How to Make the Best Pork Chops You’ve ever Tasted!
I love pork chops now, but that wasn’t always the case. I used to think they were thick, dry, flavorless cuts of meat (which they were) and I couldn’t figure out what others loved so much about them.
Pork chops are leaner than other cuts, i.e. less fat. And we all know that fat is flavor (and juiciness), which explains a lot. They don’t call it the other white meat for nothin’.
It was years before I figured out the secret to tender, flavorful, juicy pork chops and I’m giving you all the ‘juice’ below…
Two words. Dry brine. As far as I am concerned, this is single most important thing to know about preparing chops, next to not overcooking them. I am a big fan of dry brines because it’s less messy and you don’t risk removing flavor from an already mild flavored cut of meat; you’re actually adding it. It needs time tho, so I like to salt my meat the night before and refrigerate. If you don’t have much time, salt and leave it on the counter. Make sure you rinse it before you cook so that it is not too salty.
Also, thickness matters. ½ inch is the sweet spot of pork chop thickness. Too thin or thick can create dry and over or undercooked meat. I personally prefer bone in chops. It helps you not to overcook them and there is fat around the bone that tenderizes and flavors the meat. I cannot resist eating with my hands around the bone to get all of that juicy flavorful meat.
Make sure you let them rest, for obvious reasons, but also it will give you time to make a quick pan sauce out of something sweet. Pork chops love sweet so I like to make them spicy but serve them with sweet potato mash or sautéed cabbage with sweet apples. Yumm.
Last but not least, do not overcook your chops! If you do not have a meat thermometer, get one. Although after a few tries you can probably wing it.
Check out one of my favorite way to make pork chops below.
- 2 bone in pork chops (at least ½” thick)
- 2 TBSP kosher salt
- 2 – 3 TBSP UMAMI Jerk
- Olive oil
- 1 TBSP grass fed butter
- 3 TBSP light red wine (optional)
- 1 TBSP fig preserve (or jam or chutney)
- 1 TBSP good quality maple syrup
- Worcestershire Sauce (to taste optional)
Salt chops 3 to 4 hours in advance or up to overnight. This is what is called a dry brine and I prefer to do it the night before.
Just before cooking, rinse chops completely with water and pat dry with paper towel. Brush with a little olive oil and season both sides with the spice blend. (If you did not dry brine your pork chops in advance you can be more generous with the spices.)
To prevent pork chops from curling in a hot pan, cut 2 slits about 2" apart into the fat around the outside of each chop. The chop will develop a better crust, cook evenly and taste better.
Heat your skillet to medium high and add the olive oil and butter. Once it's shimmering and hot, add your chops and cover lightly (allowing steam to escape). Sear on one side without moving at all until they are nice and brown on the 1st side, about 3 to 5 minutes. Flip and sear the other side until brown cooking for another 3 – 5 minutes, basting with the pan juices. The easiest way to check to see if they are done is with a meat thermometer. They should reach an internal temperature of 145ﾟF.
Remove chops from the skillet and let them rest for 5 minutes lightly covered. While they are resting make your jus. Deglaze the pan with approximately 3 TBSP water (or wine). Add the fig preserve and maple syrup and mix until sauce is smooth.
Add Worcestershire sauce to taste and stir.
Serve pork chops over sweet potato mash and drizzle the maple fig jus over everything before serving.
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