Perfect Smoked Pork Chops
- Start your work at least 8 hours before you want to eat.
- Brine the meat. In a bowl or pot large enough to hold chops and 1 gallon of water, combine brine ingredients. Start with 2 cups of hot water to dissolve salt and sugar. After salt & sugar are completely dissolved, add more cold water and some ice to bring volume to 1 gallon. Make sure the brine solution is cold and add chops -- they should be completely submerged. Cover and refrigerate for 6-8 hours.
- Smoke the chops. Smoking methods can vary. I use a barrel-smoker with an external firebox. Other methods will work, but be sure your temperature stays in the range of 175-200 F and never expose the chops to direct heat . When fire/smoke is ready, remove pork from brine and pat dry with paper towel. Place in smoker. Use hickory, mesquite or apple wood (or combinations), smoke for 1 hour. At this point, the chops can be cooked or reserved in refrigerator for several hours.
- Cook the chops. Just before cooking, apply about 1 tablespoon of the rub to both sides. Grill on direct heat. This will take about 30 minutes. Be prepared to move the chops to indirect heat for a while of they are getting too brown prior to being done. Cook to an internal temperature of 140°F Remove from grill and rest 5 minutes before serving. Meat will be pink and very juicy -- don't worry about the pink! As long as you achieve a temperature of 140 in the thickest part of the chop, it's safe to eat (the trichinosis bug dies at 137 F). If you prefer a more well-done chop, cook to 150 before removing from heat.
- But, in my opinion, at that temperature, you've just wasted a day's work.