A few weeks ago, Netflix had new episodes of the series Chef’s table. With the focus entirely on barbecue. One of the highlights was the episode about Tootsie Tomanetz, the pitmaster of Snow’s BBQ. She smoked some thick pork chops that looked really great.
Snow’s BBQ is a barbecue restaurant in Lexington, Texas. And in Texas, they keep it simple. That means they season the meat with only salt and pepper. We wanted to see if we could give the same thick pork chops a Georgia style flavor.
These Georgia style pork chops are great for feeding a large group of hungry friends at a fantastic party. No party, no problem. Your neighbors probably don’t mind getting some smoked pork if they have been enjoying the delicious smells all afternoon.
You do American BBQ on a smoker. We like to use the Masterbuilt gravity fed smoker for this. Masterbuilt has years of experience, making excellent smokers that you see a lot at American BBQ competitions. With the series 560, they have made a smoker for the backyard barbecue.
This smoker uses ordinary lump charcoal that you can find everywhere. It is a matter of filling the hopper. Lighting it and set the temperature. The rest is handled by the Masterbuilt smoker.
So we will smoke the steaks at 140°C (284F). Or actually at 141 degrees because the translation from Fahrenheit to Celsius works that way. You will not notice that one degree in the finished cook.
You can set the temperature on the smoker itself or via the app on your phone. The connection to your phone is established with Bluetooth or WiFi. So wherever you have internet, you have contact with the Masterbuilt.
When the smoker is heating up, we cut the pork neck into steaks. Each about 3 fingers thick. That is an ideal pork chop. You can get 4 to 5 thick cuts from a 3-kilo boneless pork neck.
We will season these pork chops with a traditional dry rub with brown sugar and paprika powder. This combination is standard in many barbecue regions where pork is on the menu. The only thing you see a lot in Georgia style rubs is mustard powder. One tablespoon is enough. But now you get a slightly different flavor that works very well with pork.
Smoking on the Masterbuilt smoker works slightly differently than on other smokers. You throw the chunks of smoke wood in the ash pan. The small pieces of glowing charcoal that fall through the grate will cause the chunks to smoke. The big advantage is that you only smoke if you want to smoke and that you can also smoke at higher temperatures.
The pork chops go in, the core thermometer goes in 1 of the steaks, and the lid closes for at least an hour. By then, the rub is attached to the meat, and we start mopping for the first time.
Mop sauce is a diluted version of barbecue sauce that often has a more dominant flavor. The state of Georgia is known for its tangy mop sauce with tomato sauce as a base. This combination is really great for fattier cuts of pork. As acid, apple cider vinegar is used. We had a few lovely oranges lying around, so we used orange juice.
After an hour, we mop the steaks with the mop sauce every hour until the steaks have a core temperature of about 60°C (140F). Then we flip the pork chops and mop them for the last time.
Now we smoke them until they all have a core temperature of about 80 to 85°C (175 to 185F). Just to make sure. These pork chops will not be turned into pulled pork. If you really want the meat to be softer, you must continue cooking it to a higher core temperature.
We use a mop brush for mopping. That is a brush with long thick braided threads. These brushes hold the sauce very well so that you can really paint the meat with the sauce.
The result is wonderfully tender pork with a mild smoky flavor. The acidity of the mop sauce is less dominant than you might think. It works very well with the fatty meat.
- A pork neck of about 3 kilos for 4 to 5 thick pork chops
For the dry rub
- 4 tbsp brown sugar
- 4 tbsp paprika powder
- 2 tbsp onion powder
- 2 tbsp garlic granulate
- 1 tbsp mustard powder
- 1 tsp cayenne pepper
For the mop sauce
- 200 ml of ketchup
- 3 tbsp mild mustard
- 3 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
- juice of 2 oranges
- 2 tbsp brown sugar
- Prepare a smoker with a temperature of 140°C (284F) and a few thick chunks of smoking wood. Cherry or apple works very well with pork.
- Mix all ingredients for the dry rub. Cut the pork neck into 3 finger thick chops and sprinkle them with a thick layer of the dry rub.
- Place the pork chops in the smoker, close the lid, and let them smoke for an hour. In the meantime, make the mop sauce by mixing all the ingredients.
- After the first hour, mop the steaks every hour until the core temperature is around 60°C (140F). Then you flip them all and sauce them again.
- They can be taken off when they have a core temperature of 80°C (175F). Cook them longer if you want the meat to be softer. Let the steaks rest for 10 minutes before carving.