Pork chops are the unsung heroes of weeknight cooking. We’ve compiled a list of the best methods to cook pork chops to remain tender, moist, and tasty.
How to Choose Your Chops
Look for bone-in pork chops 1.5 inches thick for most pork chop dishes. Why choose bone-in? The bone, on the other hand, slows the cooking time. We’re only conversing for a few minutes. A few minutes, though, can be the difference between moist, succulent pork chops with excellent sear marks and dry, tight-textured chops.
Thinner, boneless pork chops are still a good option; just keep an eye on them because they cook quickly. Boneless pork chops are ideal for filled and quick-cooking breaded pork chops. For stuffed chops, look for thicker boneless chops (1.5 to 2 inches) and smaller boneless loin chops (approximately 1/2 inch thick) for breaded dishes.
Top Pork Chop Cuts
- Porterhouse or loin chops: T-shaped bone with center-cut loin chops; the loin is on one side of the bone, the tenderloin on the other. Excellent for grilling, baking, and broiling.
- Boneless top loin chops are known as New York or Center-Cut pork chops. New York chops can be fried, stuffed, or baked.
- Sirloin Chop: A less expensive chop from the loin’s back end. A harder cut in comparison; it’s ideal for slow braising.
- Tender, center-cut rib chops with a bent bone on one side. Excellent for quick cooking methods such as pan frying, grilling, and broiling.
How to Fry Pork Chops
Here’s how to make stovetop pork chops. Before cooking the pork chops, season them on both sides with salt and pepper. You can be liberal with the seasonings.
Meanwhile, in a heavy skillet over medium-high heat, heat a few tablespoons of vegetable oil or butter (or both!). The fat should be sizzling when you add the chops to the skillet. Avoid overcrowding. Allowing the chops to brown prevents them from overcooking.
When one side is golden brown (approximately three or four minutes), turn it over and reduce the heat to medium so the center can fully cook before the outside becomes overdone. When the internal temperature of the pork chops hits 140 degrees F, transfer them from the skillet to a dish; they’ll continue to cook — just make sure they reach 145 degrees F.
Remember that when you brown meat, you’ve entered bonus territory: you’ll have some caramelized browned bits (the famed fond) sticking to the bottom of the skillet. So that’s tasty gravy on the way!
How to Make Blackened Pork Chops
This is a delicious method to cook chops. But proceed cautiously; one wrong move is like dumping a burning tire into your kitchen.
Begin by seasoning the pork chops with salt, pepper, and Cajun spices. Then, saute the chops in a hot skillet with a little vegetable oil over high heat. Chef John has a fantastic technique for “sorta blackened” chops. He begins on high heat, but when he adds the chops to the hot skillet, he reduces the heat to medium…and sears them until almost done — approximately five or six minutes per side. That’s the first trick.
The objective is to achieve a deep sear without burning out all of the taste. The second trick is that he removes the chops from the skillet and puts them in aluminum foil after five or six minutes per side. They’ll finish cooking in the foil and make a delicious natural sauce. Check the doneness using a meat thermometer set to 145 degrees F.
How to Brine Pork Chops
Brining pork chops before grilling or broiling, two high-heat cooking methods that can quickly dry up lean pork chops, yields juicy, tasty results.
Brines are essentially salty, sweet water solutions that add taste while keeping the meat wet. You’ll need salt and a few flavoring components to produce a simple brine. First, chef John whisks together kosher salt, cloves, molasses (the sugar element), and just enough boiling water to dissolve the salt and molasses. Then he pours in 2 quarts of chilly water.
Refrigerate your chops in the brine for 30 minutes to 12 hours – you may get away with less time if you’re in a hurry. Before putting the chops on the grill or in the oven, ensure they are completely dry. Try adding peppercorns, fresh herbs, garlic, and sliced lemons.
How to Dry-Brine Pork Chops
Yes, something that is dry cannot also be a brine. But don’t get hung up on “words” and their “meanings.” Not when the result is this delectable. Dry brine is a salty dry rub preparation that must be chilled for 24 hours.
Whether oxymoronic or not, the procedure yields brine-like results: super-tender, juicy, grilled chops. So now, let’s get started on how to prepare pork chops on the barbecue.
How to Grill Pork Chops
Begin with high-heat, direct cooking to sear the meat and create beautiful grill markings. Then, shift to indirect grilling and push the coals to the side. There will still be enough heat to roast the pork, but you won’t have to worry about marinade or fat dripping onto the embers and igniting an inferno that turns your chops into flames.
Choose thick, bone-in chops and finish with indirect medium heat for about 25 minutes. Grill until an instant-read thermometer reads 140 degrees F; they’ll continue to cook while resting on a dish for five minutes or longer. When the interior temperature reaches 145 degrees F, they are done.
How to Braise Pork Chops
Braising brings pan-fried pork chops to the next level of deliciousness. Braising is a forgiving cooking method as well. Because the chops finish in liquids, they won’t dry up as quickly. Simply sear them in a skillet over high heat first.
How to Bake Pork Chops
Cooking pork chops in the oven typically begins on the burner. Because one of the greatest methods to bake pork chops is to start them in a hot oven and then transfer them to an oven-safe skillet. High-heat frying turns them golden brown while baking them in a fairly heated oven (400 degrees F) keeps them from drying out.
This “sear-roasting” method is excellent for baking pork chops: Fry one side of the chops till golden brown, then flip and set in the oven. The second side will brown beautifully as the oven heat cooks the center to a soft finish.
How to Make Stuffed Pork Chops
Do you want to know how to prepare boneless pork chops? Fill ’em! Stuffing is also an excellent option for thick bone-in chops. Lay a thick chop flat on a cutting board and cut a pocket into it with a sharp knife held parallel to the board, going all the way to the bon but keeping the sides intact. Then fill the pocket with deliciousness.
Quick and Easy Pork Chops
Chops are the most versatile cut. You won’t even need a recipe after you’ve learned how to cook them to a soft, juicy finish. A perfectly cooked pork chop goes well with pickled fruits, chutneys, mustards, kimchi, or sauerkraut. Alternatively, cook up some sliced apples, peaches, or pears; the caramelized sweet fruit pairs well with pork chops. So stock up on chops for simple weeknight meals.