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 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 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 fruit wood.
- Place seasoned pork chops on the smoker and smoke for 30 – 45 minutes.
- Preheat a cast iron pan as the temperature of the pork steaks rise to your desired finishing temperature. (but don’t add the butter yet)
- Pull the smoked pork chops when the internal temperature of the steaks are 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 10 minutes.
- Serve and pour the browned butter right over the steaks.
When is Pork Done?
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 to 135 – 140 degrees for medium rare. It is juicy and tender at that range.
What Wine to Pair with 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 apple wood 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.
Smoked Pork Chops Recipe with Reverse Sear
- Preheat smoker to 225 degrees (F) using oak or apple wood.
- Coat pork chops with olive oil and liberally apply the dry rub.
- Place the pork chop on the smoker and cook until internal temperature is 130 degrees (F) and then remove (about 45 minutes).
- When your temperature gets close to 130 degrees (F), preheat large cast iron skillet on stove top.
- Place butter into the preheated skillet, then chop, then herbs.
- Butter will melt quickly, be sure to quickly start basting the pork chops with the melted butter in the pan. Use a large spoon to do this. Flip after 2 minutes and repeat the basting for 2 more minutes.
- Remove pork chops from pan and let rest for 10 minutes tented with aluminum foil to let the juices redistribute. The internal temperature of the pork should be about 135 – 140 degrees (F).
- Cut and serve with your favorite sauce, we used the brown butter sauce from the pan. Just drizzle it right over the chops.
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