? I ask since they won’t be smoked to a done temperature and I’m worried about spoilage.
Sean Martin says
Janie, yes you can smoke first and then put into the fridge for searing later. But, I would not freeze. I would smoke and fridge for no more than two days. Before searing let them sit for 30 minutes before cooking, and re-season.
Could you do this in an oven if so what would be the temp and time to cook the porkchops I don’t have a grill but I would love to do this at home
Sean Martin says
You can definitely do this at home in an oven. I would reverse the process. I would sear the outside first, then put into an oven until the desired finished internal temperature. Since there is no smoke element, you can run the oven at 375 and cook it faster. Great question!
No reason you can’t do the sear in the butter etc last.
Tom Patterson says
This was my first try with my smoker . It was the best ever! Cut the salt to 1 tbsp based on comments and it was perfect!
Sean Martin says
Tom thanks so much for taking the time to drop a comment!! Love the feedback and glad it came out, especially for breaking in the smoker!!! What kind of smoker did you cook it on?
I have been cooking chops and chicken breasts this way for years. It is by far the best way I’ve found. The only thing that I do a bit different is I will marinate the meat from 3 to 24 hours in a dark brown sugar and apple cider or balsamic vinegar rub, with my favorite spices. Then before cooking I dry, add oil and pack meat with brown sugar and spice rub, pack thick! Chicken out around 150, then fry. Awesome!
Sean Martin says
That sounds amazing!!! Especially the fry part, the texture plus that marinate base seems like it would be a great combination.
doug davis says
Uhm “reverse sear” means cooking it to temp first and THEN searing the outside. You’ve got your steps backwards.
Thanks for your comment. That is actually exactly what we did in this recipe. We slow smoked the meat to allow it to slowly come to temp, then finished it on a hot cast iron pan for sear. You don’t want the meat to come completely to temp in the first step, otherwise you will overcook the meat when you sear in the final step. Cheers 🙂
doug davis says
Weird. Youre right the steps definitely say that now, guess I misread it the first time.
I can understand the confusion. Most restaurants will do the first step in an oven, then finish it on a pan or grill. We used our grill (which is usually associated with hot) to slowly bring it to temp. It’s the same idea here, but we used the smoker to allow the meat to both slowly come up to temp and also infuse it with some sweet smoke flavor. 🙂
What if I don’t have a smoker?
Judy, you can reverse sear without a smoker. Or if you have a gas grill, use wood chips in a foil pouch for the smoke period. Otherwise I would consider the more traditional method of high heat sear, then put into the oven until your desired doneness.
You can also reverse sear by putting the pork chops on a wire rack in the over at 225 or 250 until 10 degrees below your desired level of doneness. Then sear them in the cast iron pan.
Jimmy Gristle says
Get yourself a pellet grill/smoker. As easy to use and maintain as gas, and can hold temperature from 220F up to 500F. I’m enjoying my Camp Chef grill (great features, cheap), but people love their other brands too.
We’ve got em all. A pellet, an offset, a Weber kettle, and a couple green eggs. We love sharing how to do certain recipes on all types of cookers 🙂
Hillary Harper says
These look incredible! My mom always made the best pork chops, so they hold a special place in my heart 🙂 No need to convince me!
This sounds great! I have tried several pork chop recipes which have refreshed my perspective on them. I’ll have to try this one too!
I like that you have the idea of white wine as well when so many people only think red wine with meat. Looks delicious!
Catherine @ Ten Thousand Hour Mama says
Haha, I hear you on trying to change people’s minds about food they associate with growing up. I do the same for the poor, misunderstood green bean – one of my favorite vegetables too many people think have to be from the can. Yuck!
Kelly Mahan says
WOW, I’m really into this! And it only takes over an hour to make, so I’m considering it for the next meal.