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Finding the Best Ways to Cook Pork on the Grill [Guide]

Pork and beef are by far the most widely grilled types of meat in America, especially in Southern states which are famous for their briskets, tenderloins and pig roasts.

For the average backyard griller, pork seems like an easier time to properly grill, although our Griller Dude experience shows that there are tricky parts to it.

This is why we put quite a lot of effort into finding the best ways to cook pork on the grill using our Argentinian style grill – the new Smart Flip Flop Grill.

The biggest thing about cooking meat on coals is temperature control, which our product allows you to do easily. With the adjustable height of the grilling grates mid-cooking, you don’t ever have to touch the meat, flip it or manipulate it in any way.

Which is Easier to Grill - Pork or Beef

Pork meat has far larger fat content per square inch than beef, which while still fatty, is leaner in most places. This means that beef is more capricious in terms of heat treatment and is at danger of drying out if cooked without attention to detail.

In terms of grilling, pork is easier to grill on charcoal because the fat provides a moisture buffer. What happens to pork meat when it’s being cooked? The fat which is trapped between the meat fibers start to liquify at around 140F.

Most of the fat drips out onto the fire (stoking it higher), but some portion of it soaking into the meat, leaving you with a juicier end result.

Cook Time for the Different Types of Pork Meat Cuts on the Grill

Just like with beef cuts, there are different types of pork cuts out there – each one of them with varying degrees of protein, saturated fats and lean muscle tissue. These differences require different approaches and this is what we will be discussing below - how to cook pork chops on the grill.

How Long to Cook Pork Tenderloin on Grill

The pork tenderloin comes from the middle front half of the animal, bellow the back fat area. It is relatively dry – in a 100-gram portion research shows only 3.54% (4 grams) of fat and 22% (44 grams) of protein, making it one of driest parts of a pig.

For your grilling experience, this means that you need to be careful with the heat at which you cook your porn tenderloin. Our overall experience shows that pork tenderloin becomes harder the longer it cooks, unlike standard Texan pulled pork.

The maximum time for cooking should be 12 minutes at the most, with prior preparations recommended for broiling. Broiling your meat in a slated and acidic brine will help break down the proteins (remember 44% of the total weight of the meat cut), and make it more tender before grilling.

Due to the relative dryness of the pork, it’s best to aim for an internal meat heat of 145F. This is the recommended temperature at which pork is found to be safely cooked, according to this quote we found in the official USDA website:

“Cook pork, roasts, and chops to 145 ºF as measured with a food thermometer before removing meat from the heat source, with a three-minute rest time before carving or consuming. This will result in a product that is both safe and at its best quality—juicy and tender.”

How to Cook a Whole Pork Loin on the Grill

The same USDA recommendations for cooking pork tenderloin, apply for cooking whole pork cuts. For the safest method of cooking, the Griller Dude team recommends that you adhere to the 145F rule when cooking all pork products.

Due to the higher fat contents (12% for 3 oz (85 grams) portion) pork loin is easier to cook and can withstand higher heat for a better, crispier finish. It does allow for higher cooking temps with better and juicier end results without taking longer.

Pork loin goes well with classic BBQ sauce and it can also be prepared with the modest combination sea salt and freshly ground pepper. It holds well to acidity, making it a delight to work with especially if you are looking for an easier pork cut to cook.

How Long to Cook Pork Chops on Grill

“Pork Chop” is a general term used to signify a steak which is derived from the central portion of a pig’s torso. There are four recognized pork “chops” – the rib chop, boneless shop (more on it down below), the porterhouse chop and sirloin chop.

The type of chop which fits into the general understand of “pork chop” is the one derived from the mid-rib area of the animal. It contains a rib bone which holds a significant amount of fat and meat to it.

These types of chops are prepared in several different ways – from grilling at high heat after a tenderization, to being cooked with a 24-hour acidic tenderization.

Best practices show that quick grill cooking times for a 1-inch bone-in pork chop cut should be anywhere between 3-4 minutes per side with at least 5 minutes to rest away from the fire. Internal heat should read at least 140F, however, it’s recommended that you let it reach 145F.

How Long to Cook Pork Steak on the Grill

Pork steaks come from the butt and the shoulder of the pig. Most common mistake people make is to mistake pork chop and pork steak – the chop comes from the loin area and is lower in fats than the steak.

A 3 oz (85 grams) steak portion contains 28 grams of fat, which is 43% of the total net weight. It has a recognizable marbling and is considered to be one of easiest types of pork meats to grill for a beginner.

Due to the way the animal stores fat, pork chops are one of the fattiest meat sources, aside from the belly (where bacon comes from). It holds flavor quite well and is suitable for pulled pork recipes – it provides lots of flavoring opportunities like regular BBQ sauce, salt and pepper and it holds rosemary scent “notes” quite well.

If you’re asking yourself how long to cook pork steak on grill – for a 1-inch steak, focus on the visual cues. Relative grilling time at 450F should be around 4-7 minutes on each side – lemons and acidic spices go on the steak after it’s done cooking, during the 7-minute resting period window.

How to Cook Pork Ribs on the Grill

Pork ribs are great for cooking on the grill, most people already know how to cook pork ribs on a grill, but we will provide a short summary. Pork ribs, just like beef ribs, require a bit more time to tenderize which is where aluminum foil comes in quite handy.

Remove the membrane on the ribs before seasoning – let the meat sweat after you’ve salted it because it will allow for other dry and wet spice mixes to adhere better. Put the pork ribs into a foil and place on the heated grill.

For people cooking along using their Griller Dude Argentinian style grill, we recommend using the lowest setting to speed up the cooking process. After 1 hour on a 450F heat, check the meat and see if it’s beginning to release its natural fats.

Check the meat between the ribs, there should be no resistance when pressing. Leave the pork ribs into the foil and uncover while still cooking to allow some of the fat to evaporate and soak into the meat.

How Long to Cook Boneless Pork Chops on Grill

Boneless pork chops cook far quicker than bone-in chops because the heat sink effect of the denser bone matter is not present. You generally can cook pork chops (1 inch chop) for about 15 minutes in total.

Tenderizing them with a mallet will allow you to break the bonds between the sinews holding it together and make it far easier to cut once it’s done. Use acidic marinades which contain vitamin C because it helps break down the protein and separate it from the fat.

That’s pretty much it – the Griller Dude team hope this article helps you better understand how to cook pork chops on the grill.


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