Who doesn’t like juicy, grilled pork chops?! This recipe is perfect for beautiful days, relaxing on the deck with friends and family. Tender, juicy with a beautifully seared exterior, using a cast iron grill pan on the grill makes the best chops!
Cast iron has always been my favorite way to cook steaks or chops. I love the flavor of the seared exterior and the tender inside.
*Note for the Reader: For easy access, a clickable table of contents with important info and FAQs about this recipe is below. You can also click “Jump to Recipe” to go straight to the details!
Tools we use
We like to use our Food Network cast iron grill pan when we do pork chops, because of the extra seared crust on the outside. The sear locks in the flavor and juiciness, and ultimately, the best chop you’ve ever had!
A meat thermometer is always better than hacking into the center of the meat to see how much red is left. I’ll explain more in the section about internal temperature.
How to choose a pork chop
Things to look for: thickness, bone-in, marbling.
We always choose a chop that is at least 1 ½ inches thick, with decent marbling and a nice fat cap (the fatty “cap” on the top of the piece of meat). You can also purchase a pork roast and slice the chops into your preferred thickness.
Decent marbling is important, because as the pork cooks, the marbling (fat) will release into the meat making it even more tender. Keep in mind, you can always trim the fat cap if it’s too much. We leave about ¼ inch on our steaks and chops.
Tenderizing the meat & marinating
A crucial step that many do not get right. A marinade should be simple and flavorful. You can buy these from the store or make them at home.
We always use Dale’s Seasoning. We place our chops in a casserole dish and pour over the top – about ¼ inch high.
Marinate for 15 minutes, then flip for another 15 minutes. Then, we pour off the excess if the meat isn’t hitting the grill immediately.
If you are making a homemade marinade, be careful of the salt content in the ingredients. Salt can toughen up the meat if it marinates for too long. Personally, if we’re not using Dale’s seasoning, a drizzle of olive oil and a rub down of s&p does the trick.
Some ingredients to consider when making your marinade at home:
- Onion powder
- Worcestershire sauce
- Soy sauce
Some people opt for tenderizing pork chops with a meat mallet. The meat mallet breaks up the muscle tissue that holds the meat together, so the meat relaxes and yields nice, tender bites!
Optimal internal temperature for pork chops
The National Pork Board recommends cooking a pork chop to at least 145 degrees with a 3 minute rest. But….I’m a rule breaker…
For the most tender chop, I cook our pork chops and steaks until it reaches 130 on the grill. Then, we remove the meat and cover it to rest until the internal temperature reaches 145.
The reason being is that anything that is cooking on the grill, stove or oven will continue cooking after you remove it from the heat. By removing it and letting it “rest”, you allow the meat to complete the cooking process, yielding a tender piece of meat, and reach the safe internal temperature.
Side Dish Ideas
- Meat thermometer
- Cast Iron Grill Pan
- 4 Pork Chops bone-in, about 2 inches thick
- Dale's Seasoning marinade
- In a casserole or large baking pan, marinate pork chops for 15 minutes per side with Dale's Seasoning or other marinade.
- Preheat your grill over medium-high heat, until the grill reaches about 400F.
- Lightly grease your grill pan with non-stick cooking spray or olive oil. (Do this before placing the grill pan on the grill or you could cause a small grease fire and risk being burned)
- Place the grill pan on the grill and allow to come to temperature.
- When the grill has reached about 400 degrees, place the pork chops on the pan and close the grill and
- Cook 3-5 minutes per side, depending on the thickness.
- Using a meat thermometer, periodically check the meat until it reaches the desired internal temperature.
- Remove from heat and allow meat to rest for 5-10 minutes to retain juices.