Smoked Pork Chops - Everything You Need to Know

Smoked Pork Chops

Smoked pork chops are a delicious and easy-to-make dish that's perfect for any occasion, from a casual backyard BBQ to a fancy dinner party. Made from loin chops, these succulent chops are seasoned with a variety of spices and then smoked over a grill or smoker to give them a rich, smoky flavor that's hard to resist.

Whether you're a seasoned pitmaster or a beginner, smoking pork chops on a pellet smoker is a breeze. With just a few simple steps, you can create a mouthwatering meal that's sure to impress your friends and family. So, if you're looking for a new way to cook pork chops, look no further than the smoker. In this article, we'll cover everything you need to know about smoking pork chops, from selecting the right meat to choosing the best wood pellets or wood chips.

Keep reading to learn more!

Things You Need to Get Started

Let's start with the basics of what you'll need to get started with smoking thick pork on a pellet grill, such as a Traeger.

  1. Firstly, you'll need a wooden cutting board to prep the meat. The wood won't dull your knives and it's easier to clean than plastic or glass.
  2. Next, you'll need a pellet grill or smoker, like the Traeger, which uses wood pellets to provide a consistent heat source and add a smoky flavor to the meat. You can also use wood chunks in your grill to enhance the smoky flavor.
  3. When selecting your pork, look for thick cut pork chop that are at least one inch in thickness, as thinner cuts may dry out during the smoking process. You can choose between bone-in or boneless pork chops, depending on your preference.
  4. Finally, don't forget the wood pellets. These come in a variety of flavors, such as hickory or apple, and add a unique taste to your meat. Make sure to choose a wood pellet that complements the flavor of your pork.

Ingredients You Need to Get Started

After preparing your equipment, it's time to gather the ingredients you'll need to make your pork chops juicy and flavorful. Here's a list of what you'll need:

  • Thick pork chops (bone-in or boneless)
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Garlic powder
  • Onion powder
  • Olive oil

To season your pork chops, you'll want to mix together salt, pepper, garlic powder, and onion powder. Rub the seasoning mix onto both sides of the pork chops, making sure to cover them evenly. Let the pork chops sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes to allow the seasoning to penetrate the meat.

Drizzle olive oil on both sides of the pork chops to keep them moist while they're cooking. This will help them stay juicy and tender, even after they've been smoked.

Step-by-Step Instructions on How to Smoke Pork Chops

Step-by-Step Instructions on How to Smoke Pork Chops

Image Credit to: Oklahoma Joe's

Smoking pork chops is an excellent way to infuse them with rich, smoky flavors that are perfect for any meal. This step-by-step guide will walk you through the process of smoking pork chops, ensuring a delicious and juicy outcome. The key to a perfectly smoked pork chop lies in monitoring the internal temperature of the meat and using a meat thermometer to make sure it reaches the ideal doneness. Let's get started!


  1. Prepare the pork chops: Start by choosing high-quality, thick-cut pork chops that are about 1 to 1.5 inches thick. Pat the pork chops dry with a paper towel to remove any excess moisture.

  2. Season the pork chops: To bring out the flavors of the meat, generously season the pork chops on both sides with your choice of dry rub or seasoning mix. You can use store-bought rubs or make your own by combining salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, and paprika.

  3. Preheat the smoker: Set up your smoker, such as a Traeger pellet smoker, according to the manufacturer's instructions. Preheat it to 225 degrees Fahrenheit (107 degrees Celsius). Make sure to use good-quality wood pellets or chips for optimal smoke flavor.

  4. Place the cut pork chops on the smoker: Once the smoker has reached the desired temperature, place the seasoned pork chops directly onto the grill grates, ensuring they are evenly spaced apart. This will allow the smoke to circulate around the meat for even cooking.

  5. Monitor the internal temperature of the pork chops: Insert a meat thermometer into the thickest part of the meat, making sure not to touch the bone. Smoke the pork chops until they reach an internal temperature of 145 degrees Fahrenheit (63 degrees Celsius). This should take approximately 1.5 to 2 hours, depending on the thickness of the chops.

  6. Sear the pork chops: To give the pork chops a delicious crust, preheat a cast-iron skillet or grill on high heat. Once the pork chops have reached the desired internal temperature, remove them from the smoker and sear each side for about 2 minutes or until a nice crust forms.

  7. Rest the meat: Remove the pork chops from the heat and place them on a plate or cutting board. Tent the chops with aluminum foil and let them rest for 5-10 minutes. This will allow the juices to redistribute throughout the meat, resulting in a tender and flavorful finished product.

  8. Serve the smoked pork chops: After the resting period, serve your smoked pork chops with your favorite side dishes and enjoy!

Now that you know how to make smoked pork chops, you can impress your family and friends with your newfound smoking skills. By monitoring the internal temperature of the pork chop using a meat thermometer and following these instructions, you will achieve tender, juicy, and flavorful smoked pork chops every time. Remember to choose quality cuts of meat, season them well, and allow them to rest before serving for the best results.

Boneless Chops or Bone-in Pork Chops - What to Choose

Boneless Chops

Now that you know how to make the best Traeger smoked pork chops, you might be wondering whether you should choose boneless or bone-in pork chops. Both types have their own unique characteristics, pros, and cons. This section will help you understand the differences between the two and guide you in choosing the right cut for your next delicious pork dish.

Bone-in Chops

Bone-in chops, as the name suggests, have the rib or loin bone still attached to the meat. The presence of the bone impacts the cooking process and the flavor of the finished dish in several ways.


  1. Enhanced flavor: Many people believe that bone-in chops provide a richer, deeper flavor compared to their boneless counterparts. The bone imparts a subtle taste to the meat while it cooks, contributing to a more complex and satisfying smoked pork chop experience.

  2. Moisture retention: The bone acts as a natural insulator, helping to keep the meat moist and tender during the cooking process. This can be particularly beneficial when smoking pork chops, as the long, slow cooking time can sometimes lead to dryness in boneless cuts.

  3. Presentation: Bone-in chops often have a more visually appealing presentation, as the bone gives the chop a more rustic and hearty appearance. This can elevate the dining experience and impress your guests.


  1. Longer cooking time: The presence of the bone can increase the cooking time for bone-in chops, as the bone takes longer to heat up than the surrounding meat. This means you may need to adjust your cooking times when smoking bone-in chops.

  2. Uneven cooking: The bone can also cause the meat to cook unevenly, with the areas closest to the bone remaining slightly undercooked compared to the rest of the chop. It's essential to monitor the internal temperature with a meat thermometer to ensure that the meat reaches the desired doneness.

Boneless Chops

Boneless pork chops have had the rib or loin bone removed, leaving only the tender, flavorful meat.


  1. Faster cooking time: With the bone removed, boneless pork chops tend to cook more quickly than bone-in chops. This can be an advantage when you're short on time or want to serve your smoked pork chops sooner.

  2. Easier to eat: Without the bone, boneless chops are more straightforward to cut and eat, making them a more convenient option for some diners.

  3. Portion control: Boneless chops are generally more uniform in size and weight, making it easier to control portion sizes and ensure consistent cooking results.


  1. Potential for dryness: Since boneless chops don't have the bone's insulating properties, they can be more prone to drying out during the smoking process. To combat this, you may need to take extra care to monitor the cooking time and temperature.

In the end, the choice between bone-in and boneless pork chops depends on your personal preferences, cooking goals, and the specific dish you're preparing. Bone-in chops are excellent for those who want the best smoked pork chops with a rich, deep flavor and a visually appealing presentation.

On the other hand, boneless chops are ideal for those who prioritize convenience, faster cooking times, and easy portion control.

Whichever cut you choose, following the smoking techniques outlined earlier will ensure a delicious, tender, and juicy outcome.

Maple-Glazed Applewood Smoked Pork Chop Recipe - A Must Try!

Maple-Glazed Applewood Smoked Pork Chop

This Maple-Glazed Applewood Smoked Pork Chops recipe is an easy to make, mouth-watering dish that will impress your family and friends. The combination of sweet, smoky flavors and tender, juicy meat will make this a go-to meal for any occasion.

Here's a step-by-step guide to help you achieve the perfect smoked chops:

  1. Preheat the smoker: Before starting, preheat your smoker to 225°F (107°C). This is the ideal temperature for cooking pork chops to ensure they remain tender and moist. Ensure the smoker is preheated and ready for the smoke time.

  2. Prepare the pork chops: Take the 6 Nueske's Applewood Smoked Bone-In Pork Chops and pat them dry with a paper towel. Season them with pepper to taste. Make sure to cover all sides of the pork chops evenly.

  3. Smoke the pork chops:Place the pork chops on the smoker grates, leaving enough space between each chop for the smoke to circulate. Close the smoker and let the chops cook for about 1-1.5 hours or until they reach an internal temperature of 145 degrees F (63°C). Use a meat thermometer to ensure the chops are cooked to the proper temperature.

  4. Prepare the glaze:While the pork chops are in the smoker, start preparing the maple glaze. In a medium-sized saucepan, melt 3 Tbsp. of unsalted butter over medium heat. Add the finely diced sweet onion and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes.

  5. Add the apples: Stir in the thinly sliced Honeycrisp apples (or any other firm, crisp, sweet/tart apple) and continue to cook until the apples become tender, about 10-12 minutes.

  6. Add the maple syrup and apple cider vinegar: Mix in 4 Tbsp. of Wisconsin Maple Syrup (preferably Grade B Dark Amber for a deeper flavor) and 1 Tbsp. of unfiltered apple cider vinegar. Cook for an additional 3-4 minutes, allowing the flavors to meld together and the sauce to thicken slightly. Keep the glaze warm until the pork chops are ready.

  7. Preheat the grill:As the pork chops near the end of their smoke time, preheat your grill to medium-high heat. This will help to create beautiful grill marks and add an additional layer of flavor to your grilled smoked pork chops.

  8. Remove pork chops from the smoker:Once the pork chops reach 145 degrees F, carefully remove them from the smoker and transfer them to a clean plate.

  9. Grill the smoked chops: Place the pork chops on the grill and cook for 2-3 minutes per side, or until they develop a nice sear and grill marks. Make sure not to overcook them, as this may result in dry and tough meat.

  10. Baste with maple glaze:As the pork chops near the end of their grill time, generously brush the maple glaze onto each chop. Flip the chops and glaze the other side as well.

  11. Rest and serve: Once the pork chops are fully cooked, remove them from the grill and place them on a clean serving platter. Allow the chops to rest for about 5 minutes before serving. This will help the meat to reabsorb its juices and make for a more flavorful and tender bite.


In conclusion, smoking pork chops is an art that can be mastered with practice and attention to detail. Understanding the differences between bone-in and boneless chops, as well as their respective pros and cons, will help you make an informed decision for your next smoked pork chop endeavor. T

he key to success lies in selecting quality meat, seasoning it well, and carefully monitoring the internal temperature throughout the smoking process.No matter which cut you choose, following the outlined techniques will ensure a satisfying, tender, and flavorful result.

Enjoy the journey of perfecting your smoked pork chops and sharing this delectable dish with family and friends!

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