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Oct 6, 2011 04:24 PM

Pork: Help!

Whatever I do, my pork chops --- thin or thick, bone-in or boneless --- seem to come out hard and dry. I reduce the cooking temperature, reduce the cooking time, nothing helps.
A friendly butcher in a small market recently said he cooks thick bone-in rib chops in butter, very slowly. The first time I tried them they were astounding! But I've tried twice since then and they were all right, I guess, but still --- dryer than I like, therefore harder than I like.
Does anyone have ANY secrets??????
I love pork, and really don't want to give up.

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  1. Do you measure the internal temperature of the pork chop once it's finished cooking? Pork chops are usually very lean these days, so they're easy to overcook. I actually slightly under cook mine.

    1. Brineing could do the trick for you. I think that C.I. did an episode or may be it was A.B. any way you should be able to find directions readily on the web.

      1. I braise my pork chops in white wine with herbs and garlic after browning in olive oil. I cook them until they fall off the bone and find them tender and juicy. Not enough fat in most of them for quick cooking techniques in MHO.

        1. First, get pork from a local source. The amount of fat is far superior to supermarket pork.

          Second, make sure you're not cooking it past 145F. Pink pork is ok. The Dept. of Agriculture recently confirmed so.

          1. Thanks, all.
            Part of the problem may be my thermometers --- the pork never even gets up to 135 on them, but by finger test and cutting into them, it has to be way over.
            I'm going to try the braising recipe for something different; and there are a couple of places where I think I can find local pork.
            I tried brining once, and thought it ended up an odd consistency. But I could give it another try ---

            3 Replies
            1. re: BerkshireTsarina

              Brining chops, cooking them stovetop and then finishing them in the oven results in delicious, juicy chops. I use bone-in chops that are about 1 1/2 inch thick, brine for one hour and then let them come to room temp before cooking. Rinse them and dry well and season them with fresh herbs. Heat a skillet to med-high, add olive oil and a pat of butter and brown chops on one side w/out moving for 3-4 minutes. Flip chops and place in an oven pre-heated to 400. Let them cook until a thermometer reads 140-145. Remove to a plate and let them rest, covered w/foil, for 10 minutes. They come out great every time and I learned all of this reading Chowhound!

              What I learned from personal experience is to turn the exhaust fan on high, open all the windows and pop the batteries out of the kitchen smoke detector before cooking chops this way. Also, deglaze the pan w/wine to make a nice pan sauce AND remember to use a potholder to pick up the skillet once it has been in the oven - sometimes taste testing the wine that makes a nice pan sauce can make one a bit forgetful...

              1. re: BerkshireTsarina

                I almost always wet brine pork when I cook it. You want to be sure you don't overbrine for the salinity of the solution you use. That could be giving you the funny texture. Also, brined pork chops don't need to cook as long as non-brined ones, so bring meat to room temp before cooking and be careful not to overcook.

                I used the finger on thumb method to check for doneness (place middle finger on thumb; the springiness of that pad of flesh at the base of your thumb is the same as meat cooked to medium), not a thermometer.

                Final tip: One of my favorite recipes (for cider glazed pork chops) calls for searing the outside of the chop, first, removing the chops from the pan while cooking some other ingredients and then returning the chop to finish cooking in a reduced apple cider and apple cider vinegar mixture. That recipe has never resulted in dry pork chops for me.

                1. re: BerkshireTsarina

                  Do you have a digital thermometer? The non-digital (mechanical) ones tend to take some time to warm up.