I havenever been a big fan of Pork Chops. That is until I started cookingthem on the grill. I grew up with pan fried, pan dried, chops drownedin pepper or some spice and tough as shoe leather. There is another wayto do chops though, cooked quickly on the grill, with a flavorful, butnot too strong marinade. Cooked to perfection, chops can be tender,moist and full of flavor.
I know people who only buy Pork Tenderloin. Certainly this is asuperior, more tender cut of meat, but the same old chops will doperfectly if you cook them right. Whether grilling chops or tenderloin,the best secret is learning the exact point when the meat is cooked.Pork chops need to be cooked through, but not over cooked. This is alittle trick because you want to pull pork chops off the grill about aminute before they are done.
The chop will continue to cook for a few minutes after youremove it from the grill if you let it sit in a protected place forabout 5 minutes. As with steaks you learn with experience. Pay closeattention the color, smell, texture and density of the perfect chop, oryou can go buy a meat thermometer. It's really up to you. You want toremove a pork chop from the grill when the internal temperature reaches145 degrees F.
When cooking chops you will hear people say to sear the outside tokeep the moisture inside. Don't listen to them. Chops and tenderloinstend to start out drier than steaks so this method won't really help.What will help is a good marinade (oil based) or just a light brushingof oil over the surface. Cook your chops over a medium flame and keep aclose eye on them. Don't over cook. I grew up convinced that if porkwasn't cooked beyond recognition that it would make you sick. Thesedays pork is actually one of the cleaner meats on the market. Theproblem is that you need to cook meat to 160 degrees F to be absolutelysure that all the bugs are killed. However, at this temperature thepork chop has started to dry out and become tough, the decision is upto you, but remember that a medium rare steak has been cooked to about135 degrees F.
Another secret to moist chops is a finishing sauce. This justmeans that you don't just plop the chop on a plate and serve it. Use asauce, like a teriyaki sauce to finish off the chops. If you marinadeyour chops, take the remaining marinade, boil it for 5 minutes and pourover the meat. This will add extra flavor and moisture to the meat, butremember to let it rest for 5 minutes before you serve it. This allowsthe juices to return to the surface of the meat and gives it a muchbetter flavor.
One last issue, not all pork chops are created equally. Whilewe have a lot of names for different cuts of steak, pork chops tend toget a more generic name. If you really want a great chop, buy pork loinchops. These are tenderer and have a better flavor than the regular"T-Bone" pork chops. I'm actually kind of particular about pork chopsso I get them from the butcher counter. If he doesn't have exactly whatI want, I get him to cut them for me. Ideally chops should about 1-inchthick.