Active time: 15 min. Total time: 4 hours, 45 min., including 4 hours chilling
Yield: Serves 8 (serving size: 1 pork chop)

Very juicy, flavorful pork chop. The brine imparts a subtle sweet and savory flavor inside and the hot sauce baste helps season the outside to make a complete mouthfeel for this dish. The pork chops do not get a crust or very browned on the outside, but I think that is par for the course as far as I can tell with the pellet grills, they do not seem to impart a lot of color since it is basically indirect heat. Save leftovers to serve in sandwiches or stewed with beans.


  • 1 quart water
  • 1 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup fresh orange juice (from 1 orange)
  • 1 tablespoon yellow or brown mustard seeds
  • 1 tablespoon black peppercorns
  • 4sage sprigs
  • 5 tablespoons kosher salt, divided
  • 8(10- to 12-oz., 1 1/2-in.-thick) bone-in, center-cut pork chops
  • Hickory hardwood pellets
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons hot sauce (such as Crystal)

How to Make It

Step 1

Stir together water, maple syrup, orange juice, mustard seeds, peppercorns, sage sprigs, and 1/4 cup of the salt in a large saucepot over high until salt dissolves, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat, and let brine cool to room temperature, about 15 minutes. Transfer brine to a large container; add chops, cover, and chill at least 4 hours or up to 8 hours.

Step 2

Fill a pellet container to an electric pellet grill with hardwood pellets according to manufacturer’s instructions. Set temperature to 375°F, close lid, and preheat pellet grill 10 to 15 minutes. 

Step 3

Remove chops from brine, and pat dry with paper towels, discarding brine. Sprinkle both sides with pepper and remaining 1 tablespoon salt. Stir together oil and hot sauce in a small bowl; brush pork chops with half of hot sauce mixture. 

Step 4

Place pork chops on grill grate, close lid, and grill 10 minutes. Turn chops, and brush with remaining hot sauce mixture; close lid, and grill until a thermometer inserted into pork registers 135°F, 9 to 10 minutes. Remove pork, tent with aluminum foil, and let rest 10 minutes before serving. 

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