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Grilling Pork Chops with Dual-Zone Cooking on Look

Grilled meats are the indisputable star of most summer barbecues. From ribeye steaks to baby back ribs, there’s no shortage of ways to put your wood pellets, charcoal briquettes, and propane tanks to use. But just because a favorite food is grilled doesn’t mean it has been grilled correctly. Mastering meat-grilling techniques can be challenging, and many dishes can fall victim to the tragedy of becoming overcooked, rubbery, and flavorless. If you want the juiciest grilled pork chops on your block, you’ll want to implement a grilling method called dual zone cooking. This approach allows you to get the perfect crust on the outside of your pork chops without overcooking them on the inside.

A dual zone setup has the potential to make the entire difference between delicious blackened pork chops and … well, inedible black pork chops. All it really means is keeping one side of your grill hot, with direct heat, and the other side cooler with indirect heat. This makes it easy to create an irresistible sear over direct heat before letting the residual heat finish the job. Some grills and griddles come equipped with the ability to cook with multiple zones through the use of thermostatic controls. If you have a more traditional model, however, you’ll have to take an extra step to make this configuration work for you. Don’t worry, though, it’s very straightforward and will make a huge difference in creating perfectly juicy, delightfully crunchy barbecued meats.

Load the fuel up on one side

pork chops on grill

To grill pork chops using a dual zone method, you’ll first need to visualize dividing your grill in half. Fill one side with your fuel to burn — either wood or charcoal — and leave the other half bare. If you’re using a gas grill, you’ll just need to choose the burner to turn up high and the burner to leave off or on low. From this point, you can fire up the grill and place your raw chops right over the direct heat from the hot side of your setup. Sear your pork chops for about 2-3 minutes on each side to help them develop that signature crust. Once you’ve got a beautifully crispy exterior, you can move your pork chops over to the cool side of your grill to finish cooking. The heat from the active side will still do all the work, just indirectly to make sure your pork chops don’t dry out. When your pork chops reach a safe, internal temperature of 145 degrees Fahrenheit, you can remove them from the grill and allow the meat to rest for at least 5 minutes before slicing and serving.

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For additional grilling practice, you can try dual zone cooking with favorites like burgers and reverse-seared steak, which is in our opinion, one of the best ways to cook a steak. Check out our gallery of barbecued and smoked recipes for even more delicious inspiration.

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