Flavorful BBQ pork chops cooked in an air-fryer! Fast, easy, and convenient. This recipe works well with boneless or bone-in pork chops and thin pork chops. I highly recommend this with my homemade pineapple BBQ sauce.
Why make BBQ Pork Chops in an Air fryer?
Air frying pork chops has several advantages over pan-frying and grilling. They are:
- Caramelizes the pork chop on the outside while keeping it moist and juicy on the inside, similar to the result achieved through deep frying but with far less oil.
- Using an air fryer is a healthier cooking option since it requires little to no oil, which can reduce the overall calorie content of the dish.
- Air fryers are easy to use and clean, making them a convenient option for busy individuals who want to cook a quick and tasty meal.
What you Need
Here are the ingredients you need to make the best BBQ pork chops in an air fryer:
A few notes:
- Pork Chops - slightly thick pork chops with about 1-inch thickness are a perfect choice for cooking in an air-fryer. Going for bone-in pork chops enhances the flavor profile even more, though boneless pork chops work well too if you prefer them.
- Rub Spices - the simplest rub you can use for BBQ pork chops are a combination of garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, salt, and pepper.
- BBQ sauce - I highly recommend my homemade pineapple BBQ sauce for this recipe. Of course, store-bought bottled barbecue sauce works well too.
Secret to a Tender Air Fried Pork Chops
Tenderizing pork chops by pounding them with the back of a knife or a meat mallet can help to make them more tender. By breaking down the muscle fibers in the meat, it becomes easier to chew and has a more pleasant texture.
Tenderizing pork chops also allows for better absorption of marinades and seasonings, resulting in a more flavorful dish. It's important to note that pounding the pork chops should be done carefully, as over-tenderizing can cause them to become mushy or fall apart during cooking.
To prevent pork chops from curling
Pork chops tend to curl up during cooking due to the contraction of the muscle fibers. To prevent it from curling, score the fat on the edges. Make shallow cuts in the fat layer around the edges of the pork chop to prevent it from shrinking and curling.
How to Make Air-fryer BBQ Pork Chops
And here's how to make it:
- After tenderizing the pork chop, season both sides with the rub mixture.
- Marinate for a minimum of 1 hour at best, overnight. Place in an airtight container or cover the tray with a plastic wrap.
- Preheat the air-fryer for 5 minutes at 375°F/ 190°C. Brush marinated pork chops with vegetable oil then place in the air fryer basket. Air-fry for 8 minutes flipping halfway through.
- Brush both sides with BBQ sauce then air-fry for 6 minutes flipping halfway again.
The cooking time for pork chops in an air fryer can vary depending on the thickness of the meat. As a general rule, boneless pork chops should be cooked for 12-15 minutes at 375F/ 190C, while bone-in pork chops may take a bit longer, around 15-20 minutes at the same temperature.
Note that the recommended temperature for slightly thick pork chops (1 to 1 ½-inch) is 375°F/ 190°C. This will help to ensure that the pork chops cook evenly and remain juicy and flavorful.
What causes dry pork chops?
If your air fryer pork chops are tough, it could be because they were overcooked. The key to juicy and tender BBQ pork chops is to not overcook them. Use a meat thermometer to ensure that the internal temperature of the pork chops reaches 145°F.
Remove the pork chops from the grill and let them rest for 5 minutes before serving. This will allow the juices to redistribute throughout the meat, resulting in a moist and delicious pork chop.
What to Serve with BBQ Pork Chops
When it comes to serving BBQ pork chops, there are a variety of sides that can complement the flavors of the dish. Here are a few options:
- Vegetables such as grilled corn, zucchini, bell peppers, and eggplant are all great options. I also love pairing this with Chop Suey (vegetable stir-fry)
- Baked beans - Sweet and tangy baked beans are a classic BBQ side dish that pairs well with pork chops.
- Coleslaw - A refreshing coleslaw made with cabbage, carrots, and a tangy dressing can balance out the richness of the barbecue pork.
- Potato - A creamy potato salad with herbs and a tangy dressing or roasted potatoes
- Mac and cheese - A classic comfort food, mac and cheese can be a great option for a hearty and indulgent side dish.
- Garlic bread - A warm and crusty garlic bread is an easy and delicious side that can be served alongside BBQ pork chops.
- Rice - Brown rice or white rice can both be used as a neutral base to soak up the flavors of the sauce and seasonings used on the pork chops. You can also add some herbs or spices to the rice to complement the flavors of the pork chops.
Shelf-life and Re-heating
The shelf-life of air-fried BBQ pork chops will depend on how they were stored and the freshness of the ingredients used. Generally, cooked pork should be refrigerated within 2 hours of cooking and can be stored in the fridge for up to 3-4 days.
Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C) or air fryer to 375°F (190°C). Remove the pork chops from the refrigerator and let them sit at room temperature for 15-20 minutes to take the chill off.
Place the pork chops on a baking sheet or in the air fryer basket. Brush with a little extra BBQ sauce to add moisture. Heat the pork chops in the oven or air fryer for about 10-12 minutes until warmed through.
More pork chop recipes
Air fryer BBQ Pork Chops
- Score meat - Pat dry pork chops with a paper towel. Make shallow cuts in the fat layer around the edges of the pork chop to prevent it from shrinking and curling.
- Tenderize - Place it between two sheets of plastic wrap and pound it gently with the back of the knife or the spikey part of a meat mallet. Pound again with the smooth part of the mallet to stretch and flatten the uneven contour for even cooking.
- Season - Rub oil on both sides of the pork chops. Combine spices in a small bowl then rub all over both sides of pork.½ teaspoon garlic powder, ½ teaspoon onion powder, ½ teaspoon paprika, ½ teaspoon salt, black pepper
- Marinate - Place in a tray or air-tight container. Marinate for 1 hour, best overnight. Note: Remove from the fridge 30 minutes before cooking.
- Partially Cook - Preheat the air fryer for 5 minutes at 375°F/ 190°C. Place the pork chops in the air fryer basket in a single layer (do not overlap). Air-fry for 8 mins flipping halfway through.
- Brush both sides of the pork with BBQ sauce then continue cooking for 4 to 6 minutes or until the meat registers 145°F/ 57°C on an instant-read thermometer.
- Rest - Let the meat rest for 5 minutes. Serve with remaining BBQ sauce. Enjoy!