Raw pork chop seasoned with black pepper and salt, garnished with fresh herbs, red chili, garlic cloves, with tomatoes and olive oil in the background, ready for grilling.

Do You Salt Season Pork Chops Before Grilling?

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Writer / Enthusiast / Meat Curer / Forager / Harvester | About Tom

For decades, immersed in studying, working, learning, and teaching in the craft of meat curing, now sharing his passion with you through eat cured meat online resource.

Salt and the cure or seasoning you can do to a pork chop is all about the amount you put on. However, if you think it makes a difference, let’s get into it.

There is nothing quite like the smokey taste of fresh grilled pork chops. There are several schools of thought about process and seasoning when it comes to grilling pork chops. Salt is one of the widely used seasonings, but the timing of use is often questioned, too.

By salt seasoning pork chops before grilling, you can hold moisture on the surface of the meat, this will help prevent the meat from drying out as much during direct heat grilling. The pork chops should then be refrigerated for 2-24 hours.

Here is the short, quick answer, then I will talk about why more below.

In this article, you will learn about the best way and time to salt pork chops before grilling. 

Why Salt Pork Chops Before Grilling?

It is important to salt pork chops before grilling because it will help bring out the flavor and help improve the texture of the cooked meat.

Some pork chops can be on the dry side when cooked simply because they are tougher cuts of meat, but that also depends on the amount of fat. The quality and intermuscular fat are also factors. 

Pork chop large
Do You Salt Season Pork Chops Before Grilling? 4

Process of Salting Pork Chops

If you expect to throw a few dashes of salt on your pork chops, you will not notice a difference in the taste or texture of the meat, generally speaking.

There are two ways to add salt to your pork chops before grilling.

  • Dry Rub
  • Wet Brine

Both of which will provide you with a tasteful and tender cut of meat when it is cooked. You will need several hours to salt pork chops before grilling properly. 

Dry Rub

One popular method of salting pork chops is the dry rub method (it’s not curing, which this site is all about).

As the name suggests, you will apply the salt and any other seasoning to the meat in a dry form. When you see the term brine (or pickle), you may think of liquid, which is true,

Dry brining is confusing- you are just dry rubbing/seasoning. I don’t think dry brining is the right terminology here – a brine has liquid.

To dry rub or salt pork chops, you will want to make sure you follow the steps carefully or you may end up with tough and flavorless pork chops. 

  1. Mix your salt and other seasonings in a bowl. Mixing them in a bowl and not just on the meat is important because it will ensure an even distribution of the spices. 
  2. Dry the pork chops with a paper towel to avoid excess moisture. 
  3. Rub the seasoning mix on both sides of the pork chops.
  4. Place the pork chops in a dish and into the refrigerator for 2-24 hours before cooking. 

This may seem time-consuming, but the benefits will be tasted.

Although the pork chops are dry on the outside initially, the salt will penetrate slightly and hold the moisture on the surface during the heat/cooking step you will do.

If you want to take some lessons from dry curing meat, which I’ve learned. You could use this calculator and a percentage of 0.2-0.8% equilibrium curing to the weight of the meat.

Seasoning or Dry Rubbing is often under 1% to the weight of the meat

Wet Brining

The following method you may use to salt your pork chops is called “brining”.

This method is popular because it is easy to use.

You will add all the salt and seasoning to cool water. Once everything has dissolved, you add the pork chops and wait 12-24 hours before grilling. 

All these methods focus on using salt to help break down the toughness of the pork chops. If used properly, you will not have to worry about dry and flavorless grilled pork chops. 

(Source: Sabre Grills)

Memorize This Brine Solution for Never-Dry Pork Chops – We use a basic brine solution of 1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) salt to 1 quart (4 cups) of water. Lay the pork chops (or other thin cut) in a single layer in a shallow dish and then pour the brine over top. Let this sit for anywhere from 1/2 hour to 2 hours before cooking.

https://www.thekitchn.com/cooking-tip-make-a-quick-brine-for-perfect-pork-chops-cooking-tips-from-the-kitchn-79095

How Much Salt Should You Use?

You now know salt can be helpful before grilling your pork chops, but you will not reap the benefits if you do not use the proper amount. When adding salt to pork before grilling, you may be surprised at the amount needed to make a difference. 

If you choose to use a dry rub, you will want to measure two tablespoons of salt for every pound of meat. This may seem like excessive salt, but you will not end up with a salty product.

If you’re worried about that much salt, use a bit less to start and work your way up to this. Saltiness is also based on perception. My partner is incredibly sensitive to salt, but I prefer a bit more! 

Final Thoughts

Adding salt to your pork chops before grilling should become a habit.

Not only will it provide extra flavor, but it will tenderize a typically tough piece of meat. You must remember to leave enough time for the salt to fully tenderize the meat, so plan before grilling pork chops, and you will not be sorry.


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