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On Your Table Blog

July 23, 2018

How to grill pork

Want it juicy and flavorful?

How to grill pork
Image by moerschy, Pixaby

Heather Lang raises pigs. She loves pigs. And she also knows how to cook pork so that it is flavorful and juicy. Here are Heather's tips and tricks for grilling pork:

1. Fresh is better: If possible, it's better to have fresh rather than frozen meat because as it thaws it will lose moisture leading to a not-as-tender piece of meat.

2. The thicker the juicier: You want a cut of pork that is ¾” or thicker to keep it moist.

3. Put a coat on it: It is best to coat pork in oil to both ensure it doesn’t stick to the grill grates and also to keep it moist

4. Grill with 2 zones: In order to get that picture-perfect pork chop with the mouthwatering grill marks yet juicy and flavorful on the inside you want to start the grill with high heat to sear the first side of the pork. Then turning the temp down to medium to cook it to temperature (internal temp should be 140 – 145 degrees) when it is finished.

Place your pork in the INDIRECT HEAT. By shutting off one burner you can achieve this. Place a drip pan under the indirect heat where you will be cooking the meat. Sear both sides of the meat in the DIRECT heat and move over to the indirect heat and close the lid of the grill to continue to cook the meat to 140-145 degrees internal temperature

5. Don’t get too saucy: Pork that is cooked correctly shouldn’t need sauce at all, but if you choose to have sauces save the sauces for the END of grilling. Typically, if you tend to put the sauces on the meat right away they tend to burn to the grill which in turn makes your meat dry. So instead add sauces to one side of the cut of meat for the last 3-5 minutes. Or better yet, make your sauce ahead of time and set it on the table for your household to add to the pork if they so wish.

6. Rest: Resting your pork after cooking it is essential and highly beneficial to pork. Why? Because it allows the cut of meat to gently come up to temperature which means you won’t be cutting into an undercooked or overly dry chop. Rest for 10-15minutes. Resting ensures the juices stay in the meat for you to enjoy rather than slicing it right off the grill & watching all the juices run out of it onto the cutting board & now you are trying to soak up the juices afterwards.

7. Tongs: Use tongs instead of a fork to turn the meat. Forks will pierce the meat causing it dry out & loose juices

8. Do not overcrowd the pan or grill so each piece cooks evenly

9. Sautéing: Never put a cover on the pan when sautéing the meat. This can cause your meat to steam and get dry as it loses moisture

10. Cut across the grain of the meat this will produce slices with shorter fibers, resulting in more tender pieces

And here is a mouth-watering easy, juicy, grilled pork tenderloin recipe.

Here is a helpful chart from to help you determine how long to cook your pork:

Type of pork Grilling Method Girlling Time Heat Level
 Chops, 3/4-inch Direct 3-4 minutes each side Medium doneness. For medium well, add about 3 minutes per side.
Chops, 1-inch Direct 4-5 minutes each side Medium doneness. For medium well, add about 3 minutes per side.
Ham Steak 1-inch pre-cooked Direct/Indirect

Direct: 2-4 minutes each side

Indirect: 5-7 minutes each side

Either Direct or Indirect can be used for pre-cooked ham steak. Direct is quicker but Indirect will give more of a grill taste.
Ham, pre-cooked, boneless, 1 lb. Indirect 55-60 minutes  
Ham whole w/bone 8-12 lbs. Indirect 1 3/4 to 2 3/4 hours  
Kabobs 1 - 1 1/2 inch cubed Direct 13-20 minutes (rotate as appropriate) Grill 5-6 inches from Direct fire, or sear and continue with Indirect fire until done.
Ribs Indirect 50 minutes - 1 1/2 hours  
Roast Indirect 50 minutes - 2 hours  
Sausage/Brats Direct/Indirect 15-30 minutes Sear with Direct heating, continue with Indirect fire until done. To be safe, bring brats to a boil and simmer for 5-10 minutes before placing on grill.