How To Tenderize Pork Chops (3 Easy Steps)

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Want to know how to tenderize your pork chops? You are in the right place!

A well-cooked pork chop should be tender and juicy, not chewy. You can be left with chewy and dry pork chops without properly tenderizing your meat. 

There are 3 ways to tenderize pork chops; let’s find out how to do each.

1. Tenderizing Your Pork With a Meat Mallet

Pork tends to be tough meat that can be difficult to cook evenly. Pounded meat with a commercial meat tenderizer will help break down the connective tissue and muscle fibers and create a uniform size.

Evening out tough meat avoids the chewy texture and decreases the cooking time in the kitchen.

2. Make A Simple Marinade For Your Pork Chops.

Creating a marinade is an excellent way to make the piece of meat more tender and add more flavor. However, the pork chop marinade must contain either a tenderizing enzyme or an acid.

Fortunately, we’ll provide you with the marinade recipe and instructions below so you can have flavorful pork chops. Before you make your marinade, make sure you pierce the chops using a fork or meat tenderizer.

Here are the marinade ingredients: 

  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar: 
  • 1/3 cup soy sauce 
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil:
  • 2 cloves minced garlic or 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar: 
  • 2 tablespoons ketchup: 
  • 1 tablespoon of lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper and kosher salt:

Steps to Making a Delicious Marinade

1. Mix the apple cider vinegar, olive oil, garlic, soy sauce, lemon juice, ketchup, and brown sugar in a medium-sized shallow bowl. Then, whisk until thoroughly blended. 

2. Pierce the pork chops with a fork or commercial meat tenderizer. Then, place the cold meat into a large, resealable plastic bag. 

3. Pour the marinade sauce over the pork chops, squeeze the bag to remove excess air, and seal it tight. 

4. Refrigerate the pork chops for at least two to four hours or overnight. However, we don’t recommend leaving them in the fridge for more than eight hours since they’ll absorb more sodium unless you use less kosher salt. 

5. In another shallow bowl, whisk together your seasoning ingredients. We recommend using garlic powder, black pepper, cayenne pepper, cinnamon, onion powder, paprika, and cumin. 

6. Remove the pork chops from the fridge and let them sit at room temperature for 15 to 20 minutes before cooking. 

7. Dab both sides of the meat with a paper towel. Sprinkle the seasoning on the pork chop and massage the spice mixture over both sides. 

3. Using a Brine

You can brine your pork in a saltwater solution to make your pork more tender. While a brine always contains water and salt, you can also add other flavors, such as rosemary, thyme, and sugar.

You want to brine your pork chop for at least 12 hours before you cook it.

Cooking Your Pork (So It Comes Out Tender)

Below are the steps to cooking pork so it comes out juicy and tender not tough!

I use a pellet grill, so these pit boss pork chops always come out perfect. You can also try searing your pork chops on a salt block. If you plan to use your pork chops for pulled pork I would recommend using a crock pot, and its helps the meat to stay moist

1. Turn on the grill to medium-high heat (400°F). Spray the cooking grates with oil to prevent sticking during the cooking process. If you’re on a low-calorie diet, consider using canola oil, which contains less fat. 

2. Place the chops on the grill and sear for 4 to 5 minutes. Anything thicker than 1-inch pork chops may take five to six minutes per side. 

3. Grill the other side for 4 more minutes. Use an instant-read or meat thermometer to get an accurate reading and wait until it reaches an internal temperature of 140°F.

4. Remove the chops from the grill and onto the plate. Tent with foil for five minutes before serving. 

5. Serve them with your favorite sides. We recommend serving them with boiled corn, steamed broccoli, roasted parsnips, potatoes, or steamed rice. This complements the pork chops and maximizes the natural flavors. 

Should You Use Bone-In Or Bone-Out Pork Chops? 

Although boneless chops save you some cooking time, you won’t get the same depth of flavor. Compared to boneless pork chops, bone-in pork chops provide much more flavor and are less likely to overcook.

The bone protects against overcooking, and the fatty meat keeps it juicy and flavorful. 

Want to Reheat Your Pork Chops?

If pork chops are not reheated right, they can become dry and tasteless. Follow my steps to reheat smoked pork chops so you can have succulent chops as leftovers!

Smoke On!


Hi, I’m Charlie, I have been meat-smoking and grilling for the past 15 years. I have an array of different smokers, thermometers, and have a love for finding the right wood and charcoal combo My favourite recipes are my EXTRA CRISPY smoked pork belly, juicy pulled pork, smoked brisket, duck poppers, and ANY SEAFOOD I grill).

I loves sharing his tips with beginners, helping them navigate the world of smoking. I find it’s not just about cooking; it’s a quest for that perfect smoky flavor.

You will usually find me playing with the kids, perfecting my brisket bark, or sipping beers with boys around the fire. Can’t wait to share all my delicious smoking and grilling recipes with you!

You can read more about me on our About Us page.

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