Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Juicy Pan Roasted Pork Chops

Believe it or not, I'm not very good at cooking pork chops. I have a love/hate relationship with this meat because I tend to either overcook it, or I don't buy the right cut and they come out tasting bland. So, I read that rib chops are better at grilling because they have a little more marbling than other cuts of pork. I found two, 1" rib pork chops on sale at the supermarket and decided to give pork chops another try. I was truly amazed on how juicy and tender they came out.

Note that most pork chop products already come with some sodium solution in them, so my brine is quite light in salt (I used Foster Farms pork chops). If you happen to buy natural, no added preservatives chops, then I would add maybe 1 more tablespoon of salt to the brine. I also let my chops brine for 3 days.

Pork Chop Brine

  • 1 cup hot water
  • 2 Tbsp. kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 sprig thyme
  • 1 Tbsp. cider vinegar
  • 4 cups ice water
  • 2 rib pork chops, about 1" thick

In a one gallon resealable freezer bag or a large container with a tight-fitting lid, dissolve salt and sugar in hot water. If you are using a freezer bag, it helps to set the bag inside a large bowl in case of spills or leaks. Add garlic, bay leaf, thyme, vinegar and ice water to brine. This will cool the brine quickly. Add the pork and seal the bag or tightly close the container and refrigerate overnight, up to 3 days (I brined mine for 3 days). Just before cooking, run chops under cool water and pat dry with paper towels. Season with fresh, cracked black pepper (no more salt is needed!).

To cook, you have your choice of grilling or pan-roasting. I pan roasted my chops. First, pre-heat oven to 450 degrees.

Add a couple of teaspoons of olive oil to an oven proof skillet and heat on medium-high. When pan is hot, place your chops and cook exactly two minutes to sear. Try not to move the chops around. Turn the chops over and sear another two minutes on second side.

Next, place the pan in the hot oven to finish cooking the chops. This can take 10 to 12 minutes. If you don't like any pink in your pork, you can go up to 14 minutes, but I wouldn't go longer than that. Don't forget to wear your oven-mitt as the pan is super hot! Enjoy with mashed potatoes or even some apple sauce. YUM!

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