What Is A Kansas City Pork Chop? The Full Guide

If you’re a fan of BBQ, chances are you’ve heard of Kansas City-style pork chops. But what exactly makes them unique?

These chops are marinated in a dry rub and then grilled to perfection, resulting in a tender and flavorful dish that’s sure to satisfy any meat lover’s cravings. And let’s not forget the signature Kansas City BBQ sauce that’s brushed on during the final stages of cooking.

In this article, we’ll dive deeper into the history and preparation of this iconic dish, so get ready to learn all about the mouthwatering world of Kansas City pork chops.

What Is A Kansas City Pork Chop?

A Kansas City pork chop is a thick, bone-in cut of pork that’s typically marinated in a dry rub consisting of brown sugar, paprika, garlic powder, chili powder, onion powder, salt, and pepper. The dry rub is left to marinate on the pork chops for at least two hours, but ideally overnight to allow the flavors to penetrate the meat.

Once marinated, the pork chops are grilled until they reach an internal temperature of 145°F for medium-rare or 160°F for medium. During the final stages of cooking, the chops are brushed with a generous amount of Kansas City-style BBQ sauce, which is known for its sweet and tangy flavor profile.

The History Of Kansas City Pork Chops

The origins of the Kansas City pork chop can be traced back to the early 1900s when Kansas City was a hub for meatpacking and processing. The city’s proximity to cattle ranches and pig farms made it a prime location for the meat industry, and as a result, Kansas City became renowned for its barbeque.

The first mention of Kansas City-style BBQ can be found in a cookbook published in 1910, which included a recipe for “Kansas City-style spare ribs.” However, it wasn’t until the 1930s that the Kansas City pork chop became a staple on BBQ menus.

According to local lore, the Kansas City pork chop was invented by Arthur Bryant, who opened his first BBQ joint in 1930. Bryant’s restaurant quickly became popular among locals and visitors alike, thanks in part to his signature pork chop. The double-thick cut of pork was marinated in a secret dry rub and slow-cooked over hickory wood until tender and juicy.

Over the years, other BBQ restaurants in Kansas City began offering their own versions of the pork chop, each with their own unique twist on the recipe. Today, the Kansas City pork chop remains a beloved dish in the city’s BBQ scene and is often served alongside classic sides like baked beans, coleslaw, and cornbread.

While the exact origin of the Kansas City pork chop may be up for debate, one thing is certain: it’s a delicious and iconic dish that has become synonymous with Kansas City-style BBQ.

The Ingredients And Preparation Of The Dry Rub

To make the dry rub for Kansas City pork chops, you’ll need mild or basic paprika, black pepper, coarse salt (Kosher or sea salt), chili powder, onion powder, granulated garlic, and cayenne pepper. It’s important to avoid smoked or spicy varieties of paprika for this recipe.

To prepare the dry rub, simply mix together the brown sugar, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, chili powder, salt, and black pepper in a large bowl. For an added kick of heat, you can adjust the amount of cayenne pepper used according to your preference.

Once the dry rub is mixed together, generously coat both sides of the pork chops with it. Cover the pork chops with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least two hours or overnight to allow the flavors to fully develop.

When it’s time to grill the pork chops, preheat your grill to medium-high heat. Grill the pork chops for 5-7 minutes per side or until they reach an internal temperature of 145°F for medium-rare or 160°F for medium. During the last two minutes of grilling, brush the pork chops with your favorite BBQ sauce before removing them from the grill.

By following this easy recipe for Kansas City pork chops and making your own dry rub at home, you can enjoy a delicious and flavorful meal that’s perfect for any occasion.

Grilling Techniques For Perfectly Cooked Pork Chops

Grilling pork chops can be a bit tricky, but with the right techniques, you can achieve perfectly cooked and juicy chops every time. Here are some grilling techniques to follow:

1. Choose the right cut: When grilling pork chops, it’s important to choose the right cut. A Kansas City pork chop is a great choice because of its thickness and bone-in nature, which helps retain moisture and flavor during cooking.

2. Brine the pork chops: Brining the pork chops before grilling can help keep them moist and tender. To brine, dissolve salt and sugar in water and let the pork chops soak in the brine for at least 30 minutes before grilling.

3. Season the pork chops: Before grilling, season the pork chops with your favorite spices or a dry rub. The Kansas City-style dry rub mentioned earlier is a great option.

4. Preheat the grill: Preheat your gas grill to medium-high heat before placing the pork chops on it. This will ensure even cooking and prevent sticking.

5. Grill the pork chops: Place the pork chops on the grill and cook for about 5-6 minutes per side, depending on their thickness. Use tongs to flip them over and avoid piercing them with a fork, which can release juices and dry out the meat.

6. Check for doneness: Use an instant-read thermometer to check if the pork chops are cooked through. The internal temperature should be 145°F for medium-rare or 160°F for medium.

7. Let them rest: Once cooked, remove the pork chops from the grill and let them rest for a few minutes before serving. This allows the juices to redistribute throughout the meat and makes for a juicier chop.

By following these grilling techniques, you can make perfectly cooked Kansas City-style pork chops that are juicy, flavorful, and sure to impress your guests.

The Importance Of Kansas City BBQ Sauce

Kansas City-style BBQ sauce is an essential component in creating the perfect Kansas City pork chop. It’s a thick, sweet, and tangy sauce that’s derived from a combination of brown sugar, molasses, and tomatoes. The sauce is cooked into the meat or brushed on immediately after cooking, adding a flavor profile that perfectly complements the dry rub used to marinate the pork chops.

The sweetness of the sauce comes from the brown sugar and molasses, while the tanginess comes from the tomato base. The addition of various spices like garlic powder, chili powder, and paprika adds depth to the sauce, creating a complex flavor profile that elevates the taste of the pork chops.

When it comes to serving Kansas City pork chops, the BBQ sauce is just as important as the dry rub used to marinate the meat. The high sugar content in the sauce means that it can quickly burn when cooked over hot coals. Therefore, it’s best to add the sauce in the final minutes of the cooking process or serve it on the side instead.

Serving Suggestions And Pairings For Kansas City Pork Chops

When it comes to serving Kansas City pork chops, there are a variety of side dishes and wine pairings that can enhance the flavors of this delicious cut of meat. Here are some serving suggestions and pairings for Kansas City pork chops:

1. Grilled Vegetables – Grilled vegetables such as zucchini, bell peppers, and onions make for a perfect pairing with Kansas City pork chops. The smoky flavor of the vegetables complements the sweet and tangy flavor of the BBQ sauce.

2. Cheesy Garlic Broccoli – This easy-to-make dish is a great side for Kansas City pork chops. The crunchy, salty, and sweet taste of cheesy garlic broccoli will go well with the flavors of the pork chop.

3. Broccolini with Lemon and Parmesan – This recipe is a great way to add some freshness to your meal. The lemon and parmesan flavors will complement the sweetness of the BBQ sauce.

4. Baked Sweet Potato – A baked sweet potato is a perfect side dish for Kansas City pork chops. The sweetness of the potato will complement the sweetness of the BBQ sauce.

5. Wine Pairings – For those who enjoy wine with their meal, there are a few options that go well with Kansas City pork chops. A Belgian Saison wine or New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc wine can help tone down the heat of the BBQ sauce. Additionally, if you’re cooking with wine, consider serving the same wine with the finished dish.