Have you ever tried to cook pork chops only to suffer the sad result of a piece of meat that is tasteless and as tough as shoe leather? Well, it is not your fault. Help is on the way.
Prior to the 1950s, most pork chops were marbled with fat, much like beef steaks. That was because the pigs were mostly raised for their lard. With the introduction of oleomargarine and other vegetable oil products, farmers started breeding more lean pork meat. The pork industry successfully rehabilitated the reputation of pork, marketing it as “The Other White Meat.” The result, although healthier, created problems for the cook.
No matter how you cook pork chops (fry, bake, grill), the window is very small for properly cooking the meat without drying it out. Again, this is due to the lack of fat so that if any moisture leaves the chop during the cooking process, the meat will be tough. So, to prepare the perfect chop you have 2 choices: (1) cook it in liquid (braising) or (2) brining (treating with salt in advance). This blog is focusing on a speedier version of the brining method because it is quick and easy, resulting in the perfect chop.
This method will work with most pork chops. The best would be rib chops or loin chops. They come with or without bones. Regardless of which chop you choose, try to get ones that are at least ½ inch thick. The following recipe, if followed will give you foolproof pork chops that are moist, tender and full of flavor.
Step 1. Pat dry the chops with paper towels. Removing the surface moisture will help at time of cooking to form a crust, which adds great flavor.
Step 2. Using a fork, poke 5-6 surface holes evenly on both sides of each chop. These should be fairly shallow, about ¼ inch deep.
Step 3. Measure ¼ teaspoon of table salt and sprinkle on each side, then rub it to cover the entire side. Flip it over; apply another ¼ teaspoon of salt on the other side. Continue until all chops are salted. Then put on a cookie sheet with wax paper and store in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
Step 4. Take the chops out of the refrigerator and prepare for cooking. You can add some additional dry rub, such as garlic powder, thyme, paprika, etc. Be careful not to add additional salt.
Step 5. However you decide to cook the chops, try to cook the first side hot enough to get a golden brown crust before flipping. This adds immense flavor. I prefer to flip the chop and bake it to finish. Whatever you do, do not overcook. I always use a thermometer. Pork is done when the internal temp is 163F.
Douglas P. Wyckoff
Williams, Wyckoff & Ostrander, PLLC