For a lot of us, Memorial Day officially kicks off grilling season. We'll make burgers, hot dogs, maybe a couple of steaks, too. But in addition to those grilling classics, we're also putting all sorts of under-appreciated pork cuts over the flame. Pork is great at soaking up marinades and taking on smoky flavor, and a bit of char from the occasional flare up never hurt. In other words, pork is the perfect meat for grilling.
From barbecue ribs and rotisserie porchetta to Vietnamese lemongrass chops and Yucatán-style barbecue, these are 18 of our favorite pork recipes to fire up on the grill.
The key to an irresistibly juicy grilled pork chop is starting off with a thick slab of meat, which will help prevent the pork from overcooking. We opt for a simple dry brine of salt and pepper in order to retain as much moisture as possible. When grilling, we create a two-zone indirect fire that allows us to brown the meat over high heat and then move it to the cool side of the grill to finish cooking all the way through. The result is a moist pork chop with a crisp exterior that’ll make dry, lifeless pork chops a thing of the past.
Traditional Filipino adobo features stewed chicken or pork in a tangy, flavorful sauce made from cane vinegar, soy sauce, and aromatics. But the building blocks of that dish make an equally delicious marinade for grilled meats, like these thick and juicy pork chops. The trick to this dish is to use good Filipino cane vinegar, and to get a nice char on the meat.
These grilled pork chops are one of the easiest—not to mention most delicious—Vietnamese dishes to replicate at home. You won't need to get your hands on any hard-to-find ingredients. The marinade, which is full of shallots, lemongrass, garlic, sugar, pepper, and hot sauce, lends the thinly sliced pork chops tons of flavor. Cooked over a hot flame, the sugary marinade caramelizes, leaving the chops crisp and salty.
Skewers are a great way to prepare grilled food for two reasons: they're easy to handle on the grill, and just as easy to get from plate to mouth. This Balinese pork satay marinates in a turmeric, lemongrass, and chili-infused spice paste. After the crisped skewers come off the grill, they're brushed with a sweet soy sauce glaze. We serve the finished skewers with a tart and salty peanut dipping sauce.
Picture this: Right as your last guests arrive with beer and wine in hand, you pull an enormous package wrapped in banana leaves from the grill, and reveal a huge, tender slab of pork within. This Yucatán-style barbecued pork is a show-stopper. The meat is marinated in a mixture of garlic, warm spices, orange juice, white vinegar, and soy sauce, and gets stacked with bay leaves, tomato, and onion. Then it's wrapped in banana leaves which impart the meat with an earthy floral flavor as it cooks low and slow on the grill.
By the time these Memphis-style ribs come off the grill, they've built up a sweet and spicy bark that crunches between your teeth, and insulates the juicy, flavorful meat. We start by rubbing the meat with more than 10 spices, and mop the ribs with a vinegar and water mixture every 15 to 20 minutes while they cook.
Your guests will most likely come over expecting burgers and hot dogs (which you may or may not provide), but what they certainly will not expect is this crispy, crackling rotisserie porchetta. Pork belly which has been scored and rubbed with an aromatic mixture of spices and herbs is wrapped around a brined pork loin. After it's neatly tied shut, the impressive roll of pork is placed on a rotisserie over the grill, where it cooks until the meat is juicy and the skin is shatteringly crisp.
Sure, you probably could make these competition-style barbecue ribs for an actual competition, but it's so much easier to just grill them for your non-judgmental friends. We cook them low and slow on a smoker or grill until they've turned a deep mahogany color. Misting them with apple juice every hour keeps them moist and flavorful right up until the moment you eat them.
Move over, chicken satay—these Thai-style grilled pork skewers deserve our attention, too. Here, we toss thin slices of fatty pork butt in a salty-sweet marinade made up of ingredients like fish sauce and palm sugar. After being tightly bunched onto skewers, the pork cooks over a charcoal grill and gets brushed with unsweetened coconut cream to keep them moist. Enjoy the skewers on their own, with a squeeze of lime, or even some dried chili-vinegar dipping sauce.
Only the best Korean barbecue feasts include this spicy, char-grilled pork. The marinade gets its heat from the powers of gochujang and gochugaru, which thankfully provide enough background sweetness to balance out the spiciness. After charring them on the grill, you’ll want to serve the pork with plenty of garnishes and banchan for a feast that’s both substantial and satisfying.
Though making this popular McDonald’s sandwich at home is no small feat, the results are worth every bit of effort. To take the sandwich to the next level, we make everything—the barbecue sauce, rub, pickles, and buns—from scratch, guaranteeing a much better flavor than store-bought options would offer. Grinding the rib meat with salted pork shoulder creates patties with smoke flavor that'll get even smokier after grilling. The finished sandwich in all of its barbecue-sauced greatness is the perfect way to celebrate summer.
Any recipe that can incorporate all of its elements together, eliminating the need for utensils and allowing every bit of flavor to be enjoyed in one bite, is a winner in our book. Case in point: these grilled-pork sandwiches. Plums, scallions, and jalapeños are thrown on the grill to make the most of their flavors, and then mixed into a chutney along with mustard, mint, and honey. After the pork is grilled, it’s piled with miso slaw and the chutney and sandwiched between a roll. And with that, this tower of grilled wonders is ready to devour.
We’ll rub hoisin sauce on just about anything, including pork ribs. Its sweet flavor pairs well with the saltiness and smokiness of these ribs. In addition to the components of the sauce, the meat gets its flavor from a rub that incorporates ingredients like white pepper, 5-spice powder, and Sichuan peppercorns. Our favorite way to enjoy the finished ribs is by garnishing them with scallions.
When we want to give our ribs an unexpected flavor, we turn to powerful ingredients like balsamic vinegar and peppercorns. A trio of white, black, and Sichuan peppercorns coat the racks of ribs while they cook low and slow over cherry wood. Meanwhile, balsamic vinegar's tang is balanced out with standard barbecue sauce ingredients. Once the balsamic barbecue sauce gets brushed on, the ribs are left glistening in all of their glory.
What’s tender, smoky, and fruity all over? These juicy, irresistible ribs, of course. A complex, layered flavor is made possible thanks to an earthy and spicy rub that pairs with a fruity and sweet sauce. Once the bark begin to darken on the grill, we spray the ribs with apple juice from time to time, just to prevent blackening.
These ribs play on sweeter flavors thanks to both brown and white sugar, though they get just enough chili powder and pepper to balance it out. While they cook for several hours, we wait until the last half hour to brush on a layer of sweet and tangy Kansas City-style sauce. The ribs leave the grill with a thick, sticky layer of sauce that’s finger-lickin’ good.
Sweet and spicy is one of our favorite flavor combinations, especially when it comes to these pork and pineapple kebabs. The pork gets its spiciness from a rub that includes paprika and cayenne pepper, while the apricot glaze offers a sweet, fruity finish. Just make sure to brush the glaze onto the kebabs over indirect heat to prevent it from burning.
Here, we took Kenji's recipe for al pastor tacos and gave it the skewer treatment. The pork is sliced thin to ensure tenderness and dressed in a marinade of chilies, garlic, vinegar, and other aromatics. The meat is then threaded onto a skewer along with chunks of juicy pineapple. Once cooked, the skewers can be enjoyed as-is or thrown into a taco with any other toppings you choose.
All products linked here have been independently selected by our editors. We may earn a commission on purchases, as described in our affiliate policy.