What a difference a store can make. I have been complaining about the pork chops lately, dry, tasteless, etc. It seems that when they became the other "white meat", they lost everything a pork chop should taste like. Well, today I was in Whole Foods and decided I would try them there, and what a wonderful decision that was... they were delicious, moist and wonderful. Sometimes you just have to pay a bit more to get what you want. From now on, when ever I buy meat of any kind that is where I will be headed!
As has been noted elsewhere, pork in general has been bred to be leaner and leaner over the past couple of decades, resulting in tougher, tasteless pork. In Southern California, pork from some of the specialty and gourmet markets tends to be a little tastier and tenderer. Here, Whole Foods pork chops are better than the standard supermarket, but Bristol Farms is even better in my experience.
Some keys to better pork chops are:
1. Don't overcook. The USDA recommendation for internal temperature is too high, according to a recent America's Test Kitchen episode about pork chops on PBS. As I recall, they said the USDA standard has been 160 degrees F., while the show recommended something like 140 degrees F., which I've been using anyway for a long time, for better pork chops, pork tenderloin, and pork loin roasts. Other cooking shows on the Food Network have confirmed that we tend to overcook pork. The health issues that were of concern years ago are apparently no longer a concern.
2. Brining. If you have the time, pork chops can be brined for better results. Four chops can be brined for 30 minutes in two quarts of cold water with a half cup of salt dissolved, refrigerated, removed and patted dry, seasoned with something, and then cooked however you'd like. They are tenderer and absorb the flavor of the seasoning better if brined.
3. Resting. Like all meats, let them rest under foil after cooking for 10 minutes or more before serving.
4. Seasoning. Marinades and dry rubs add a lot of flavor. My personal favorite marinade for pork chops is Chipotle Honey Mustard marinade from www.fronterafoods.com (which is the website of Rick Bayliss -- creator and chef of two of the best Mexican restaurants in America, both located in Chicago, as well as host of Mexico: One Plate at a Time, which also airs on PBS).
Whole Foods is organic, so most likely the same. I can hardly wait to try a steak. We don't eat much meat, mostly pasta, chicken and fish, but when I do have it I want it to be really good. We have had steaks from Sam's, and although people rave about them, I think that they are pretty awful. Their lamp chops are wonderful though!