This recipe for Smoked Pork Chops creates the most juicy and tender pork chops ever! An overnight brine, flavorful rub and low and slow smoke will have everyone saying “these are the best pork chops I’ve ever had!”

Pair the smoked pork chops with my Dad’s Famous BBQ Baked Beans and Blue Cheese Potato Salad for a complete meal!

smoked pork chops on plate

Literally every time I serve these pork chops, I hear the same thing from friends and family. “These are the best pork chops ever, they’re so juicy and tender!” And they’re not wrong, these literally are the best pork chops ever!

So what makes them so good? It’s just a few simple ingredients and four easy steps!

  1. Start with an overnight brine. Brining the pork chops in a combination of salt, sugar and water makes them extra juicy! The salt in the brine changes the structure of the pork chops proteins, allowing them to absorb and hold on to more moisture.
  2. Next, comes the epic rub. After the pork chops have brined overnight, I rub them with my famous Pork Chop Seasoning. This is what makes them so flavorful!
  3. Now it’s time for a low, slow smoke. Smoking the pork chops at 225°F for 90 minutes – 2 hours means the pork chops will absorb all of the delicious smoky flavors, without drying the pork chops out. This is what keeps them so tender!
  4. Finally, my secret for making these perfect pork chops even better is the glaze. So what is this super special secret ingredient glaze you ask? It’s pepper jelly! That’s right, brushing a little pepper jelly on top of the pork chops before removing them from the smoker will add a sweet, spicy glaze that is truly unforgettable!

It’s that simple to make truly epic pork chops. Say goodbye to dry, flavorless pork chops forever, because you now have a new go-to recipe for making tender, juicy pork chops every time!

smoked pork chop ingredients

Ingredients

  • Pork chops – for this recipe, I recommend a thick cut pork chop, like the top loin chops that you see pictured above. These are approximately 2 inches thick. The thicker the chop, the longer it will take to smoke and the more smoky flavor you will impart on the pork chops. I definitely do not recommend using any pork chop that’s less than 1 inch thick for this recipe. You can use bone-in or boneless pork chops, just know that a bone-in pork chop will take longer to cook than a boneless pork chop.
  • Kosher salt
  • Sugar
  • Pork chop seasoning – I love this homemade seasoning blend, which is a delicious combination of herbs, spices and brown sugar. It’s easy to mix up in 5 minutes and is delicious on smoked, grilled or pan fried pork chops. You can also use another bbq pork rub or seasoning, if you already have a favorite in your kitchen.
  • Pepper jelly – this is an optional finishing glaze, but one that I highly recommend. You can also try using other types of jams or jellies like apple, peach or apricot. You can also use BBQ sauce as a finishing glaze on the pork chops, if you prefer it over jellies or jams.
collage of images showing how to make smoked pork chops

Instructions

  1. Brine the pork chops. In a medium pot on the stove, bring 2 cups of water to a boil. Once the water is boiling, add salt and sugar. Stir for 2-3 minutes, or until the sugar and salt are dissolved into the water. Set aside and add 3-4 cups of ice cubes to the pot of water. This will help cool down the brine quickly, so that you can pour it over the pork chops. Once the brine water is at room temperature, or below, pour it over the pork chops in a large bowl or zipper bag. Place in the refrigerator for 8 hours, or overnight.
    • Note: for the brine, you’ll see in the recipe card at the bottom of this post that I use 2 ounces of salt and 1/2 ounce of sugar. When using salt in a brine, the weight of table salt, kosher salt or sea salt, can vary greatly. This is why I use ounces, instead of tablespoons when making a brine. A basic kitchen scale online is less than $20 and something I use every week in the kitchen. If you don’t want to purchase a scale, you can use 4 tablespoons kosher salt and 1 tablespoon granulated sugar for this recipe.
  2. Prepare the smoker. Fill the smoker with wood or pellets. For this recipe, I recommend a mild to medium flavored smoke, preferably from a sweet tree. My personal preference for this recipe is apple, which you can see pictured above. Preheat the smoker to 225°F. For this recipe, I used the Traeger Pro Series Smoker, but this recipe will work on any brand, make or model of smoker.
  3. Dry the pork chops. Remove the pork chops from the brine and place them on a stack of paper towels. Use another dry paper towel to blot the pork chops dry on all sides.
  4. Season the pork chops. Generously season each of the pork chops on all sides with the pork chop seasoning. I recommend approximately 1 tablespoon of seasoning per pound of pork chops.
  5. Add water to the smoker. Place a water pan, pot or bowl, that’s smoker-safe, in the smoker filled with water. This will help keep the pork moist throughout the cooking process. For even more flavor, fill the pan with apple juice or apple cider, instead of water.
  6. Smoke the pork chops. Place the seasoned pork chops on the grill grates inside the smoker and smoke until the internal temperature reaches 140°F. Remove the pork chops from the smoker and let them rest for 10 minutes before serving. If you’d like to glaze the pork chops with the pepper jelly or bbq sauce, do so when they hit an internal temperature of approximately 138°F, before removing them from the smoker. You can also reverse sear the pork chops at the end for a nice crust on the outside. More on that below.

How to reverse sear the pork chops

A reverse sear means that you’re cooking the pork chops low and slow, then cranking up the temperature on the smoker and searing the chops to finish them with a nice crust on the outside. To do this, follow the steps above, but only allow the internal temperature to reach 130°F, then follow the rest of the instructions below.

  1. When the internal temperature of the pork chops reach 130°F on the smoker, remove them from the smoker, place on a cutting board and tent them with a piece of foil.
  2. Turn the heat on the smoker up to 450°F.
    • Note: You could also preheat a grill over high heat, instead of waiting for the smoker to come up to temperature.
  3. Once the smoker hits 450°F, place the pork chops back on the smoker. Cook for 3-4 minutes per side, or until the internal temperature reaches 140°F.
  4. If you’d like to glaze the pork chops with pepper jelly, or bbq sauce, do so when the internal temperature of the pork chops reach 138°F on an instant-read thermometer. You’ll want to brush approximately 1/2 tablespoon of pepper jelly, or bbq sauce, on each pork chop, then let it continue cooking for 1-2 minutes, or until the internal temperature of the pork chop reaches 140°F.
  5. Always let the pork chops rest for at least 10 minutes, so the juices can redistribute throughout the meat. The meat will also rise approximately 5 degrees during this time, bringing the final internal temperature up to 145°F.
sliced smoked pork chop on plate with mac and cheese

Tips and tricks

  • Cook to temperature, not time! The cooking time for smoked pork chops will vary based on a number of things. For this reason, I always recommend using temperature, not time, to determine when to remove the pork chops from the smoker. That being said, you can expect between 60-90 minutes for pork chops that are less than 2 inches thick and 2 hours for pork chops that are 2 inches or thicker. I recommend using an instant-read meat thermometer to begin checking the pork chops at 60 minutes, then every 10-20 minutes after that, depending on where the temperature is at when you check it.
  • Use an electric knife to thinly slice the pork chops. I’ve found that thin slices of these juicy, tender pork chops are everyone’s favorite, so I always use an electric knife to slice the pork chops before serving them.
  • Leftover pork chops will stay good in the refrigerator for up to 7 days. I’ve used these leftover smoked pork chops to make sandwiches, wraps, tacos, burritos and egg scrambles. They’re delicious diced up and repurposed in several different ways, either served cold or reheated. You can also thinly slice the meat, toss it with bbq sauce and make an epic bbq pork sandwich.
  • I do not recommend trimming the fat from the pork chops, but that’s my personal preference. I like the flavor and juiciness that the fat provides, but if you prefer to smoke the pork chops without the fat, I recommend slicing it off before seasoning the pork chops.
  • You can skip the brining step if you’re short on time. The flavorful rub and low, slow smoke will still create flavorful, tender meat, even without the overnight brine.
  • Do not brine the pork chops for more than 16 hours. The pork chops will become overly salty and it can ruin the texture of the pork.
smoked pork chops on round white plate

What to serve with it

When looking for the perfect side dish to serve with smoked pork chops, mac and cheese, potato salad, pasta salad and corn are all great choices! Here are a few of my go-to sides that I regularly serve with smoked meats.

sliced smoked pork chop on plate with mac and cheese

Tools you’ll need

  • Kitchen scale
  • Medium pot
  • Large bowl or large zipper bag
  • Smoker – this is the Traeger Pro Series Pellet Grill I have at home and used for this recipe.
  • Wood or Pellets – I recommend Traeger Apple Pellets for this recipe. You can also use other mild to medium flavored pellets or wood chips.
  • Water pan – place this pan in the smoker to keep the pork chops moist throughout the cooking process.
  • Thermometer – on the Traeger, I use the temperature probes that come with the smoker. If you do not have a smoker with a meat probe, I recommend this thermometer.
  • Large cutting board
  • Electric knife – or large sharp knife for slicing the pork chops.

More recipes for the smoker

I’ve been cooking meats on a smoker since I could walk. Growing up in Oklahoma, I was always eager to help my Meme in the kitchen and my Papa outside on the smoker. Try these tested and perfected smoker recipes, with some new creations and recipes passed down from my families archives!

seasoned smoked pork chops on plate
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Smoked Pork Chops

This recipe for Smoked Pork Chops creates the most juicy and tender pork chops ever! An overnight brine, flavorful rub and low and slow smoke will have everyone saying "these are the best pork chops I've ever had!"

Ingredients

  • 16 ounces water
  • 2 ounces kosher salt
  • ½ ounce granulated sugar
  • 2 pounds pork chops, preferably top loin chops – approximately 2 inches thick
  • 2 tablespoons pork chop seasoning, click link for recipe
  • 2 tablespoons pepper jelly, optional glaze

Instructions

Brine

  • In a medium pot on the stove, bring 16 ounces of water to a boil.
  • Once the water is boiling, add the kosher salt and sugar.
  • Stir for 2-3 minutes, or until the sugar and salt are dissolved into the water.
  • Set aside and add 3-4 cups of ice cubes to the pot of water. This will help cool down the brine quickly, so that you can pour it over the pork chops. 
  • Once the brine water is at room temperature, or below, pour it over the pork chops in a large bowl or zipper bag.
  • Add additional cold water, if needed, to cover the pork chops.
  • Place in the refrigerator for 8-10 hours, or overnight.

Smoke

  • Preheat the smoker to 225 degrees F.
  • Fill the smoker with applewood pellets.
  • Place a water pan in the smoker filled with water. This will help keep the pork chops moist throughout the cooking process.
  • Remove the pork chops from the brine and pat dry with paper towels.
  • Rub approximately ½ tablespoon of the pork chop seasoning on each side of the pork chops.
  • Place the pork chops, fat side up, in the smoker.
  • Smoke until the internal temperature of the pork chops reach 140°F. You can expect between 60-90 minutes for pork chops that are less than 2 inches thick and 2 hours for pork chops that are 2 inches or thicker.
  • If you'd like to glaze the pork chops with the optional pepper jelly, brush the jelly on top of the pork chops on the smoker when the internal temperature reaches 138°F. Leave the pork chops on the smoker until they reach 140°F.
  • Place the pork chops on a cutting board and rest for 10 minutes before serving. During this time, the pork chops internal temperature will rise 5-10 degrees.

Notes

  • You can use boneless or bone-in pork chops to make this recipe. I do not recommend using any pork chops that are less than 1 inch thick.
  • If you don’t have a kitchen scale to measure the ounces of the salt and sugar, use 4 tablespoons kosher salt and 1 tablespoon granulated sugar.
  • Do not brine the pork chops for more than 16 hours. The pork chops will become overly salty and it can ruin the texture of the pork.
  • To reverse sear the pork chops follow the steps below:
    • When the internal temperature of the pork chops reach 130°F on the smoker, remove them from the smoker, place on a cutting board and tent them with a piece of foil.
    • Turn the heat on the smoker up to 450°F.
    • Once the smoker hits 450°F, place the pork chops back on the smoker. Cook for 3-4 minutes per side, or until the internal temperature reaches 140°F.
    • If you’d like to glaze the pork chops with pepper jelly, or bbq sauce, do so when the internal temperature of the pork chops reach 138°F on an instant-read thermometer. You’ll want to brush approximately 1/2 tablespoon of pepper jelly, or bbq sauce, on each pork chop, then let it continue cooking for 1-2 minutes, or until the internal temperature of the pork chop reaches 140°F.
    • Remove from the smoker and let the pork chops rest for 10 minutes before slicing or serving.
  • The nutritional information provided does not include the optional pepper jelly glaze.
  • Leftover pork chops will stay good in the refrigerator for up to 7 days.
 

Nutrition Facts

Calories 249kcal (12%)Carbohydrates 3g (1%)Protein 33g (66%)Fat 11g (17%)Saturated Fat 4g (20%)Polyunsaturated Fat 1gMonounsaturated Fat 5gTrans Fat 1gCholesterol 101mg (34%)Sodium 4128mg (172%)Potassium 595mg (17%)Fiber 1g (4%)Sugar 3g (3%)Vitamin A 418mg (8%)Vitamin C 1mg (1%)Calcium 22mg (2%)Iron 1mg (6%)
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