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Smoked Sweet and Spicy Pork Chops

Course: Main Course
Keyword: Pork Chops
Author: Melissa Reome


The Brine

  • 1/4 cup kosher salt OR
  • 2 tbsp table salt
  • 1 tsp black peppercorns
  • 2 cloves of garlic, smashed
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar (can sub white sugar)
  • 10 juniper berries optional
  • 2-3 sprigs of thyme / rosemary option

The Rub

  • 2 tbsp packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp kosher salt or sea salt
  • 1 tbsp smoked paprika
  • 2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp ancho chile powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground mustard
  • 1/2 tsp ground cayenne pepper


  • 2-3 tsp white sugar for searing
  • 1 stick salted butter for serving
  • 1 tsp minced garlic for serving


  • Defrost the chops if necessary

Prepare the Brine

  • In a non-reactive container (glass, stainless steel etc), mix salt in 4 cups of water
  • Add peppercorns, garlic, brown sugar, juniper berries and herbs.
  • Boil brine until salt and sugar are completely dissolved.
  • Chill brine then add pork
  • Brine for appropriate time
  • Remove pork from the brine, rinse with cool water and pat dry

Season Chops with the Rub

  • Mix all rub ingredients
  • Apply rub liberally to all sides of the pork chops.

Smoke the Chops

  • Set up your smoker for indirect cooking at 250F with wood of choice (pecan, hickory, apple, cherry etc.).
  • Smoke the pork chops until the internal temperature of the meat is 115ºF (45 minutes to 2 hours depending on thickness).  Remember, smoke to temperature, not time.

Sear the Chops (3 Methods)

  • Sear the chop quickly over direct heat on your grill OR
  • Sear it in a suitable hot pan for a minute or so on each side OR
  • Place the chop in the oven at 450F for a couple minutes
  • Using an instant read thermometer, pull the chop off of the heat when it reads 140F.

Carmelize the Sugar

  • Sprinkle a couple of teaspoons of white sugar on the top and sides of the pork chops
  • Using your torch, using a sweeping motion, torch the sugar until it is caramelized nicely all over.  Stay a few inches back from the surface of the meat and judge how effective the flame is melting the sugar prior to moving closer.  You want it to caramelize, not burn.
  • OR sprinkle sugar on chop and broil for a few minutes in the oven to carmelize without a torch.

Finishing Touches

  • Melt 1 stick of butter and add minced garlic.
  • Serve chop with healthy dab of garlic butter on top.


When searing:  the brine has sugar in it as does the rub.  Keep a close eye on the color of the chop as you are searing it as the sugar will burn if it gets too hot.