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Is it possible to make a delicious pork chop?

Well, I assume the answer is yes which is why I am here. I have had a few versions of pork chops simply prepared in restaurants which have been fabulous but at home they always turn out horrible and seemed to be just as bad everytime my mom insisted on having her "famous pork chops." I can make a great steak and even cook a juicy skinless chicken breast, but the center cut pork chops evades me. I have a few thick cut pork chops which I'd like to whip up into a delicious dinner. I'd love any simple preparations - simple seared or braised perhaps a recipe which makes a chop so good that you don't need a sauce. Any advice?

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  1. Two words: Brine and braise.

    Here's a link to a previous post that links to my favorite brine recipe and my go-to braise.

    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/5666...

    8 Replies
    1. re: JoanN

      If you're braising the chops, you don't need to brine them.

      Other than that, I agree with the pervious poster...the pork we see in the supermarkets these days is pretty awful. Best thing is to get some decent pork or at the very least, if you're stuck with the supermarket variety, select well marbled chops. It makes a world of difference.

        1. re: monkeyrotica

          I love a good schnitzel and although we haven't made it for quite some time, we usually make it with pork loin.

          1. re: John E.

            I love schnitzel but have never made it. Do you just do a simple flour breading and pan sear? Any particular details of your prep?

            1. re: fldhkybnva

              I do a version using thick medallions of pork tenderloin that I pound thin. I was actually following a recipe for that midwest favorite, breaded pork loin sandwich, when my wife informed me I was kind of making schnitzel. She spent a few years in Germany so I guess she knows.

              I've been using the pounded very thin pork tenderloin for years in place of veal for all kinds of recipes.

              1. re: fldhkybnva

                With chicken breast going for 99 cents a pound on sale, Hähnchenschnitzel makes for a frugal and versatile meal. I usually brine the breasts, sandwich them in a large ziplock bag and pound to a half inch thickness. Salt, pepper, paprika or whatever spices you like, flour, egg wash, toss in Panko bread crumbs and deep fry at 350 for 8-10 minutes. I usually put it on a cookie rack and bake another 8-10. That seems to bake a lot of the excess oil out. I like to serve with kraut, slaw, or sliced into strips and put on a bowl of ramen with a squirt of Bulldog Brand tonkatsu sauce.

                1. re: fldhkybnva

                  monkey pretty much described the process. I don't usually use a recipe, I just make it. Here is a Tyler Florence recipe that looks pretty good. I don't put any herbs into the pan. I also use Panko bread crumbs and pat the crumbs onto the meat so they stick. Like Tyler, I don't deep fry, but do a shallow fry. Then I put them on a rack on a sheet pan and keep them warm in the oven while making the gravy and the rest of the meal. I usually make a country gravy, much like that served with chicken fried steak (which is basically schnitzel).

                  http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ty...

                  1. re: fldhkybnva

                    seasoning salt, flour, egg wash, corn flake crumbs. No better coating for schnitzel, IMHO.

            2. I agree..brine the chops, and dont overcook them. This recipe from the Side Street Inn in Honolulu makes a wonderful pork chop.

              http://www.saveur.com/article/Recipes...

              1 Reply
              1. re: wabi

                My favorite spot in Honolulu! Their barbecued ribs are pretty good, too.

              2. The quest for a delicious pork chop has been much more difficult ever since pork became "the other white meat". If you can find a source (Wegman's for instance) and are willing to pay the price, Korobuta (see photo) or Berkshire pork will provide a chop that you won't want anything on but for a bit of s&p. Otherwise, I agree with the brining suggestion.

                 
                3 Replies
                1. re: grampart

                  I have a large 1 1/2 inch thick Berkshire chop (unfortunately boneless) in my freezer. How would you cook this (grilling is not an option; still buried in snow)?

                  1. re: Pwmfan

                    I guess I would treat it like any other pork chop being careful to not overcook it. The times I've prepared Berkshire chops (also 1-1/2"), I've done them sous vide and finished on the grill. Twice I did Berkshire racks of pork and, after a quick sear, finished in the oven. My introduction to "Heritage" pork was a couple of years ago at The Admiral in Asheville where they did a thick Korobuta chop sous vide. I was hooked!

                    1. re: grampart

                      Thank you. Lacking access to both a grill and sous vide equipment, I will sear briefly and finish in the oven.
                      I've never cooked a thick chop before (I usually buy bone-in shoulder and country ribs) but this chop was so beautiful I couldn't resist.
                      My first taste of heritage pork (a sample at my farmers market) literally stopped me in my tracks. All I could think was "this is what I remember pork tasting like".

                2. While many CHers recommend brining, I've never brined pork chops - not motivated enough, but I have no good reason for not brining. Maybe because I've been really happy with simply sauteeing with salt, pepper and ground fennel seed, or I'll take them a bit further with a recipe I found on Serious Eats from Mario Batali,which is where I got the idea to use ground fennel. The resulting sauce (as well as the meat itself) is delicious; then there's the Cooks Illustrated very fussy sauteed pork chops in which they sprinkle one side with a tiny bit of sugar to aid browning on the second side and cook at a very low heat for the second side, resulting in an exceedingly tender and moist chop.

                  Here is the CI recipe:
                  http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7121...

                  And here's the link to the utterly delicious Pork Chops with Ground Fennel:
                  http://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/20...

                  1. We brine and broil pork chops that are at least 3/4" thick. I like the chops with spicy mustard spread in which to dip the fork fulls after they broiled. Sometimes my wife and I use apricot preserves added to the broiled chops after they are done.

                    I like to play with my food. Sometimes I mix the mustard with the apricot preserves.

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