Needed: A fabulous bone-in pork chop recipe, please!
Sometimes the best food is really the simplest. We experiment frequently with different ways of preparing pork chops, but the way we have pork chops most regularly is with a simple dry rub and pan frying. My mother’s been making chops this way for years. We use a dry rub of my father’s, which requires some advance preparation (when you make some, you make more than you need than for just a few pork chops). If we are out of the dry rub, mom typically uses a bit of paprika, salt and pepper to season the chops.
Mom’s Perfect Pork Chops Recipe
Prep time: 10 minutesCook time: 15 minutesYield: Serves 4-6, depending on the thickness of the chops.
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4 pork chops
1 teaspoon bacon fat, grapeseed oil, or olive oil (or other high smoke point oil)
1-2 teaspoons of dry rub*
*Dad's dry rub:
1/4 cup cumin seeds
3 Tbsp whole black peppercorns
1 Tbsp coriander seeds
2 Tbsp sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
Combine cumin, peppercorns, and coriander in a heavy medium skillet. Stir over medium heat until fragrant and toasted, about 8 minutes. Cool slightly. Finely grind toasted spices in blender. Transfer to a small bowl. Mix in sugar and salt. Makes 1/2 cup.
1 Heat a large cast iron frying pan to medium high or high heat (hot enough to sear the meat). While the pan is heating, sprinkle a pinch of dry rub spices (about 1/8 teaspoon or a little more) on each of the pork chops. Using your fingers, rub the spices into the meat. Turn the chops over and repeat on the other side.
2 Once the pan is hot, add a teaspoon of oil or fat to the pan and coat the bottom of the pan. Right before you put the chops into the pan sprinkle each side with a little salt, or you can salt the chops in the pan. Put the chops in the pan. Make sure they are not crowding each other too much. There should be space between the chops in the pan or the meat will steam and not sear properly.
Tip: Arrange the chops in the pan with the thickest, boniest parts towards the center of the pan where they get the most heat.
3 Sear the chops, about 2 minutes on each side. Watch carefully, as soon as the chops are browned, flip them. As soon as you flip the chops, if you are using a cast iron pan, you can turn off the heat. Cast iron holds heat very well and there will be enough heat in the pan to finish cooking the meat.
If you have chops that are a lot thicker than 3/4" (many are sold that are 1 1/2"-thick), you can put a cover on the pan and let the chops finish cook for 5 minutes or so (if you are using a cast iron pan and have turned off the heat, there should be enough heat if you cover the pan to finish the cooking of a thicker chop, if not, lower the heat to low and cover.
How do you know when the chops are done? Mom uses a touch test which with practice I've learned as well. If you wait until you see juice oozing out of the top of the chop, it is definitely done. Mom typically just keeps the chops in the pan, the heat is turned off, so the pan is losing heat. The pan initially provides enough heat to sear the second side. As it initially cools it is still cooking, though not searing the meat. After a couple of minutes, it's just keeping the chops warm
Unless you have had heritage pork more than a couple times before, for the love of god, keep it simple. I mean, real, real simple. Put them on the counter and salt both sides. Let them sit for an hour or two to come up to room temperature. Then, either grill them or simply pan fry them in a teaspoon or so of oil. Pay attention and don't let them get over 145 degrees at all cost. Add pepper (optional) after they have had 5 minutes or so to rest. That way you can experience the pork, not the preparation.
Our favorite, which please try - it is unspeakably delicious, is from Mary Cantwell's EAT column in Mademoiselle Magazine, March 1975. It is so good that my family won't let me try any other pork chop recipe.
Salt and pepper four pork chops and saute them in butter for about 20 minutes, or until just cooked through. Be careful to do so slowly and gently: they should be golden and not brown and hard. Place in a serving dish and keep them warm in a very low oven. Pour half a cup (or more) of dry vermouth into the skillet and bring to a boil, scraping up all the juices and bits from the pork chops. Keep boiling until the vermouth has reduced by half. Add 1/2 to 3/4 cup heavy cream, and pour any juices that have accumulated around the oven held pork chops into the sauce in the skillet. Boil some more, stirring constantly, until that, too, is reduced and the whole sauce has thickened. Taste for salt and pepper, Pour over pork chops and serve with rice and a salad. You can double and triple this recipe and adjust the amount of sauce.
Any of the recipes on the previous page are good. BUT, the secret to maintaining juicy pork chops, not dried out, is to brine them for a couple of hours to overnight. Just a mixture of salt and sugar with water. Same with chicken, they always come out moist and tender. It's been a chef's secret for years. Just google in "brining" for the correct mix and then cook as usual with any of the sauces mentioned, I like cider, also the mustard/wine combo.
re: Brandon Nelson
I think you might well be right. But American pork breeding has learnt to low fat pork, so I don't know. I was in the UK as well as the Us in June/July and some Old Spot rare breed pork. Delicious, totally from what we get at home, plenty of fat and fat is flavour. Until breeders here go to the rare breeds, I'll stick to brining. The rubbish we get in supermarkets is totally without flavour, looks good, but no taste. I might go to the Northern Territory and do some wild boar shooting, plenty of flavour in them. The Germans love it.
My favorite "go to" recipe for thick, bone-in pork chops (even better with the tenderloin attached) does use a top dressing of Panko crumbs, but that's not breading in my book...so just in case that might work for you:
Salt and pepper both sides of each chop and brown in an ovenproof pan (with the oven preheated to 325F). Once both sides have browned, generously cover one side of each chop with some interesting creamy Djion mustard ( lately I've been going through a jar of Stonewall Kitchen's champagne/shallot) and then pat a thick layer of Progresso Italian seasoned panko crumbs over the mustard. Finish cooking in the oven until the chops are juicy and tender and the crumbs are crisp. I like to squeeze a lemon wedge over the cooked chop as I eat it.
We tested the same method as EM23 here in the CHOW test kitchen and got stellar results! Definitely don't wash that pan after you're done! The drippings in the pan make the best sauce, and you can tailor it to your spice rub and/or side dishes. You can use almost any liquid to deglaze the pan (white wine, cider vinegar, sherry) and then throw in some fresh herbs or other flavorings at the end with the butter. Here's a link to our Easiest Way video that gives step-by-step instructions:
and there's a recipe link on this page as well. Please let us know how your pork chop turned out; we appreciate feedback!
CHOW Test Kitchen
Nice neighbor! If I had freshly butchered chops I would go with a less is more approach. Coat the chop with fresh herbs (maybe marjoram, oregano and thyme) and then pan roast it. Cook in an oven-safe skillet until well browned on the first side (about 4 minutes for a thick chop), then flip over and brown for one more minute and then finish in a 400 degree oven. Make sure to not overcook – the food police say 145 degrees but I always take them out of the oven at 140. Cover them with foil and let them rest a full 10 minutes before cutting in to them. Make a simple pan sauce from the pan drippings – white wine, chicken stock and cold butter.
I always brine chops but perhaps that is an unnecessary step with really fresh pork - I'm not sure.
How thick are the chops and what type of chops are they? If they are at least one inch thick Rib Chops, then I suggest a recipe that focuses on a type of bread stuffing.....or Italian Style, stuffed with cheese and Prosciutto....pounded thin, then pan fried and oven roasted with a sauce ( Valdostana ).
Old-school, but oh so good:
Smothered Pork Chops
1 T. Brown sugar
1/2 t. salt
1.4 t. pepper
6 3/4" bone-in pork chops
Drippings or oil, whichever you prefer (Bacon drippings lend an awesome flavor)
1 medium onion, peeled and sliced
1 med. green pepper, cored, seeded and sliced
1 lemon, sliced and seeded
water or broth
Combine sugar, salt and pepper; rub mixture onto both sides of chops. Coat chops well w/ flour. Fry in 1/4 inch of drippings until browned on both sides; remove from skillet and set aside. Add onion and green pepper to skillet; saute until just tender. return chops to skillet. Add lemon slices and water to come 1/2 " up sides of pan. Cover and simmer over low heat 1-1 1/2 hours or until very tender, adding additional water or broth if necessary. Turn chops to coat with gravy before serving, and make sure you've got mashed potatoes or rice to hand for soaking up the rest of the deliciousness.