Because pork cuts will cook differently depending on their size and thickness, it is important to monitor pork temperature with a digital thermometer when grilling. Enjoy the best eating experience when cooking cuts such as pork chops and pork tenderloin between 145 degrees F. (medium-rare) and 160 degrees F. (well), with a 3-minute rest time after leaving the grill. Ground pork should always be cooked to 160 degrees F.
How to Grill Pork
Direct and Indirect Heat Combination
A popular method for grilling pork includes a combination of both direct and indirect heat. This recommended technique allows the meat to be seared at high heat before finishing the cooking process slowly over lower heat. Using this method for pork chops, pork tenderloin, and pork loin roasts promote a seared exterior and a juicy, tender interior.
- Turn on one or half of the gas burners to the directed cooking temperature. For charcoal grills, bank hot coals on both sides of the fire grate, on one side of the grill or in a ring around the perimeter.
- Place pork directly above the heat source for searing, flipping once.
- Transfer pork to the side of grill that is not directly over any coals or lit gas burners, and close the grill hood.
- Follow suggested cooking times.
- Arrange hot coals evenly on the fire grate of the grill or use all gas burners.
- Place pork directly above the heat source.
- Follow suggested cooking times, turning once during cooking.
- Bank hot coals on both sides of the fire grate, on one side of the grill or in a ring around the perimeter. For gas grills, preheat and then turn off any burners directly below where the food will go.
- Place pork on the grill so it’s not directly over any coals or gas burners and close the grill hood.
- Follow suggested cooking times until pork is done. The heat circulates inside the grill, so turning the pork is not necessary.
Grilling Pork Tips
- To prevent pork from sticking to the grate, scrub grates clean and coat with vegetable oil or a nonstick vegetable oil spray prior to using.
- Do not use sharp utensils that may pierce the pork when flipping, as piercing allows flavor-filled juices to escape. Use other utensils, such as spatulas or tongs, for turning.
- Make sure the propane tank is at least one-third full before you begin grilling. Having an extra full tank of propane on hand just in case is never a bad idea.
- “Heat is good, the flame is bad.” Frequently flipping pork on a cooler area of the grill is better than accidentally burning it on an area that is too hot.
- A hot grill will cook thin cuts quickly, so have your necessary ingredients and sauces handy before you begin grilling.
- Sugar-based sauces (many commercial barbeque sauces) tend to burn if applied too early. Baste during the last few minutes of cooking.
- To check cooking temperature when using charcoal:
- Low – Ash coat is thick, red glow less visible
- Medium – Coals covered with light-gray ash
- High – Red glow visible through ash coating
Popular Grilling Recipes