When you think of pork chops what comes to mind? If it’s shoe leather, or grandma’s house, this recipe will forever change your thinking. Learn to make juicy pork chops every time with just a few simple steps.
I used to avoid cooking pork chops like the plague.
Then I ended up with a freezer full of pork after purchasing some fresh meat from a farmer friend. I needed to figure out how to turn this pork into something edible.
After some research, I felt prepared to give chops another shot. I brined, I seared, I baked. And wow, it paid off.
My kids (who am I kidding, the hubby, too) were unsure the first time I re-made pork chops, it seems memories of shoe leather don’t fade fast.
This time it only took one bite and they were sold.
3 Simple Tips for No Fail Pork Chops
- Buy thick, bone in, chops – at least 1- 1 1/2 inch thick
- Brine the chops
- Use a calibrated thermometer. Don’t over cook. 140-145 degrees
Let’s talk about the brine
Why in the world do we need to do this, you might ask. Brining comes in handy for pork, a lean meat. Lean meats, such as shrimp, chicken, and pork are easily over cooked, and end up tough. Brining helps ensure a juicier end result.
It’s a pretty simple concept, one that our kiddos may be learning about in school right now. Brining works by osmosis. By sitting in the salt water solution, meat will absorb water in order to equalize the salt levels.
The higher water content of the meat is a good thing, because moisture is lost during the cooking process. In simple terms, by starting off with a higher water content, you end up with a higher water content, equating to juicier pork chops.
Not only does the meat absorb water, it also absorbs salt.
Salt plays another role. It helps break down proteins in the meat. Have your kids gotten into the putty craze? Mine have. You can think of the chop starting as a wad of that Crazy Aaron’s Thinking Putty. Right out of the tin it’s kind of hard. As it’s squeezed in their hands, it warms up and becomes malleable and workable. This is what salt does to meat. It makes the proteins in the chops relax – which translates to a more moist product.Just compared Crazy Aarons Putty to Brining. Find out why.Click To Tweet
For side dish options make sure to check these out.A no-fail method to make the best Pork Chops. Click To Tweet
Easy Baked Pork Chops
You are a few simple steps away from delicious pork chops that will quickly become a family favorite. This recipe does require time to brine the pork chops before cooking.
- 4 1 inch thick bone in pork chops
- 3 Tbsp. salt
- 1 Tbsp. whole peppercorns such as Penzeys
- Olive oil
- Salt & Pepper
2 hours before dinner (or in the morning), place pork chops into deep bowl with lid.
Mix 3 tablespoons salt into 1 cup hot water, stirring to dissolve. Add peppercorns.
Pour salt solution plus another 2 cups water over chops. Add more water if needed to fully cover pork chops.
Cover and refrigerate for at least 1/2 hour.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Place oven safe skillet into pre -heating oven. Make sure to heat enough skillets for chops to all fit flat.
Remove chops from brine solution, pat dry.
Using a silicone pastry brush, brush chops with olive oil on both sides.
Season both sides with salt and pepper.
Using oven mitts, remove skillets, placing over high heat.
Place chops into hot pan(s), searing. Don't poke or flip until chop releases itself from pan, about 3 minutes. It should be golden brown.
Flip pork chops using tongs, immediately place in hot oven.
Cook about 6 minutes or until internal temperature reads 140- 145 degrees in the largest part of the chop. Don't over cook!
Let chops rest 5-10 minutes before serving.
Note: The pork will look pink in the center, it is fully cooked at 145 degrees.
Click to check out Penzeys Peppercorns.
Brine Options: Add fresh garlic or your favorite herbs
Want to learn behind the scenes info about what happens at a huge US based pork farm? Read about my experience here.
What are your experiences with pork chops? I’d love to hear your stories!