Are Smoked Pork Chops Better Brined or Dry Rubbed? Discover Two Mouthwatering Recipes! — Looking to add some flavor to your pork chops? Look no further than these mouthwatering smoked pork chop recipes! In this blog post, we will explore two delicious ways to prepare smoked pork chops – brined and dry rubbed. Whether you prefer a juicy and tender brined chop or a savory and flavorful dry rubbed chop, we’ve got you covered. Get ready to tantalize your taste buds and impress your guests with these delectable recipes. But first, let’s dive into choosing the right cut for smoked pork chops.
Choosing the Right Cut for Smoked Pork Chops
When it comes to creating the perfect smoked pork chops, selecting the right cut is crucial. Here are the varieties of pork chops you have to choose from:
- Loin chops: These are lean and tender, located near the lower back of the pig.
- Rib chops: Loin chops that come with the rib bone attached, adding more flavor.
- Center cut chops: They include both a tenderloin section and a steak portion, offering the best of both worlds.
- Shoulder chops: Cut from the front quarters, these are often marbled with fat for extra juiciness.
- Blade chops: A common cut from the shoulder area, these can be butterflied and are sometimes referred to as country-style ribs.
For smoking, a thicker cut of chop, particularly 1-1/2 to 2 inches, is recommended. Bone-in chops with the fat cap left on add incredible flavor and moisture, which are key for a successful smoke.
Brined Smoked Pork Chops with Herb Pesto Sauce
Preparing Your Brine
Brining is a process that helps keep your pork chops moist and flavorful during the smoking process. Here’s how to prepare your chops:
- Combine water, sea salt, brown sugar, peppercorns, garlic, and a bay leaf to create your brine.
- Submerge your pork chops fully in the brine.
- Refrigerate the brining pork chops for 8 hours to allow the flavors to penetrate.
Smoking the Brined Pork Chops
After your pork chops have been sufficiently brined, it’s time to smoke them to perfection:
- Rinse the pork chops and pat them dry to remove excess brine.
- Prepare your smoker by adding wood chips and an apple juice/water mixture for added flavor.
- Preheat your smoker to a stable 250°F.
- Place your pork chops in the smoker and let them cook for 90 minutes.
- Check the internal temperature of the chops; they should reach 145°F for optimal tenderness.
- If necessary, continue smoking until the desired temperature is reached.
- Allow the chops to rest for at least 10 minutes before serving to retain their juices.
Creating the Herb Pesto Sauce
While your chops are smoking, prepare a fresh herb pesto sauce to accompany them:
- In a food processor, pulse together olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, parsley, basil, rosemary, salt, and pepper until well combined.
- Adjust the seasoning to your taste.
- Serve this vibrant pesto sauce alongside your smoked pork chops for a burst of herby freshness.
Dry Rubbed Smoked Pork Chops
Mixing the Dry Rub
For those who prefer a dry rub to brining, here’s how to prepare your pork chops:
- Use a mixture of mustard and extra virgin olive oil to coat your 4 pork chops, approximately 1-1/2″ thick.
- Combine sea salt, brown sugar, smoked paprika, onion powder, garlic powder, and freshly ground pepper to create your dry rub.
- Cover the pork chops generously with the dry rub mixture, ensuring an even coat.
Smoking with the Dry Rub
Once your chops are seasoned:
- Preheat your smoker to 250°F.
- Place the pork chops in the smoker and let them cook for 90 minutes.
- Monitor the internal temperature, aiming for 145°F for a juicy result.
- Once cooked, let the chops rest for 10 minutes before serving to allow the juices to redistribute.
Pairing Sides with Smoked Pork Chops
Your smoked pork chops deserve side dishes that complement their rich flavors. Here are some suggestions that pair beautifully with both brined and dry-rubbed chops:
- Cabbage and Apple Slaw: The crispness and tang of the slaw cut through the smokiness of the pork.
- Smoked Cabbage: A smoky twist on a classic side, smoked cabbage brings out the flavors in the pork.
- Smoked Macaroni and Cheese: A creamy and smoky side that’s a crowd-pleaser and complements the savory notes of the chops.
Additional Tips for Smoking Pork Chops
Here are some pro tips to ensure that your smoked pork chops are a cut above the rest:
- Always allow your pork chops to reach room temperature before smoking to ensure even cooking.
- Consider using a meat thermometer to check internal temperatures without repeatedly opening the smoker, which can cause fluctuations in temperature.
- Experiment with different wood chips like hickory or mesquite for varying smoky flavors that can complement your chosen recipe.
- Use the resting time to prepare your table or finishing touches on your side dishes, ensuring everything is ready to serve at the optimal time.
Remember, whether you choose to brine or use a dry rub, the key to perfect smoked pork chops lies in the preparation, patience during the cooking process, and the willingness to experiment with flavors that suit your palate. With these recipes and tips, your smoked pork chops will be the highlight of any meal.
FAQ & Common Questions
Q: What is the benefit of smoking pork chops?
A: Smoking pork chops helps to ensure that the meat remains moist and flavorful.
Q: What is the recommended thickness for pork chops when smoking them?
A: It is recommended to use a thicker cut of pork chop, around 1-1/2 to 2 inches, for smoking.
Q: Can any type of pork chop be used for the brined and smoked recipe?
A: Yes, pretty much any type of chop will work for the brined and smoked recipe.
Q: What type of wood chips should be used when smoking pork chops?
A: Apple or hickory wood chips are recommended for smoking pork chops.
Q: What is a good sauce to serve with smoked pork chops?
A: Herb pesto is a delicious sauce that pairs well with smoked pork chops.