Traeger smoked pork chops are an easy smoked pork recipe for any amateur. With just a few easy smoker recipes under my belt, I'm living proof!
Read on, and I'll show you how to make these using a pellet smoker. Like many of our pork recipes, this easy one takes just a few minutes to prep.
We used our new Traeger Silverton 810 smoker from Costco to make this easy meal. It's economical and perfect for a family meal or having company over like we did this past Saturday night.
One of the benefits of living in farm country like Wisconsin is the ability to know where our food comes from. We like to use a thick pork chop as shown in this post, which we buy at a local butcher shop.
You can use your favorite dry rub or make them with something as easy as olive oil, salt, and fresh black peppercorns. There are many different ways to season pork chops, but I find that simple is usually best.
If you're a somewhat messy cook like I might be, just be sure to have plenty of paper towels on hand for keeping your work area nice and clean!
Pro Cooking Tip: Know your source! Like any other recipe, these Traeger smoked pork chops will only be as good as your ingredients.
Ingredients and equipment
We make this easy smoker recipe on a Traeger pellet smoker, but you can use whatever type of smoker you have. Some of the best pork chops I've ever tasted were smoked on my old-fashioned offset smoker which gives an awesome smoke flavor using indirect heat.
You'll need an instant-read meat thermometer, or you can use the temperature probe on your smoker if it has one. Be sure to calibrate your thermometer or temp probe before using it.
Food Safety Precaution: Never consume undercooked pork! Be sure the minimum temperature is 145° before pulling them off the smoker.
- Thick-Cut Pork Chops. Use bone-in pork chops, 1 to 1 ½-inches thick. Thicker cuts of pork will absorb more smokey flavor. The bone will also add flavor and give you something to hold on to when eating these! For boneless chops, you can also use thick loin chops for these.
- Kosher Salt - The larger salt crystals will flavor the meat nicely without over-salting, which is easy to do with the smaller granules of iodized table salt.
- Fresh Ground Black Pepper
- Dried Thympe - This lends a mellow herb flavor to the smoked pork chops.
- Paprika - Sprinkle some of this on the meat to add some nice reddish color and a touch of warm flavor.
- Barbecue Sauce - This is optional, but a little bit will go a long way when you serve these.
Pro Cooking Tip - Be sure and heat the sauce up a bit before serving. No one wants cold sauce with a hot juicy piece of meat!
Substitutions and variations
Salt and pepper are pretty much a must when making these. Beyond that, you can use whatever you like for seasoning but remember; it doesn't have to be fancy or expensive.
Take a look in your spice cabinet. Some other flavorful options might include:
- Chili powder
- Cayenne pepper
- Brown sugar
You can also marinate your pork chops in a simple marinade. Use a large bowl to combine some apple juice or apple cider, garlic powder, and kosher salt. Then, place pork chops covered with the marinade in an airtight container in your refrigerator the night before.
How to make these
(full instructions in the recipe card below.)
- Make a dry brine using the dry ingredients.
- Evenly sprinkle the uncooked meat with the spice mixture. Be sure and get the sides of the pork chops when adding the seasoning.
- Allow the pork chops to rest, uncovered in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 hours before smoking.
- Smoke at 225° F. to a safe internal temperature of at least 145°. This will take 1.5 to 2 hours, depending on the thickness of your chops.
How to reverse sear these
Searing these over hot grates after they are smoked will give you some nice style points. Plus, you'll get lots of added texture and flavor from the caramelization of the meat.
Most pellet smokers won't get hot enough to sear, but there are a couple of ways to get around this. Any of the following works as a good reverse sear method for making the best smoked pork chops:
- Use GrillGrates that you can set in your smoker. These grill grates are made of stainless steel and will heat to 100 to 150° hotter than what the grates on your smoker will reach. This is the best way to sear pork chops on a Traeger.
- Use a charcoal or gas grill to sear these over high heat the end.
- A kitchen sear pan will also work.
Pro Cooking Tip: Before reverse searing these, smear a little barbecue sauce over the surface. This will give the hot grates something to bite into, leaving you with beautiful grill marks.
Top 5 tips for the best smoked pork chops
- Don't overcook them! It's ok if they are a little pink in the center and you can safely eat these when they reach 145° F.
- Use tongs to flip instead of prongs. You don't want to lose any more internal juice than necessary.
- Do not slice or cut the meat while it is on the grill to check for doneness. This will dry it out.
- No peaking while smoking! This will reduce the smoker's temperature and allow precious smoke to escape.
- Allow the meat to rest, tented with foil, for at least 5-10 minutes before serving. This will allow the meat fibers to reabsorb the juices.
You can use either bone-in or boneless cuts of meat for this recipe. I prefer bone-in but either works well. Either way, I suggest a thickness of at least 1-inch for maximal flavor and juiciness.
If you maintain a smoking temperature of no higher than 225°, you do not need to spritz these nor do you need a water pan to keep them from drying out.
This is a matter of personal preference. Many suggest fruit wood, like apple wood pellets or cherry wood. These are classic flavor combinations. However, the smokey flavor is mellow and nothing more than a subtle compliment to the pork's natural flavor.
I like to use a smoke tube for added smoke. Also, certain models, such as Traeger's Silverton 810, have a "super smoker" option. This works for temperatures up to 225°.
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Traeger Smoked Pork Chops
- 3 Pork pork chops About 10 oz. each, at least 1-inch thick.
- 1 tbsp Kosher salt
- 2 tsps Paprika
- 1 tsp Dried thyme
- Fresh ground black pepper
- ½ cup Barbecue sauce
- Combine the seasoning mix and evenly distribute over the meat. Then, place the meat in the refrigerator, uncovered for 4 to 6 hours.
- Preheat your smoker to 225° F. Place the seasoned meat on the the smoker and allow to smoke to an internal temperature of 145°. About 60 to 90 minutes, depending on the thickness of the chops.
- (Optional) Slather a bit of the BBQ sauce on each porch chop and reverse sear at the end.
- Tend the meat loosely with foil and allow to rest at least 5 minutes before serving. Serve with optional barbecue sauce.
- Be sure to smoke these to a minimum temperature of 145° F.
- Be sure your thermometer is calibrated!
- Handle with a set of tongs to avoid piercing the meat.
- Reverse sear at the end for best results.
- Allow the meat to rest for at least 5 to 10 minutes before eating.
Updated from the original post of February 27, 2022.