Over the years, lean pork has gained a somewhat boring reputation as a sensible alternative to chicken breast. No disrespect to chicken, but this overlooks pork’s standout qualities: Perfectly cooked pork is juicy and super tender, with a mild meatiness that lends itself to many seasonings and styles of cuisine. Certain cuts, such as pork tenderloin, are as lean as (or leaner than!) chicken breast, with each serving delivering a bunch of B vitamins to boot.
One of the most delicious ways to enjoy pork? Right off the grill. From Italian-inspired herbed pork burgers to Mexican-style pork salad with creamy lime dressing, you’ll want to savor these grilled pork recipes at every cookout. Check out our expert prep tips, then turn up the heat.
Tips for grilling pork
Don’t skimp on seasoning
Thanks to its mild, goes-with-anything flavor, pork is a perfect canvas for generous seasoning. Sprinkle liberally with your favorite seasoning salt (or simple salt and freshly cracked pepper) on both sides. Want to amp up the flavor even more? Ty a spicy seasoning rub or a slather of smoky-sweet-tangy homemade barbecue sauce.
Keep tenderloins tender
To prevent pork tenderloins from becoming dry and tough on the edges, grill them over high heat for just a minute or two to get those coveted char marks. Then, reposition the tenderloins over low, indirect heat until they reach doneness. This helps ensure the pork cooks evenly without turning leathery.
Know your target temperature
Speaking of doneness, have an instant-read thermometer ready: Food-safety experts recommend cooking raw pork tenderloins, loins, chops, and roasts to a temperature of at least 145℉ in the thickest part, then following with a three-minute rest period before slicing. Note: Pork cuts may still appear pink in the center even after reaching doneness. Ground pork, meanwhile, needs a little extra cooking time for safety—keep burgers on the grill until they hit an internal temp of 160℉.
Leslie Fink, MS, RD, has been working at WW for 20 years. In addition to her role as a nutritionist and recipe editor, she works on food and program development for a variety of projects, including WW Cruises, WW Ambassador partnerships, WW Fresh, and WW x Blue Apron.