I have a new found love of pork chops! Pork chops were rarely a go to option for me. I think I never really prepared them all that well. My pork chop desires started in the cold of February at my annual pilgrimage to the mountains called “Coyote Camp.” It’s like buck camp, but with Coyotes. It’s also like my buck camp in that absolutely no hunting happens! It is really just a way for a bunch of guys to get together to catch up, play cards, have some beer, and eat! Someone is in charge of each meal. For dinner, one evening’s cook chose marinated grilled pork chops. He sourced these monster, dinner plate sized, pork chops from a local butcher shop. It was his recipe I adapted to my applewood smoked pork chops.
Applewood Smoked Pork Chop Marinade
This one is simple! I will give it to you in proportions and you can make the volume you need.
- 1/2 Soy Sauce
- 1/2 Olive Oil
- Minced or Diced Garlic to taste (Depending upon volume, about 1 teaspoon per 1/2 pound of pork chops)
Sometimes less is more! Place the soy sauce, olive oil, and garlic in a bag, bowl, or pan. I just like to make sure I can easily stir and agitate the pork chops over time. I hate using single serve plastic, however, a zip-lock bag does wonders for marinating.
Smoked Pork Chops on the grill
There is nothing that can give flavor to your favorite grill toppers like some natural wood smoke. Many people think smoking is only achievable with a large pit pulled behind your truck like you see on one of those BBQ competition TV shows or at the local fair. Well, the same flavors can be achieved while smoking on the grill.
What you need:
- Wood chips
- Charcoal grill or a smoker box
- Container to soak wood chips in water
So you can acquire wood chips almost anywhere. However, just any wood won’t really do. Sometimes you read that something is “hardwood” smoked. Hard to say what varieties of wood are being used but I will outline some varieties below. There are some specific hard woods that have been proven to be delicious. Each have their own distinct smoke flavor. For pork chops, I prefer applewood. You can buy the chips in bags in most stores that carry grilling supplies. You could go harvest the wood yourself, but that is an article for a different day. For the sake of time and ease, I bought a bag of applewood chips.
Best Wood For Smoking
Lighter Sweet Woods (Fruit Trees)
Applewood smoked pork is amazing. Try it with bacon!
Stronger Savory Woods
You can find birch paired with salmon in many classic smoking recipes.
One Wood Smoke Flavor Stands Alone
Use this one judiciously. Too much mesquite smoke will overpower your meat. Brisket holds up to mesquite quite well, but if you are doing a day long brisket, keep the amount of mesquite used to a minimum.
Wood chips need to soak before they go on the grill. 30 minutes in warm water will do the trick.
After they have soaked, you can place the wood chips directly on your charcoal or you can use a smoker box on a gas grill. For charcoal, the grill needs to be lit and ready to cook on. Depending upon how much smoke flavor you want, you may be cooking for a bit before you sprinkle the chips through the grill onto the coals. I always add the chips in small piles to the coals just before I start grilling. It takes a few minutes for them to start smoking. For the smoker box, it is best to add the box to the gas grill before you light it.
You are now ready to grill!
Best Sides for grilling
I am sure everyone has some ideas on side dishes. I will share with you one of the easiest and most flavorful options I have in my arsenal. Grilled broccoli can be an amazing side dish and pairs well with smoked pork chops. You can make it with just a touch of oil, salt, and pepper, or, for more flavor, use a little marinade. This is not a deeply held secret, so I am fine sharing it with you. Gazebo Room Greek Dressing can be used as an amazing marinade. Cut the broccoli into large uniform pieces, drizzle some dressing on them, and place directly on the grill!
Applewood Smoked Pork Chops
Grill the marinated pork chops about 3 minutes per side on medium-high heat. You can add the wood chips to your charcoal grill about half way through or you should smell the smoke from the smoker box as you are finishing this. Move the pork chops off of direct heat, close the grill, and allow them to capture the smoke flavor for about 7-10 minutes. bask in the beautiful smell of applewood and pork fat! A baked potato can finish off the meal.
Dinner Music With A View
Pandora’s Ella Fitzgerald radio station is a go to favorite of mine for dinner. If you aren’t in the habit of listening to music during dinner, trying this out will change you! Playing beautiful music while eating is easy to do and adds a level of ambiance that changes the experience.