Smoked Pork Chops – Extra Thick
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In this recipe tutorial, we’ll be discussing smoked pork chops and not just any pork chops – these are extra thick, man sized chops and this recipe will show you how to make them into something extraordinary.
I’ve never gotten real excited about pork chops. Without gravy and a lot of sides, they always seem to be a little on the dry side, not a lot of flavor just sort of boring.
These particular chops are brined overnight, seasoned with my original rub and cooked to perfection in the smoker to produce a smoked pork chop that is unlike anything you’ve probably ever tasted.
In case you can’t tell, I’m a little excited about these and I can hardly wait to show you how I did it!
Brine Time: 5-9 hours | Prep Time: 15 minutes | Cook Time: 2 hours | Smoker Temp: 220°F | Meat Finish Temp: 145°F | Recommended Wood: Apple or Cherry
- 4-6 extra thick pork chops (center cut or whatever your preference is)
- 64 oz apple cider (apple juice will also work)
- 1/2 cup kosher salt
- Olive oil
- Jeff’s original rub
You don’t always hear a lot about brining pork like you do with poultry but I think it makes a big difference on things like pork chops. It adds lots of moisture to the meat and it adds flavor so it’s well worth your time to do it.
Add 1/2 cup of kosher salt to 1/2 gallon of apple cider and stir until all of the salt is dissolved.
Once the brine is made up, place the pork chops into a large Ziploc bag sitting down in a large bowl for leak protection.
Pour enough brine into the bag to cover the chops and seal them up. Be sure to press all of the air out of the bag.
Place the bowl with the bag into the fridge so it can remain cold during the brining process.
Let the pork chops brine for at least 4-5 hours but you can even leave them overnight if you desire.
Once they are done brining, take them out of the fridge and rinse them well under cold water.
Note: you will notice that they sometimes get a grey color after brining.
As most of you know, my original rub is extremely versatile and can be used with so many things and in so many ways. These chops are no different and my rub is used to lightly season the tops and bottom.
To accomplish this, pour a little olive oil on the pork chops
Spread out the oil with a basting brush and sprinkle my original rub all over the tops and bottoms of the chops
The pork chops are now ready to smoke. I like to leave them sitting on the counter for a few minutes while I go get the smoker ready. If it will take more than about 20-30 minutes then it might be smart to just place them in the fridge to be on the safe side.
You may have noticed that I don’t always mention the smoker that I used for each particular recipe. I have had a slight issue with folks feeling that the recipe is intended for a particular smoker if I mention it. To clear things up, I try to keep it generic as much as possible.
I have quite a large arsenal of smokers at my disposal including but not limited to the following:
- 22 inch Weber Smoky Mountain
- Great Outdoors Smoky Mountain propane smoker (Big Block)
- XL Big Green Egg
- Brinkmann Electric (the red one)
- Brinkmann charcoal “ECB” Bullet smoker (modified)
- Bradley 4-Rack Digital Smoker
- Brinkmann Horizontal smoker with side firebox
- Meadow Creek TS 120P Reverse Flow smoker with insulated firebox
- Drum Smoker (homemade)
- Traeger Lil’ Texas Pellet Smoker
- Smokin-it Model 2D
- Bradley Smart Smoker
- Cajun Injector XL Electric Smoker
- Nordic Ware 365 Stovetop Smoker
As you can see, I use a lot of them and all of my recipes can be smoked on any of the above smokers as long as I maintain the temperature and the smoke for the allotted amount of time prescribed in the recipe.
I am constantly adding to my repertoire, not so that I can have a lot of smokers to repair, keep clean, etc. but because I feel that it is important that I use the type of smokers that my readers are using.
I have my favorites and I have ones that I do not like to use at all but I continue to use them all for the sake of research.
Set the smoker up for cooking at 225-240°F using apple and/or cherry wood for smoke.
Once the smoker is up to temperature and ready to smoke, place the pork chops on a Bradley rack, Weber grill pan or a cooling rack or right on the smoker grate for maximum smoke exposure.
Be sure to leave about an inch between each chop to make sure the smoke has great access to each one.
My pork chops where around 1-1/2 inches thick and took about 2 hours to reach 145°F. Remember, pork chops are done and safe to eat per the USDA at 145°F.
Be sure to keep an eye on the temperature using a digital thermometer such as the amazing Thermapen (which I love by the way) or if you prefer, use a remote digital probe meat thermometer such as the “Smoke” by Thermoworks. This is the one I use and there is none better in my opinion. Dual probes, easy alarm settings, 300 foot range, built like a tank, and much more.
When the pork chops reach 145°F they are finished cooking and can be removed from the smoker. I recommend placing them in a foil pan and covering it with foil to keep them warm and allow them to rest for a few minutes before serving.
Serve the smoked pork chops with a salad or go all country and home style by serving them up with mashed potatoes, green beans, grilled or smoked corn and the works!
They are shown here with corn on the cob, and smothered potatoes.
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We got some “country ribs” from a local high end butcher shop and they were obviously loin ribs, not shoulder. Not quite as thick as these chops. I did this recipe, running the MES a little hotter. About 230-240. About an hour in the smoker, with cherry pellets. Very juicy and good!
Trying this again. Beautiful loin ribs. Running a little hotter with mesquite pellets this time.
I was just wondering what to make for dinner tomorrow night…problem solved….the clincher was the cut up carrots….I had just cleaned out my pantry and found a can of pinto beans and one of white beans..so was a no–brainer…but I like the idea of the carrots…also the olives…never have used it in chili before, so will be a new experience…
Jeff, looking at your Smoked Pork Chops – Extra Thick for this weekend Super Bowl dinner. I use a BGE. You do not mention to use the direct or indirect method. Can I assume that if you do not designate which method to use, direct is the way to go?
Gary, Smoking is “almost” always an indirect form of cooking. I try to remember to mention direct vs. indirect within each recipe but sometimes I forget. A better approach would be to assume indirect unless I mention doing something directly over the heat.
These pork chops should be cooked with indirect heat.
I have purchased your cook book plus your sauce recipes. Love all of it. The frustrating thing is you publish a recipe such as the smoked pork chops and there very seldom is a printable recipe…………with out printing a book. I always check if it is in your cook book but isn’t in it Is there a printable recipe for the smoked pork chops?
Can boneless pork chops be used for this recipe?
Yes, boneless is just fine.
I don’t want to buy no stinken recipe, where can I buy the rub
That is your privilege;-)
We just started selling the rub at Amazon.. our first large shipment sold out in just a couple of days! We’ll have more at Amazon very soon and I’ll let everyone know once that’s in place.
Hi Jeff, I get a lot of recipes and ideas from your site, keep up the good work. I am curious, as you mentioned all the different smokers you have, have you or anyone you know tried a Camp Chef pellet smoker? That is what I use and everything I read about Traeger, in my opinion, they are very similar but the Camp Chef has an extra geature with the ash dump that makes it very well thought out and easy to keep clean.
Great recipe and instructions.
Did the brine and it saved the day on mothers day.
Did the brine for 6 hrs and used the rub recipe but added a little more heat with powered red pepper. Accidentally cooked to long, tempted at at 160. Pulled them out of the smoker, threw them in a aluminum pan, added lightly regular bbq sause and a little brown sugar, covered them for about twenty minutes then hit them on a hot grill for about 5 minutes and they were about the best thing I’ve had in a while. Tender, not to dry and a lot of flavor. Thank you Jeff
Thinking about using this brine on a rack of pork. Would the pork be ok to be in the brine for 2 days?
Jeff – do you keep adding wood so there is smoke for the entire 2+ hours of cooking time?
I generally do keep adding light smoke for the entire time on these. You can technically add smoke for about 1 hour and it would have a nice smoky flavor but I like to replicate the continuous smoking effect that meat gets in a traditional wood smoker when I am using smaller charcoal, electric and gas smokers.
I am curious, you never mention spritzing or mopping any of your meats. Is this something you do not do or is there a reason why you do not mention what you use to maintain moisture during the cooking process?
I know I’m late to the party but thought I would chime in to help any others who follow… I too employ the 3-2-* method but my final step is to grill over a very low flame. When I’ve had to have large quantities of ribs ready I’ve done them in batches the day before, leaving the final step until right before the party. I usually cool them as quickly as possible after the “2” hours without smoke. Once cooled I re-wrap in individual foil packets then refrigerate overnight. The next day I add a little water to the packets/ribs and throw them on the grill on indirect heat. Once heated through I unwrap and brush on my finishing sauce, placing the unwrapped ribs on the grill until the sauce caramalizes. I brush on a little “fresh” sauce once they come off the grill. I know most purists prefer the sauce on the side but I find that the layers of smokey pork goodness topped with a flavourful rub, sticky caramalized bbq sauce and fresh sauce give it a wonderful and well-received flavour profile.
@SJC, did you rinse the brine off really well with water after? If you forget that step (which I have lol), your meat will be pretty salty. Give it another try. The brine keeps your meat from drying out so it’s worth the effort (especially with pork and turkey).
Thanks! It was my first time to brine anything and yes… I was in a hurry and did forget to wash it off. :o) I did wonder if that made the difference.
I did the brine overnight, since I was preparing everything the day before, and you said it would be fine to do so. Anyway, maybe it was too much salt (I used the amount you said), or the length of time (or both). But OMG was it WAY too salty. It was my first attempt at brining. I’ll have to seriously think about doing it again. I’ll definitely use less, if I do. This was a Mother’s Day dinner for my mother, she loves smoked food. And she wanted super thick pork chops. And the weird thing is, she LOVES extra salty things (so much so that she has to be told to tone things down when cooking for others), but this was too much even for her. Is there any way to “undo” it afterwards? Maybe soak in “X” for a certain amount of time afterwards??? I think I’ll just stick to my wet marinades in the future. It usually does a good job of tenderizing and they always taste great. But it’s always good to try new things and see how they work.
I plan on smoking the chops this weekend. Should I get bone in or boneless chops?
Jeff, I purchased your rub and sauce recipe. My question is, at what point will I need to start adjusting ingredients when make larger batches of each?
Weight is always more accurate than dry measuring when you are making rubs however, I usually make 2-3 batches at a time using dry measures and it seems to be true to the flavor.
I would say anything over about 3-4 batches, you are going to be better off using weight.
What kind of wood did you use and how much wood did you use
Apple & hickory
Just got done making these pork chops with your rub and eating them – Fantastic! Some of the best smoked chops I ever ate – everyone loves them!
Thanks for sharing!
Jeff -I bought your recipe last year I believe. Now on a Mac and cannot access it
do you have a way of checking and sending to me.
Love your work!
Jim, I have sent these files to you again via email. Please let me know if you need further assistance with this. Have a great day!
Is the "Jeff's Rub n' Sauce Recipes" in the book "Smoking Meat: The Essential Guide to Real Barbecue"?
Due to the red tape involved, we have opted to not include my very own rub recipe and sauce recipe in the book. However, there are a number of other recipes in the book for rubs and sauces that are all very good.
Let me know if you have further questions about this. Have a great day!
We are having a big party in July for my Mother-In-Law (who is a sweetheart-lucky me) for her 87th birthday and are expecting 40 plus people. My wife wants me to smoke ribs for the party. I have 2 smokers, 1 charcoal grill and a gas grill, my question is can I smoke the ribs for 3 hours (3-2-1 method) refrigerate over night and finish them the next day? Would appreciate any and all sugestions.
Did you try that – letting the ribs sit overnight after the 3 part of the 3-2-1? I’m curious myself. No doubt the “2” part had to be lengthened to get to the temp at the end of the “1” step. Great question.