Bid farewell to dry and uninspiring pork chops with these expert tips and tricks that will help you create succulent, tender, and bursting-with-flavor pork chops. This recipe offers simple methods to ensure you achieve the perfect pork chops every time, whether you’re cooking them on the stovetop or baking them in the oven. From proper seasoning to searing techniques, we’ve got you covered.
- 4 pork chops, approximately 1-inch thick and 6 to 7 ounces each
- Salt, to taste
- 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon neutral oil (e.g., avocado oil or vegetable oil)
- 1 cup low-sodium chicken stock
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 2 teaspoons honey or brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley (optional)
Preparing the Pork Chops:
- Take the pork chops out of the refrigerator and generously season both sides with salt. Allow the chops to rest at room temperature for 30 minutes.
- In a small bowl, combine the flour, chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder, smoked paprika, and ground black pepper to create a spice rub.
- After the resting time, pat the pork chops dry with a paper towel. Rub both sides of the chops with the prepared spice rub.
Searing the Pork Chops:
- Heat a skillet (with a lid) over medium-high heat and add the neutral oil. Once the oil is hot and shimmery, place the pork chops in the skillet. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes, or until the chops are golden on one side.
- Flip the pork chops to sear the other side. If one side of the pork has more fat, use kitchen tongs to hold the chops with the fatty side down for about 30 seconds until it browns slightly.
Cooking the Pork Chops:
- Reduce the heat to low and cover the skillet with a lid. Allow the pork chops to cook for 6 to 12 minutes, or until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the chop reads 145°F. Cooking time will vary depending on chop thickness; start checking for doneness at 5 minutes and then every 2 minutes thereafter. If using a thermometer is not possible, ensure the juices run clear when cutting into the chops.
- Transfer the cooked pork chops to a plate and loosely cover them with aluminum foil. Let the chops rest for 5 minutes.
Making the Pan Sauce:
- While the pork chops are resting, increase the skillet’s heat to medium-high. Add chicken stock, apple cider vinegar, and honey to the skillet. Use a wooden spoon to scrape up any bits stuck to the bottom of the pan.
- Bring the sauce to a simmer and cook until it’s reduced by about half. Taste the sauce and adjust the seasoning with additional salt, vinegar, or honey if needed.
- Slide the skillet off the heat and, when the sauce is no longer simmering, swirl in the butter.
- Return the pork chops to the skillet, spooning the pan sauce over them. Alternatively, slice the chops and arrange them back in the skillet.
- If desired, sprinkle chopped fresh parsley over the pork chops.
- Serve the juicy skillet pork chops with your choice of side dishes.
Tips and Notes:
Pork Chop Variations: While the recipe calls for 1-inch thick pork chops, you can adjust the thickness according to your preference. Keep in mind that cooking times will vary.
Spice Rub Flexibility: Feel free to use your favorite spice rub, just ensure it’s salt-free if you’re following the provided seasoning recommendations.
Gluten-Free Option: Omit the flour for a gluten-free version. The spice rub alone will still deliver great flavor, though the crust might not be as even.
Onion-Apple Pan Sauce: Enhance your dish by adding sliced onions, apples, and fresh thyme to the skillet after removing the cooked pork chops. Once they soften and sweeten, incorporate chicken stock, vinegar, and honey for a delightful pan sauce.
Nutrition Facts: The nutrition information provided is an estimate based on the USDA database and is intended as a general guideline.
With these steps and insights, you’re equipped to prepare the most succulent and flavorful skillet pork chops. From proper seasoning to searing and creating a delectable pan sauce, this recipe promises juicy and tender results that will impress your taste buds. Whether you’re cooking for a special occasion or a weeknight dinner, these juicy skillet pork chops are sure to be a hit.
Q1: What is the purpose of allowing the pork chops to rest at room temperature before cooking?
A: Allowing the pork chops to rest at room temperature helps bring the meat to an even temperature, promoting even cooking and ensuring juicy results.
Q2: Can I use a different type of oil instead of neutral oil for searing the pork chops?
A: Yes, you can use other cooking oils like canola oil or grapeseed oil if you prefer. The key is to use an oil with a high smoke point.
Q3: How do I know when the pork chops are cooked to perfection?
A: Use an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the chop. When it reads 145°F, the pork chops are done. If juices run clear when you cut into them, that’s also a sign of doneness.
Q4: Can I use bone-in pork chops for this recipe?
A: Absolutely! Bone-in chops work well and might require a slightly longer cooking time due to the bone’s heat-conducting properties.
Q5: Is there a gluten-free option for the spice rub?
A: Yes, you can skip the flour in the spice rub for a gluten-free version. The rub will still add plenty of flavor to the pork chops.
Q6: What should I do if I don’t have an instant-read thermometer?
A: Without a thermometer, you can visually check the juices. If they run clear when the chops are cut, they are likely cooked through.
Q7: Can I make the pan sauce without apple cider vinegar?
A: If you prefer, you can omit the apple cider vinegar. It adds a tangy flavor, but you can adjust the sauce to your taste.
Q8: Can I substitute the honey with another sweetener?
A: Yes, you can use brown sugar or even maple syrup as a substitute for honey in the pan sauce.
Q9: Are there specific side dishes you recommend serving with these pork chops?
A: Absolutely! Some great side dish options include mashed cauliflower, roasted asparagus, sautéed zucchini, or a colorful coleslaw.
Q10:Can I freeze the leftover cooked pork chops?
A:Yes, you can freeze the cooked pork chops. Wrap them tightly in plastic wrap or aluminum foil, and store them in an airtight container in the freezer for up to 2-3 months.