How to cook pork chops, not just, how to cook pork chops, but how to cook the best ever pork chops!
There are lots of pork chop recipes but my quick and easy pork chop recipe is a rustic dish of beauty. My pork chop recipe is heady with the fragrance of rosemary and thyme and the sharpness of burnt lemon cutting through the fat of the pork chops.
This is simply porcine heaven. Learning how to cook pork chops can be surprisingly difficult to get right, but when you do cook pork chops right – it’s difficult to beat!
I love this pan fried pork chop recipe because 1. it’s Delicious 2. it’s Quick and Easy 3. it’s Pork! 🙂
Cooking pork chops should be really easy. So, why do so many fail to hit the spot?
What’s the big secret to cooking great pork chops?
Simple – don’t overcook them.
When you start thinking about how to cook pork chops, keep in mind Brining.
Brining pork chops helps keep them moist, but ultimately whether you brine the chops or not if you over cook pork chops you’ve had it. Overcooked pork chops are tough, dry and verge on inedible.
There was a time when pork was deemed dangerous to eat unless it was cooked to an inch of it’s life. Which meant years of people cooking pork chops way more than they needed to. Those times are a changing. The quality of farmed pork in most places around the world has improved drastically and various bacteria’s have almost been eradicated, there is still a risk for sure. And if you don’t know the actual source of your meat who really knows how well its been looked after?
Check out my Peruvian Pork Chops – grilled pork chops recipe on the BBQ.
But I’ll be blunt – I like my pork pink. Not rare, not bleeding, just pink. When I cut into a nice thick pork chop I want it to blush slightly, coyly embarrassed by how delicious it knows it is, the tempting minx… 🙂
The required minimum temperature for pork varies from country to country; in the USA they downgraded the temperature to 145F/63C with a 3 minute resting time which is really quite pink, probably off-putting for most if I’m honest.
In Canada and the UK the core temperature is still officially 160F/71C. I’m not going to tell you how to have it, I’ll tell you how I have it.
If you want to cook the pork chops well done, then do so. For me, I’ll keep it on the ‘just under’ side, as said I quite like it to have a pink hue.
But lets move on, cooking pork chops can be one of the hardest cuts of meat to get right. Pan fried pork chops are not forgiving; too long and they go tough, too short and they are still too pink. They vary in size and thickness all the time making any timings difficult to get right every time.
Your best bet is to invest in a decent food thermometer. But personally speaking, I don’t bother. I cook my pork chops until they are slightly golden in colour and firm to the touch, rest them for five minutes and to test if they are done use the old chicken test trick – prick the thickest part and see if the juices run clear.
This pork chop recipe is quite nostalgic for me, as a kid, having a couple of pork chops simply fried, lots of salt and pepper and then a squeeze of lemon over the top is just divine. Seriously, just that simple dish on it’s own is wonderful. So I’ve kept the essence of that childhood memory for this recipe.
Anyway, enough of all this, let’s cook.
How to cook Pork Chops Recipe – Ingredients:
Two bone-in thick cut pork chops (about 1.5 inches thick)
Rapeseed oil (or light olive oil)
Seasoning (lots! Pork chops need a seriously decent hit of salt and pepper)
4 sprigs fresh rosemary
6 springs fresh thyme
4 cloves garlic whole, gently crushed
1 Lemon cut in half
1 baby gem lettuce quartered lengthways
50g table salt (about 2 tablespoons)
50g sugar (about 2 tablespoons)
500g cold water (about 2 cups)
If you have time brining your pork chops will keep them juicier – but don’t panic if you don’t have time – they will still taste delish!
First make the brine by adding all the Brine ingredients together and stir until all the sugar and salt is dissolved. Then pop your chops into the brining mixture for an hour. Remove, rinse thoroughly and pat dry. If you don’t have time to bring your pork chops just start from here.
- Heat a few glugs of oil in a pan on a high heat and season the pork chops generously with salt and pepper and I mean generously!
- Fry the pork chops on a high heat for about 2 minutes each side or until the pork chops have caramalised to a deep golden colour.
- While on a high heat, add the baby gem lettuce and lemon (cut side down) and after a few seconds turn the heat down to medium/low.
- Now add the herbs (saving one sprig of each) and the garlic and cook the chops for a further 4 minutes. Turning the chops over a couple more times whilst cooking.
- Just before you finish cooking add the butter and the remaining herbs, once the butter has melted, give the lemons a little squeeze with a back of a spoon to release some of their juices and spoon the cooking juices over the pork chops.
- Rest the chops for 3 or 4 minutes before serving.
- Depending how pink you want your meat; you want medium (145F/63C) to well done (160F/71C).
I personally like to serve these with some tenderstem broccoli and asparagus (or runner beans – anything fairly quick to cook); mainly because it’s really easy to just throw them into the pan the chops were cooked in while the pork chops are resting!
Goes well with some greens a cold beer and some chunky bad boy chips!