Georgia-style pork chops

These Georgia-style pork chops are fantastic for feeding a large group of hungry friends during a top-notch party. No party? No problem. After enjoying the delightful aromas all afternoon, your neighbours probably won’t mind getting one of these thick chops tossed over the fence.

These thick pork chops are a variation of the Georgia-style pork chops made by Tootsie Tomanetz, the pitmaster of Snow’s BBQ. Generally, Texans keep it simple, seasoning the meat mainly with pepper and salt. But in Georgia, they can go a bit further, turning these chops into an absolute flavour explosion.

When we say thick chops, we mean it. These are about 3 cm thick, which is the ideal thickness. From a pork shoulder of about 3 kilos, you’ll get about 4 to 5 thick chops. Since we’re going to cook this meat low and slow, it’s essential to use good quality meat with a decent amount of intramuscular fat.

That’s the thin white lines of fat you see running through the pink meat. The more white lines, the better the meat. This fat is very soft and melts easily, making the meat more tender. Fat is also the most significant flavour enhancer in meat. Lean meat doesn’t taste like much.

We’re going to season these chops with a traditional dry rub with lots of brown sugar, paprika, and a bit of heat. This combination is standard in many barbecue regions where pork is on the menu. You’ll also see mustard powder in Georgia-style rubs, making this dry rub unique to the area.

American BBQ is done on a thick offset smoker, which will only fit in some Dutch backyards. We use our smaller gravity-fed smoker.

We’ll place the thick chops on the warming racks in the smoker. We’ve noticed that the temperature and smoke distribution are better higher up in the chamber. Luckily, there’s plenty of space. We’ll insert a thermometer into two of the chops to monitor the core temperature. Then, we’ll close the lid, and while we’re waiting, we can make the mop sauce.

Mop sauce is a thinner version of barbecue sauce, often stronger in flavour. Georgia is known for its acidic mop sauce with tomato sauce as its base. This combination is excellent for fattier cuts of pork. The acid is generally apple cider vinegar, but we use orange juice. This makes the mop sauce a bit milder.

After an hour, we’ll check the meat to see if the dry rub has adhered well to the surface. Then, we’ll mop the chops with the sauce and repeat that process when the surface dries. We’ll do this on both sides until the meat reaches an internal temperature of 80°C (176°F). This won’t be pulled pork. If you want the meat even softer, you must cook it longer.

For mopping, we use a so-called mop brush. A brush with long braided strings similar to a small mop. The loosely braided strings hold the thin sauce well, ensuring more of it ends up on the meat.

After about 3 to 4 hours, you’ll have wonderfully tender pork chops bursting with flavour. These will truly make everyone happy.

And when you cut the chops in half, you’ll be greeted with deliciously juicy meat and hopefully a nice smoke ring if you’re lucky. This isn’t raw meat but is caused by a chemical reaction between the meat and the gases in the smoke. Such a pink edge looks fantastic on Instagram.


Let us know if you will make these Georgia-style pork chops in the comments below. Better yet, take a photo and post it on Instagram. Tag @bbqhelden so we can see how it turns out.


  • 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
  • 50 ml of orange juice
  • 3 tbsp mild mustard
  • 3 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar


  1. Prepare a smoker with a temperature of 150°C (302F) and a few thick chunks of smoking wood. Cherry or apple works very well with pork.
  2. Mix all ingredients for the dry rub. Cut the pork neck into 3 cm or 2 finger thick chops and sprinkle them with a thick layer of the dry rub.
  3. Place the pork chops in the smoker, close the lid, and start making the mop sauce.
  4. Combine all the ingredients in a saucepan and simmer until well mixed and the sugar is melted.
  5. After the first hour, mop the pork chops and then every time, just before the sauce dries out.
  6. The chops are ready when they reach an internal temperature of 80ºC (176°F).
  7. Let the chops rest for 10 minutes before slicing them.

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