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Nathan Congleton / TODAY

Smoked Pork Chops

With Sage Butter

Serves 4

Cook Time 70 Minutes

Prep time: Overnight

For the chops

  • 1/2 cups kosher salt
  • 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons whole black peppercorns
  • 3 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 1 tablespoon coarsely chopped sage
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 4 thick, center-cut, bone-in pork chops
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 4 whole sage leaves
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • Extra virgin olive oil, to garnish
  • Sea salt, to garnish

No more dry pork chops! This cooking method is a surefire way to end up with a juicy pork chop. Cooking low and slow to start ensures even cooking to the perfect temp. And the smoke and sage add a deep depth of flavor to the chops.


Technique tip: Always judge the doneness of a pork chop by internal temperature, not time!


Swap option: You can swap fennel or rosemary for the sage.


Make a wet brine for the chops by dissolving the salt and brown sugar in a 2 quarts of water over medium heat. Remove from the heat and add the garlic, sage, and bay leaves. Cool completely before bring the chops.


Place the pork chops in a container large enough to hold the chops and all of the brine. Add the brine and refrigerate for at least eight hours and up to overnight.


Remove the chops from the brine and pat dry. Leave covered on the counter for one hour to get to room temp.


Heat a pellet smoker with cherry pellets to 200°F. Place the chops directly on the grates and cook with the lid closed for 30-50 minutes until the chops get to an internal temp of 130°F. Pull them and let them rest for five minutes.


While the chops are resting, bring a cast iron skillet to a medium-high temperature on a stovetop or over direct heat on a grill. Add the butter, garlic and sage. As soon as the butter is melted add the chops. Cook, 3-4 minutes per side, (while basting) until the chops are browned and hit an internal temperature of 140°F.


Remove from heat and allow to rest for ten minutes. Drizzle with olive oil and a sprinkle of sea salt.