Smoked Center-Cut Pork Chops

A French rack of pork is a shoulder pork loin still attached to the ribs that affords the home chef an opportunity to prepare a feast of center-cut pork chops with minimal hands-on time. Slideshow: Pork Recipes 

Smoked Center-Cut Pork Chops
Total Time:
2 hrs 20 mins


For the brine

  • 1 French rack of pork (8 to 10 pounds)

  • 1/2 cup kosher salt

  • 1/2 cup honey

  • 1 teaspoon black peppercorns

  • 1/2 teaspoon allspice berries

For the rub

  • 2 tablespoons black pepper

  • 2 tablespoons coconut palm sugar

  • 2 tablespoons paprika

  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt

  • 1 teaspoon chipotle powder

  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder

  • 1 teaspoon onion powder

  • 4 chunks mild smoking wood (apple or cherry preferred)


Brine the pork

  1. Pour 1 quart water into a stockpot and add the kosher salt, honey, peppercorns and allspice berries. Heat the stockpot on high heat and stir together until dissolved. Remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature. Place the rack of pork in a 2-gallon resealable plastic bag and add the brine, then fill with enough water to fully submerge the pork, about 1 gallon. Seal the bag and put it in the fridge overnight, up to 12 hours.

Prepare the dish

  1. Remove the pork from the brine and pat dry. Place on a wire rack on a baking sheet to air dry for 10 minutes; as it dries, combine the rub ingredients. Spread the rub all over the pork, then let sit for another 20 minutes while prepping the grill.

  2. Place the wood chunks in a small aluminum pan. Put the pan over a burner under the grates, then turn on the grill to high heat on all burners for 10 minutes. Turn off all burners but the one that’s under the wood chunks and adjust the temperature as needed to reach 325°. If using a charcoal grill, the setup will be similar, with the charcoal and wood chunks banked on one side.

  3. When the grill reaches a stable temperature, add the pork, rib side down, with the bones facing the hot part of the grill. Smoke the rack until it reaches an internal temperature of 140° (about 1 1/2 hours). Tent loosely with tinfoil and let rest for 20 minutes before slicing.

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