Simply prepared blackened pork chops are exploding with flavor. They can be cooked on the grill or in the oven.
After lots of experimenting and recipe testing we've developed the perfect homemade blackened seasoning and it's just as good on pork chops as it is on blackened chicken and blackened salmon. The pork chops you see here have been grilled, but you can also cook them in an oven.
Is it authentic blackening?
The technique of "blackened" cooking was originally popularized in New Orleans and was just for fish. But, we've adapted it here for pork chops and tamed it down plus made it a bit healthier.
These chops have not been dipped in butter before the seasoning goes on. That's the classic way of doing it, but we find a light brush with vegetable oil is good enough to make all of that yummy seasoning stick to the pork chops.
Grilling them is another deviation because originally everything blackened was cooked in a cast iron skillet over high heat. We grill all year long (you'll believe it when you see our collection of Grilled Main Dishes + sides and desserts).
So, it just makes sense to toss these chops on the grill. Instructions are given for cooking in the oven too if that's your preference. If you have a cast iron skillet, using it in the oven is a great idea.
Blackened seasoning is typically quite salty, and we've included enough to make ours like the original blend. If you're sensitive to salt, however, or just don't like salty foods feel free to cut back.
- Pork Chops - our favorite thickness is medium or around ⅔-3/4 of an inch. You can make this recipe with thicker chops, but we don't recommend using very thin ones.
- Smoked paprika – Use regular paprika if that’s all you have, but we highly recommend keeping the smoked version in your spice cabinet
- Cayenne Pepper- optional, but recommended
- Black Pepper- coarsely ground is best
- Salt- coarsely ground
- Vegetable Oil – any type you have is fine
See recipe card for full ingredient list and quantities.
How to make great blackened chops
- If you have time we recommend brining your pork chops for 2-4 hours before seasoning and cooking. It helps to keep them moist and tender. If you don't have time they're still going to be delicious, but do it if you can. Brining instructions are below.
- Mix the blackened seasoning ingredients together in a small bowl and set aside.
- Pat the pork chops dry and brush one side lightly with vegetable oil.
- Liberally sprinkle the seasoning on and pat it. Turn over and repeat adding the oil and seasoning.
- Cook on a grill over medium high direct heat, turning once, using a meat thermometer to ensure your chops don't get overdone. They're safe to eat at 145 degrees, but that will be pink. If you prefer you can cook them to 155 degrees, but no higher or they will be tough.
- In the oven use the same temperature guidance using a thermometer for accuracy. A cast iron skillet that has been lightly oiled and preheated 5-10 minutes is ideal.
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Our favorite meat thermometer is linked here. We use it all the time and love it for several reasons: Most importantly you can monitor the temperature of 4 pieces of meat at one time. It also links to your phone via bluetooth so you can keep an eye on your meat from anywhere!
Brine for pork chops
If you have a couple of hours before time to cook, we recommend brining. The basic idea is a salt water solution that you will submerge your chops in.
You can always add fresh herbs or fruit for extra flavor, but it's definitely not necessary.
Dissolve 6 Tablespoons of salt in 6 cups of water. Make sure the water is cool and add your chops, covering them completely. If they start to float you can set a heavy plate on top. It's ESSENTIAL to refrigerate during the brining process.
If you need more or less brining solution just keep the proportions at 1 Tablespoon of salt per 1 cup of water.
Frequently asked questions about blackened pork chops
Tightly covered and refrigerated they will keep perfectly for 4-5 days. Wrap in foil and warm in a preheated 400 degree oven for about 10-12 minutes.
If you leave out the cayenne pepper they will not be spicy. You can also adjust the amount of cayenne to give more or less spiciness as you prefer.
There are two secrets! Number 1 is not not overcooking them. See above for proper temperatures. Number 2 is to brine before cooking. We've covered that for you too.
Blackened Pork Chops
For the Brine
- 6 Tablespoons salt
- 6 cups water
For the Pork Chops
- 2 pounds pork chops medium thickness recommended
- 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 2 teaspoons dry oregano
- ½-1 teaspoon cayenne pepper optional
- 2 teaspoons black pepper coarsley ground
- 2 teaspoons salt coarse recommended
- 1 Tablespoon vegetable oil
For the Brine
- Dissolve salt in cool water.
- Submerge pork chops in brine solution, being sure to cover. A heavy plate may be set on top to prevent floating.
- Before seasoning remove pork chops from brine and pat dry with paper towels.
- Refrigerate brining chops for 2-4 hours.
For the Pork Chops
- Stir all spices and seasonings together in a small bowl or shake them together in a tightly closed bag.
- Brush each pork chop with oil on one side and then sprinkle with seasoning blend. Pat seasonings into pork chop with hands. Turn over and repeat on other side.
- Cook on a grill over medium high direct heat, turning once, using a meat thermometer to monitor temperature. They're safe to eat at 145 degrees, but that will be pink. If you prefer you can cook them to 155 degrees. Approximate cooking time is 5-6 minutes per side, but will vary with grill temperature and thickness of pork chops.