Few things make us anticipate dinner more than the sound and aroma of thick, meaty pork sizzling over a charcoal fire. We’re especially smitten with porterhouse chops cooked over a wood-enhanced fire because they’re more luxurious and forgiving (thanks to their higher fat content) than other varieties. A surprising number of folks are intimidated by grilling pork, fearing the leaner meat will dry out on the grill. That’s a shame, because crisp, juicy chops are super easy to prepare—and attention to a few key details (that would be our Chop Tricks) ensure perfect results. Serve these babies alongside a charred green vegetable and grilled toasts, or over a bed of arugula with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice.
-Season enthusiastically, in advance: A generous amount of kosher salt and freshly ground pepper work as a dry brine and coax maximum flavor from the meat (season before lighting your charcoal to allow the meat to come to room temperature before cooking). A light hand with warm, aromatic spices (smoked paprika, coriander, rosemary) enhance the meat’s character without obscuring it.
-Prepare your grill for two-zone cooking and build a medium fire: When it comes to thicker chops, higher temperatures can result in an overly browned crust and under-cooked meat. Instead, grill at a moderate temperature and rotate the chops around the fire as needed for even cooking and color. If they’re browning too quickly, move them to indirect heat.
-Flip frequently: Forget what you’ve heard about striving for perfect grill marks and only flipping a cut once. Flipping chops every 2-3 minutes (and closing the grill in between flips) helps the meat cook and brown more evenly.
-Account for carryover cooking: Remember that the meat will continue to cook as it rests, so pull the meat when it’s just under your desired doneness.
-Let it rest: As a general rule, you should let meat rest for half of its cooking time to allow the hot juices settle.
Spice-Rubbed Porterhouse Chops
4 porterhouse (bone-in loin) pork chops, about 1-inch thick
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary (or 1 teaspoon dried)
2 teaspoons coriander seeds, lightly crushed
1 tablespoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes or crumbled chile pequin
Flaky salt, for serving (optional)
Pat the pork chops dry with paper towels and generously season with salt and pepper. Combine the rosemary, coriander seeds, smoked paprika, and red pepper flakes in a small bowl and then sprinkle the mixture over both sides of the chops and then use your hands coat the meat evenly.
Prepare a charcoal grill for two-zone cooking and build a medium fire, or heat a gas grill to medium-high. Clean grill grates. When the coals are glowing red and covered with a fine gray ash, add soaked wood chips or wood chunks, if desired, and then grill the chops over direct heat, turning as needed for even cooking until both sides are nicely browned and the internal temperature reaches 145°F for medium-rare and 160°F for medium, about 15-17 minutes. Remove chops from heat, cover with foil and let rest for 10 minutes.
Serve the chops as desired, topped with a sprinkle of flaky salt.