Perfect Pork Chops

I’ve always liked the idea of pork chops for dinner, it makes me think of a happy 1950’s family (complete with two perfect kids) sitting around the dinner table.  Unfortunately, I’ve never been able to cook a decent one!  They’ve always turned out very dry and tough and I’ve secretly suspected that maybe only a 50s housewife really knows how to cook these things.  (Did they eat a lot of pork chops on Happy Days? Not sure why I have this association  …).

Things were looking pretty poor for pork in our family, until I discovered the trick to a thick juicy chop!A quick 30 minute brine (discovered on thekitchn.com) and a few minutes in the oven and I had 2 out of 3 kids asking for seconds (the 4th kid refused to try it at all – maybe too many bad prior experiences!).  And, randomly, the day after my pork chop success I received this apron in the mail from my mother-in-law.  Coincidence?  Huh…maybe I’m channeling a 50s housewife after all!

Perfect Pork Chops
 
Author:
Serves: 4
 
Ingredients
  • 3-4 boneless, thick pork chops (about 1.5-2" thick)
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • For the sauce:
  • ½ cup soy
  • ¼ honey
  • 1 heaping Tablespoon ginger (I used freeze-dried chopped ginger)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1.5 Tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1 Tablespoon orange juice
  • For the brine:
  • 3 cups water
  • 3 Tablespoons coarse salt
  • 2 minced garlic cloves
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 bay leaf
Instructions
  1. Brine the chops. Bring 1 cup of water to a boil. Remove from heat and stir in the seasonings. You can use any seasoning you'd like, I used salt, garlic, pepper and a bay leaf. Continue stirring until the salt is dissolved and then pour the remaining 2 cups of cold water into the pan.
  2. Put the pork chops into a shallow dish or casserole pan and pour the brine over them. Make sure the container is small enough to allow the brine to cover the meat. Let rest for at least 30 minutes and up to 4 hours.
  3. While the pork chops are brining, put a large ovenproof skillet into the oven and turn the oven on to 425 degrees. You want to heat up the pan so you can get a good sear on the chops.
  4. While the oven is heating, stir all of the sauce ingredients together in a small bowl.
  5. Once the brine is finished (I only did it for 30 minutes) remove the pork chops, dry them off, rub them with olive oil on both sides, and generously sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  6. Remove the hot skillet from the oven (use an oven mitt!) and put it over medium-high heat on the stove.
  7. Add the chops to the skillet and watch them sizzle for a few minutes until they're browned on one side (this took about 4½ minutes for me).
  8. Flip the chops over, pour the sauce into the pan and pop it into the oven.
  9. Depending on the thickness of your pork chops, this should take about 8 - 10 minutes. They're done when the center reaches 145 degrees.
  10. Remove from the oven and transfer the pork chops to a plate, leaving the sauce in the pan. Tent loosely with foil.
  11. While the pork rests, put the pan with the sauce back on the stove and turn the burner up to high. Stir constantly until the sauce thickens.
  12. Spoon over the pork chops and serve with a side of broccoli and roasted potatoes.

 

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