Perfectly Brined and Smoked Pork Chops on a Traeger Grill

junio 18, 2024 3 lectura mínima

Perfectly Brined and Smoked Pork Chops on a Traeger Grill

Bone-in pork chops can be transformed into a mouth-watering meal with the right brine and smoking technique. This recipe from Traeger Grills uses a sweet and savory brine infused with apple juice, brown sugar, and aromatic herbs, followed by a slow smoke over mesquite pellets, and a final sear at high heat for a perfect finish.


  • 4 cups apple juice
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tablespoon black peppercorns
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 4 sprigs thyme
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • Zest of 1 orange
  • 1 cup kosher salt (preferably Diamond)
  • 4 cups ice water
  • 8 bone-in, center-cut pork chops (1 to 1 1/2 inches thick)


  1. Prepare the Brine: In a medium saucepan, combine apple juice, brown sugar, salt, bay leaves, black peppercorns, garlic cloves, thyme, lemon zest, and orange zest. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring until the salt and sugar dissolve.
  2. Cool the Brine: Pour the hot brine over the ice water and stir to cool. Once cool, pour the brine over the pork chops in a large container. Use a plate to keep the chops submerged. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours, preferably up to 24 hours.
  3. Preheat the Grill: When ready to cook, preheat your Traeger grill with the lid closed to 225°F. Use the Super Smoke setting if available.
  4. Smoke the Pork Chops: Insert a leave-in meat thermometer into the thickest part of a pork chop, avoiding the bone. Place the chops on the grill grate and smoke for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, or until the internal temperature reaches 130°F.
  5. Sear the Pork Chops: Remove the chops and increase the grill temperature to 450°F. Return the chops to the grill, flipping once, until the internal temperature reaches 145°F, about 10 minutes.
  6. Rest and Serve: Let the pork chops rest for 5 to 10 minutes before serving to allow the juices to redistribute.

Bone-In Pork Chops

Smoking meat is an ancient culinary technique that adds a unique depth of flavor and tenderness to various cuts of meat. One such delicacy that benefits immensely from this method is the bone-in pork chop. In this guide, we explore the art of creating succulent, smoky pork chops using a meticulously crafted brine and a precise smoking process.

The Magic of Brining Brining is the first and perhaps most crucial step in this recipe. The process involves soaking the pork chops in a solution of apple juice, brown sugar, salt, and a blend of herbs and spices. This brine not only imparts a sweet and savory flavor but also helps to tenderize the meat. The apple juice adds a subtle fruitiness, while the brown sugar caramelizes during cooking, creating a delightful crust. The aromatic herbs and spices, including bay leaves, black peppercorns, garlic, thyme, lemon, and orange zest, infuse the pork chops with a complex flavor profile.

Smoking: Low and Slow The smoking process is where the magic truly happens. Preheating the Traeger grill to 225°F and utilizing the Super Smoke setting, if available, ensures a consistent and penetrating smoky flavor. The mesquite pellets contribute a bold, earthy smokiness that complements the sweetness of the brine. Slow smoking the pork chops at a low temperature allows the meat to absorb the smoke deeply, resulting in a rich, smoky flavor that permeates every bite.

Searing: The Perfect Finish After smoking, the pork chops are finished with a high-heat sear. This step is crucial for achieving the perfect balance of textures. Increasing the grill temperature to 450°F and searing the chops for a brief period caramelizes the exterior, adding a delightful crunch and enhancing the overall flavor. The searing also brings the internal temperature to the ideal 145°F, ensuring the meat is perfectly cooked and juicy.

Resting: A Vital Step Allowing the pork chops to rest for a few minutes before serving is essential. This resting period enables the juices to redistribute throughout the meat, ensuring each bite is moist and flavorful.


By mastering the brining and smoking techniques, you can elevate bone-in pork chops to a gourmet level. The combination of sweet and savory flavors, the deep smokiness from the mesquite pellets, and the perfect sear create a dish that is sure to impress at any gathering. Whether you’re a seasoned pitmaster or a backyard barbecue enthusiast, this recipe is a surefire way to delight your guests with perfectly brined and smoked pork chops.

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