For years, we’ve been using a simple recipe that’s the Best Pork Chop Marinade around. It’s a little bit savory and a little bit sweet, and our grilled pork chops are flavorful, moist, and tender every single time!
The marinade is super easy to make and uses basic ingredients that are always in my pantry. The secret ingredient in this marinade is soy sauce which works as a brine to tenderize the pork.
Honey in the marinade creates nice caramelization on the pork chops as they cook, and fresh lime juice helps break down the raw pork so all the flavors can penetrate.
Best Pork Chop Marinade
This is the BEST pork chop marinade and it is SO easy. You can imagine just how old this recipe is when I tell you I scribbled it on a post-it note and filed it in my recipe box for safe keeping. Who still uses a recipe box?!
Truthfully, I think I first tried this marinade after seeing it on a package of pork tenderloin, but it’s been so long now that I really can’t say. What I can tell you is that this recipe is tried and true — I can’t even count how many times I’ve made Easy Grilled Pork Chop Marinade!
What makes it so great is that even if you can only have time to marinate the pork chops for an hour or two, they will still turn out absolutely delicious. My preference is to marinate pork chops for at least 4 to 8 hours, or better yet, overnight. Regardless, these chops are always juicy!
- Fresh lime juice (or lemon juice) to break down the raw meat to infuse flavor
- Extra-virgin olive oil
- Soy sauce (or Tamari) for saltiness and to brine/tenderize
- Honey (or brown sugar) for sweetness
- Garlic for a little zing
- Freshly ground black pepper
What is the best way to tenderize pork chops?
Soaking in a salty brine or marinade is the trick for tenderizing pork chops. My marinade recipe gets saltiness — as well as plenty of flavor — from soy sauce.
How long can you marinate pork chops?
Pork chops can be marinated up to 24 hours. The longer you can leave the chops in the marinade, the more tender the results. With the recipe below, I recommend you marinate for at least 8 hours.
Should you pierce pork chops before marinating?
There are mixed opinions about piercing pork chops before placing them in marinade. Some believe that by piercing you release the meat’s natural juices and lose flavor. Others believe piercing results in a more tender pork chop by getting the brine deep into the meat. Here’s what I think: If you are cooking a thin pork chop, definitely do not pierce it before marinating. For thick pork chops — more than 1-inch thick — pierce the chops if you are marinating for less than 2 hours.
How do you know when pork chops are done?
Pork chops are done when the juices run clear when pressed (not pierced) with a fork and they reach an internal temperature of 145 degrees according to PorkCheckoff.org. Once removed from the grill, the chops will continue cooking a bit. Cover pork chops with foil and allow them to rest for 3 minutes before serving so that the juice are sealed inside.
How do you grill pork chops without drying them out?
The trick to grilling pork chops is to make sure you do not overcook them. A thinner chop will cook quickly, especially if it has been marinated, so watch carefully. Grilling thinner chops over indirect heat is also a good idea.
A good practice to avoid over cooking is to remove the pork chops from the grill when they reach an internal temperature of 140º Fahrenheit, then tent the chops with aluminum foil for 5 minutes. The chops will continue cooking and should reach the magic number in that amount of time, but always test with an instant read thermometer to confirm.
How long do you cook 1-inch pork chops on the grill?
One-inch pork chops should cook 8 to 12 minutes to an internal temperature of 145 degrees.
Why are my grilled pork chops tough?
Overcooking will dry pork chops out and they will become tough and chewy. Remember, meats will continue cooking even after you remove them from the heat.
Is it better to grill pork chops with the lid open?
If the chops are thin, definitely leave the grill lid open. Thicker chops will do better with the lid closed.
Lean pork is so quick and easy to cook. Here are a few favorite recipes for pork chops and pork tenderloin I think you will like:
- Chili-Orange Glaze Pork Tenderloin — easy preparation and simple ingredients combine to create a flavorful meal.
- Balsamic Pork Chops — these boneless pork chops simmer in a balsamic vinegar sauce and can be on your table in just 30 minutes!
- Maple Dijon Oven-Roasted Pork Tenderloin — basted with a sweet and savory Dijon mustard sauce and cooked together with sweet potatoes.
- Grilled Pork Chops with Peach Salsa —a must-try recipe for anyone like me who waits with bated breath for the peak of Summer peach season when peaches taste their absolute finest.
- Grilled Pork Tenderloin with Blueberry Salsa — easy enough for weeknight grilling or fancy enough for your next Summer dinner party!
Best Pork Chop Marinade recipe
The best part about this recipe is that it is so versatile. You can use it for grilling, baking, or pan-searing pork chops. Also, in a pinch you can easily substitute brown sugar for the honey and lemon juice for the lime juice.
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- 4 1-inch boneless pork loin chops
- 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/2 cup soy sauce
- 1/4 cup honey
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- Place the pork chops in a gallon-size ziplock bag.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the marinade ingredients. Pour over the pork chops in the bag, seal, and refrigerate for 4 to 8 hours, or overnight.
- Preheat the grill to 400 degrees. Grill the chops over direct heat for 8 to 12 minutes, flipping every 3 to 4 minutes, until the chops reach an internal temperature of 145 degrees.
- Remove the chops from the grill and allow to rest for 3 minutes before serving to seal in the juices.
- You may substitute brown sugar for the honey.
- You may also substitute lemon juice for the lime juice.
- Even if you can only have time to marinate the pork chops for an hour or two, they will still turn out absolutely delicious. My preference is to marinate pork chops for at least 4 to 8 hours, or better yet, overnight.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 309Total Fat: 14gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 10gCholesterol: 68mgSodium: 1791mgCarbohydrates: 20gFiber: 0gSugar: 18gProtein: 25g
Sheila Thigpen, author of Easy Chicken Cookbook and The 5-Ingredient Fresh and Easy Cookbook, is a recipe developer, food photographer, and food writer. She spent 20+ years as a business manager in the publishing industry before she retired in 2018 to focus on her passions — cooking, photography, and writing. Living near the beautiful Smoky Mountains, Sheila and her husband have two adult daughters and two fine sons-in-law, are active in their church, love to travel, and have a precious little granddaughter who has stolen their hearts. Follow Sheila on YouTube, Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter!