How Long To Grill Pork Chops At 400: Best BBQ Recipe

Grilling pork chops to perfection involves precision in both timing and temperature. As an experienced home cook, I’ve discovered that grilling pork chops at 400 degrees Fahrenheit strikes the ideal balance between a nicely seared exterior and a moist interior. Cooking at this temperature allows me to efficiently create that coveted caramelization while ensuring the inside remains juicy.

Pork chops sizzling on a hot grill at 400 degrees, with grill marks forming as they cook

Achieving the perfect pork chop requires adhering to specific cook times, which vary based on thickness and whether the cut is bone-in or boneless. Typically, I grill my 1-inch thick bone-in pork chops for anywhere from 6 to 8 minutes per side, which is a technique supported by several culinary experts. This method ensures that the pork chops reach the necessary internal temperature of 145 degrees Fahrenheit, conforming with food safety standards without forfeiting tenderness.

My many grilling sessions have taught me that patience and a good meat thermometer are the best way to guarantee juicy pork chops. By resisting the urge to flip the chops too soon and by relying on the thermometer rather than guesswork, I achieve consistent results. The key is to always allow your meat to rest for a few minutes after grilling. This step redistributes the juices, solidifying my reputation for serving up the best mouthwatering pork chops my family and friends have ever tasted.

Choosing the Right Pork Chops

When I grill pork chops at 400 degrees, selecting the appropriate cut is crucial for optimal flavor and texture. Here’s what I consider.

Bone-In Versus Boneless

Bone-in pork chops tend to retain more moisture during grilling, which can result in juicier meat. The bone also adds flavor and helps the chop cook evenly. My personal preference often leans toward center-cut rib chops with the bone, as they deliver a balance of flavor and tenderness. On the other hand, boneless chops offer convenience; they’re known to be quicker to cook and easier to eat but can dry out if not monitored closely.

Thickness Matters

Thickness is paramount for grilling success. Thick pork chops, ideally about 1 to 1.5 inches thick, are best for a high-heat grill like 400 degrees. They provide enough time for a good sear on the outside without overcooking the inside. Thin pork chops can also be delicious, but they require much less time on the grill—sometimes less than a few minutes per side—to avoid becoming tough.

Selecting Meat Quality

I always look for the best choice of meat in the meat case, which typically means selecting high-quality pork loin chops. The center cut is premium, offering the most tenderness and flavor. When considering thicker chops, marbling is my indicator of quality; those little streaks of fat within the meat will melt during cooking, leaving the chop succulent and rich.

Preparation Before Grilling

A grill preheated to 400 degrees, pork chops seasoned and placed on the grill, grill lid closed, timer set for recommended grilling time

Before I grill pork chops at 400 degrees, I always make sure to properly prepare them to ensure they’re moist, flavorful, and perfectly cooked. Here’s how I get my pork chops ready.

Brining for Moisture

I start by brining the pork chops to guarantee moisture retention. I’ll dissolve a generous amount of brown sugar and salt in cold water and place the chops in this solution, making sure they’re fully submerged. I usually brine them, covered, in the fridge for at least 30 minutes to a couple of hours. Right before grilling, I’ll remove the chops and pat them dry with paper towels.

Seasoning the Pork Chops

For the seasoning, I prefer a dry rub because it creates a delicious crust on the pork chops. In a small bowl, I combine a blend of simple ingredients: brown sugar, black pepper, organic garlic powder, organic onion powder, and a touch of salt. This mix will be rubbed all over the pork chops, ensuring they are coated evenly on all sides. Just a light layer of olive oil before the dry rub helps the mixture stick better and promotes an even sear.

Dry RubIngredientsFlavor Profile
Smoky BBQ RubBrown sugar, paprika, garlic powder, cuminSweet, smoky, and slightly spicy
Herb and Garlic RubDried thyme, rosemary, garlic powder, saltSavory, aromatic, and herbaceous
Spicy Cajun RubPaprika, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, saltBold, spicy, and full of flavor
Maple Mustard RubMaple sugar, mustard powder, black pepperSweet, tangy, and slightly spicy
Citrus Herb RubLemon zest, thyme, oregano, garlic powderBright, citrusy, and herb-infused
Honey Chipotle RubChipotle powder, honey, brown sugar, cuminSmoky, sweet, and mildly spicy
Italian Herb RubDried basil, oregano, garlic powder, saltClassic Italian flavors, aromatic
Asian Five Spice RubFive spice powder, brown sugar, ginger powderSweet, savory, and aromatic
Apple Cider RubApple cider vinegar powder, brown sugarSweet, tangy, and slightly fruity
Coffee Cocoa RubInstant coffee, cocoa powder, brown sugarRich, bold, and slightly sweet

Marinating Variations

Marinating pork chops infuses them with a rich depth of flavor, as the combination of herbs, spices, and acidic ingredients tenderizes the meat while imparting a delicious taste throughout.

Marinade TypeIngredientsInstructions
Teriyaki MarinadeSoy sauce, brown sugar, garlic, ginger, sesame oilMix all ingredients in a bowl. Marinate pork chops for at least 1 hour before cooking.
Honey Mustard MarinadeDijon mustard, honey, apple cider vinegar, garlicWhisk together all ingredients. Marinate pork chops for 2-4 hours in the refrigerator.
Balsamic Herb MarinadeBalsamic vinegar, olive oil, garlic, thyme, rosemaryCombine all ingredients in a zip-top bag. Add pork chops and marinate for 4-6 hours.
Lemon Garlic MarinadeLemon juice, olive oil, garlic, parsley, salt, pepperMix all ingredients in a shallow dish. Marinate pork chops for 30 minutes to 2 hours.
Korean BBQ MarinadeSoy sauce, brown sugar, garlic, ginger, sesame oil, gochujangWhisk together ingredients. Marinate pork chops for at least 2 hours, or overnight for best flavor.

Bringing to Room Temperature

Lastly, it is crucial to let the pork chops sit out and reach room temperature before they hit the grill. This takes about 20 minutes. It’s a simple step, but it provides a more even cook throughout the pork chop. While they temper, I make sure the chops are covered with aluminum foil for hygiene and to prevent any contaminants from getting on them. After this, they’re ready to be placed on a preheated grill.

Heating the Grill

Pork chops sizzling on a hot grill, smoke rising as they cook at 400 degrees

When I approach grilling, especially for pork chops at 400°F, it is crucial that I understand my grill’s capabilities and how to manage its heat. This begins with knowing whether I’m going to use a gas, charcoal, or pellet grill, as each type has its nuances for achieving a consistent 400°F, the sweet spot for perfectly seared pork chops.

Gas Versus Charcoal Versus Pellet

Gas Grill: I find that using a gas grill offers convenience and control. To heat it to 400°F, I make sure the burners are clean and then turn them to the medium-high setting. I give it about 15-20 minutes to preheat with the lid closed, checking that the temperature gauge aligns with my target temperature.

Charcoal Grill: If I am using a charcoal grill, the process requires a bit more patience. I start by piling my charcoal briquettes and lighting them, allowing them to ash over which usually takes around 15 minutes. To achieve the 400°F necessary for grilling pork chops, I arrange the coals for even spread of heat and use air vents to control the airflow and, thus, the temperature.

Pellet Grill: Pellet grills are a little bit different. I power on my pellet grill, set the temperature to 400°F, and give it time to reach the desired heat. This usually takes about 15 minutes, depending on my model, and the integrated fan helps maintain a consistent temperature throughout the cooking process.

Grill TypeProsCons
Gas Grill– Easy to use and control temperature– May lack the smoky flavor of other grills
– Quick preheating– Limited flavor infusion
– Even cooking surface– Requires propane or natural gas
– Easy cleanup
Charcoal Grill– Provides smoky flavor– Longer preheating time
– High heat for searing– Requires charcoal and lighter fluid
– Versatile for indirect cooking– Cleanup can be messy
– Traditional grilling experience– Temperature control can be challenging
Electric Grill– Convenient for indoor use– Limited flavor compared to charcoal
– Easy temperature control– Less intense heat
– No open flame– Requires access to electricity
– Easy cleanup– Limited portability
Pellet Grill– Provides smoky flavor– Requires electricity and wood pellets
– Precise temperature control– Higher cost compared to other grills
– Versatile for smoking and grilling– Pellet availability may vary
– Set-it-and-forget-it operation– May require more maintenance

Maintaining Consistent Heat

With all types of grills, there are methods to ensure consistent heat, which is vital for properly cooked pork chops. On a gas grill, I monitor the temperature gauge and adjust the knobs as needed. In cases where the grill has hot spots, I’ll move my pork chops around during cooking to prevent uneven grilling.

For a charcoal grill, maintaining heat is about managing the coal bed and the air flow. I add more coals if the temperature starts to dip and adjust the vents to increase or decrease the temperature.

For my pellet grill, it’s primarily about keeping the hopper filled with pellets. Many models auto-regulate the temperature, but keeping an eye on it doesn’t hurt.

Regardless of the grill type, indirect heat can come into play if I want to finish cooking the pork chops without additional searing. This involves moving the chops to a part of the grill away from the direct heat source, allowing the surrounding heat to cook the meat more gently.

Remember, I always make sure my grill grates are clean before preheating, as this promotes better heat transfer and helps achieve those coveted grill marks on the pork chops.

Grilling the Pork Chops

Pork chops sizzling on a hot grill at 400 degrees

When I grill pork chops at 400 degrees Fahrenheit, my goal is to achieve a balance between a well-seared exterior and a juicy interior. I’m meticulous about the placement on the grill, the cook time, and getting those coveted grill marks.

Placement on the Grill

I always preheat my grill to a consistent 400 degrees Fahrenheit before placing pork chops on it. This high temperature is key for quick searing and locking in flavors. I lay the pork chops directly over the flames or coals if I’m using a charcoal grill for 2-3 minutes on each side. This initial high heat contact is crucial for creating a flavorful crust.

Monitoring Cook Time

I keep a close watch on the cooking time, as it’s vital for perfect doneness. Each pork chop, depending on its thickness, usually needs about 6 to 8 minutes on each side of the pork chop to reach an internal temperature of 145 degrees, which is safe for pork. If it’s a particularly thick cut, I let it cook for a bit longer, ensuring it’s not over or underdone.

Achieving Grill Marks

For beautiful grill marks, I’m attentive during the first few minutes of grilling. Once I see the chop turning a rich brown and grill marks start to form, I rotate the chops 45 degrees and grill for another 2-3 minutes. The sugar content, such as traces of brown sugar in marinades, helps in caramelization, enhancing those sought-after marks without burning them over a hot grill for a long time.

By sticking to these practices, I ensure the pork chops I grill aren’t just cooked to safe temperatures—they’re also visually appealing and packed with flavor.

Checking for Doneness

Pork chops on a grill at 400 degrees, turning occasionally. Timer set for recommended cook time

When grilling pork chops at 400 degrees, I ensure doneness by checking the internal temperature. This is the most precise method to know whether the pork is cooked safely and to my preferred level of juiciness.

Using a Meat Thermometer

I always use a high quality digital meat thermometer to check the inside temperature of my pork chops. After about 6 to 8 minutes of grilling each side, I insert the meat thermometer into the tallest and thickest part of the chop, making sure it doesn’t touch the bone. A clear digital display tells me when the pork has reached the safe minimum internal temperature, which should be 145°F for medium doneness.

Understanding Internal Temperatures

It’s essential to know the different temperatures for various levels of doneness. Pork chops are safe and good to eat when the internal temperature of the chop is at 145°F, as recommended by the USDA. However, if I prefer my pork more well-done, I aim for a higher temperature, keeping it below 160°F to prevent the meat from drying out. Remember, the temperature can rise a few degrees after removing the pork from the grill, so I consider this in my timing.

Resting and Serving

After grilling pork chops to perfection at 400 degrees, I always ensure they are given ample time to rest before serving. This crucial step guarantees each bite is as juicy and flavorful as possible. Here’s how I approach the resting and serving process in my kitchen.

Allowing Meat to Rest

I make it a point to let my grilled pork chops rest, tented with aluminum foil, for at least 5 minutes after they come off the grill. This gives the juices that have bubbled to the surface during cooking a chance to redistribute throughout the meat. By doing so, I am rewarded with juicy chops that are moist from edge to center. Trust me, the patience pays off with every tender bite.

Serving Suggestions

When I’m ready to serve, presentation is key. I slice the chops or serve them whole, depending on my guests’ preferences. To elevate the delicious flavor, I occasionally brush them with a barbecue sauce or a sugar-based glaze during the final minutes of grilling. Pairing the chops with sides like steamed green beans or a light salad can delight the whole family. If they’re around, a dollop of my favorite BBQ sauce on the side never goes amiss.

Grill Maintenance and Safety

When grilling the best grilled pork chops or any version of your favorite pork chop recipes, maintaining your grill and adhering to safety standards is crucial. A well-maintained grill ensures each perfect juicy pork chop is cooked evenly and reduces the risk of accidents.

Cleaning the Grill

Before I grill, especially thick-cut pork chops, I make it a habit to always clean the grill grates thoroughly. This not only prevents food from sticking but also extends the life of the grill. After preheating the grill, I use a grill brush to scrub off any burnt-on debris. Once the grill has cooled down after cooking, I wipe the grates with a damp cloth to remove any remaining residue.

Safe Grilling Practices

Safety is my top priority when grilling. I always keep a fire extinguisher nearby in case of flare-ups. It’s important to never leave the grill unattended, especially when cooking items like BBQ pork chops which can drip fat and cause flare-ups. I follow the guidelines provided by the Ohio Pork Council for cooking pork to a safe temperature, which helps in preventing foodborne illnesses. Using a meat thermometer, I ensure my pork chops reach an internal temperature of 145°F before serving.

Frequently Asked Questions

Grilling pork chops at 400 degrees Fahrenheit is a common method to achieve juicy and flavorful meat. Here, I address some frequently asked questions to help ensure your pork chops are grilled to perfection.

What is the recommended internal temperature for grilled pork chops?

The ideal internal temperature for grilled pork chops is 145 degrees Fahrenheit. Reaching this temperature means your pork chops are cooked to medium doneness, which is both safe and ensures the pork is juicy and tender.

How can you tell when grilled pork chops are done?

Aside from using a meat thermometer to check for the recommended 145 degrees Fahrenheit, look for clear juices when the chops are poked, and check that the meat is firm to the touch. These are visual cues that your pork chops are adequately cooked.

What are some tips for keeping pork chops moist while grilling?

To keep pork chops moist, marinate or brine them before grilling. Also, avoid overcooking, and let them rest for a few minutes after grilling to redistribute the juices within the meat.

How do thickness and bone-in versus boneless affect grilling times for pork chops?

Thickness greatly affects grilling time; thicker chops require more time on the grill. Bone-in pork chops also generally take longer to cook than boneless, as the bone can affect heat distribution.

What are the differences in grill time between propane and gas grilling for pork chops?

Grill times should be consistent whether using propane or natural gas, as both grills can reach and maintain the required 400 degrees Fahrenheit for cooking the pork chops. The key is to monitor the temperature and look for the visual and textural clues of doneness.

At what point should you apply sauces or glazes when grilling pork chops?

Apply sauces or glazes during the last few minutes of grilling to prevent burning the sugars in the sauces, which can give the pork chops an unpleasant taste.

Grilled Bone-In Pork Chops with Homemade BBQ Sauce

Recipe by kitcheneasylifeCourse: DinnerCuisine: SouthernDifficulty: Easy


Prep time


Cooking time



This recipe will surely impress your family and friends at your next barbecue or outdoor gathering! Juicy, tender, bone-in pork chops perfectly seared and smothered with homemade, tangy BBQ sauce!


  • For the Pork Chops:

  • 4 bone-in pork chops, about 1 inch thick

  • Salt and pepper to taste

  • Olive oil for brushing

  • For the BBQ Sauce:

  • 1 cup ketchup

  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar

  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika

  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder

  • Salt and pepper to taste


  • Prepare the BBQ Sauce: In a small saucepan, combine the ketchup, apple cider vinegar, brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce, smoked paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and pepper. Stir well to combine.
  • Simmer the Sauce: Place the saucepan over medium heat and bring the mixture to a simmer. Cook for 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the sauce has thickened slightly. Remove from heat and set aside.
  • Prepare the Pork Chops: Preheat your grill to medium-high heat. Season the pork chops generously with salt and pepper on both sides.
  • Grill the Pork Chops: Brush the grill grates with olive oil to prevent sticking. Place the seasoned pork chops on the grill and cook for 5-6 minutes per side, or until they reach an internal temperature of 145°F (63°C) for medium doneness. Brush the pork chops with the homemade BBQ sauce during the last few minutes of grilling, allowing the sauce to caramelize slightly.
  • Rest and Serve: Remove the pork chops from the grill and let them rest for a few minutes before serving. Serve the grilled bone-in pork chops with extra BBQ sauce on the side.


  • Can be made with boneless pork chops.

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