Does anyone ever make tender pork chops?
I just can't manage it, so matter what. What cut do you get and what is your secret?
Mine are always tender. I usually buy the T-bones when I see a nice big piece of the filet on them.
Over the years I've learned one lesson—cook 'em fast or braise them. There seems to be a middle ground where they'll toughen up and not loosen back up until they've had enough time in a liquid.
I've also had great success grilling them on the BBQ, but I always brine them for a few hours first.
One minute each side on medium high heat to brown and then 5 minutes on low and covered. Remove to plate and cover with foil. Make quick pan sauce and return chops to pan with accumulated juices. Delicious, moist and tender. Tried and true recipe from The Joy of Cooking.
I agree with Fourunder. I've struggled with dry tasteless pork chops trying all kinds of ways to cook them. The conclusion I've come to is that they should be thick loin chops with a bone. I rub them a few hours before cooking, take them out of the frige a while before cooking, sear them in a little oil at fairly high heat, put them in a casserole and bake in a preheated 400 deg. oven until they reach around 145, degrees interior temp. and let them rest for at least 5 min. They're perfect now every time. I stopped buying those boneless whitish pork chops at Costco because I could never get them to taste like anything.
Always. I often brine them, sear and finish in the oven as forunder said. Either that or braise. In warm weather we like to grill them.
I know what you mean - it took me a few years to get the hang of it. Pork chops are a very lean meat, and you have a very small window to get them right, otherwise they're overcooked and dry. Totally unforgiving piece of meat, unlike a good steak.
We buy thick porterhouse style pork chops that I put a dry rub on and grill, first with indirect heat, then a final sear when they're getting close to temp. I pull them when the internal temp is 145 degrees, and they're perfectly tender and juicy every time. Another important factor is to let the meat come up to room temp before cooking.
There may be some naysayers about pulling them at 145 degrees, but keep in mind after a 5-10 minute rest, they're approaching 150+, which is more than safe to eat. This seems to be the "money" temp where I get a perfectly chop every time.
Your best bet is to either grill or pan fry them as you want to be able to monitor the temp. very closely. Also, go with a thicker chop.
I added a picture of the kind of chops we cook so you can see what I'm referring to.
Hope this helps...
The USDA changed the recommended temperature to 145 degrees a while back so no worries for you Moose:-)
I do as a few others mentioned - a thick bone-in chop, brined, dried off and then coated with fresh herbs (thyme, marjoram and oregano), sear in a very hot pan with a little light olive oil for about 3 minutes, then sear the sides for maybe 30 seconds each, lay chop down on the side that has not been seared, add a pat of butter on the top of the chop and finish cooking it in a 400 degree oven. I take it out when it reaches 140 degrees and let it rest on a plate for at least 10 minutes before cutting in to it.
It is pretty important to let the chop come to room temp before cooking - I leave it on the counter for at least 1 hour ahead of time.
I like mine. I'm not sure how tender you are looking for. I use a steak knife.
I start with center cut pork chops 3/4 to 1 inch thick usually closer to 1 inch. I always brine mine which contributes to moister and hopefully tenderness.
I'm in Texas so I bread mine. I brown the breading in the skillet and finish them in the oven. I cook them to about 149 - 150°F.
Things that contribute to tough pork chops:
Chops are too thin.... If you insist on a thin pork chop.. take them out of the fridge cold and throw into a very hot skillet to sear both sides. Hopefully the center will still be a little pink.
Overdone pork chops
unbrined pork chops
How are you cooking yours?
There are a couple of ways of making tender pork chops.
You can either brine it.
Or you can take the back of your cleaver and tenderize it by pounding on it.
My way is a high-heat pan fry. Using a 1-inch bone-in chop as your guide, heat your skillet on high heat until it smokes (about 5 minutes). Put chop in pan and reduce heat to mediium high. Cook untouched for 4 minutes. Turn over and cook 3 minutes for medium (some pink) or 4 minutes for no pink. Chop will have a nice dry crust but will be juicy inside. (Of course, reduce your times for less-thick chops.) Let rest on covered plate for 10 minutes.
I braise them with white wine and browned onions until they are fork tender....gave up on the cook 'em fast long ago.
I always either brine, pat dry, season with salt and pepper, throw into a sizzling cast-iron skillet with a little butter, sear each side (about 2 minutes), and then keep covered off the heat for 10 minutes or as long as it takes me to make a little pan sauce, OR butterfly, pound out, lightly bread, and then sear.
I like them pretty rare, though, so take that how you will.
I find I generally get better results when I buy a whole loin and cut my own chops (usually to a 1 1/2-inch thickness), plus it's a lot cheaper by the pound this way, and they freeze well.