Are pork chops in your regular weeknight meal rotation? Or have you only just recently discovered how simple and satisfying they can be? Either way, let's make sure you bring your A-game to dinner tonight.
1. Not all pork chop cuts are interchangeable.
Grocery stores often only carry one or two cuts, which makes it tempting to just use whatever they have for your dinner. However, you should know which cuts are best for the dish you plan. Rib chops, loin chops, and boneless chops can all be used interchangeably for quick, high-heat cooking. So if you want to eat pork chops tonight, choose one of these.
Sirloin chops and shoulder (or, blade) chops are tougher cuts and should both be used for slow-cooked braises and soups.
Learn Your Chops: A Complete Guide to Pork Chops
2. A quick brine makes every pork chop better.
Brining your pork chops in a mix of salt, water, and herbs is one of the easiest ways to add flavor to those lean chops. It's also your insurance against overcooking — brining means the pork stays juicy and tender, even if you forget to pull them out of the oven right on time. But this doesn't mean delaying dinner; even a quick brine of 15 to 30 minutes will produce noticeably better results. (Make a salad or bake some biscuits while the chops brine.)
Read More: Make a Quick Brine for Perfect Pork Chops
3. Master this technique and you don't need a recipe.
You don't need a recipe — you just need a technique. Sear pork chops on the stovetop and then transfer them to the oven until cooked through (145°F). It's that simple, and with this basic technique, you can create your own recipes. Add your favorite spice rub, make a simple pan sauce, or roast some vegetables alongside the chops.
Master the Technique: How To Cook Perfect Pork Chops in the Oven
4. Cook pork chops to 145°F.
At this temperature, the chops are perfect. They're still juicy and just a touch pink, and you don't need to worry that they're undercooked. Measure the temperature in the thickest part of the chop (but not touching bone).
More on Pork Temperatures: The Right Internal Temperature for Cooked Pork
5. Always let your pork chops rest before eating.
Pork chops benefit from a short rest before you dig in. This lets the moisture redistribute and the fibers of the meat relax. Yes, it's tempting to rush straight to the table when you smell the sizzle of those delicious chops, but let them rest for a few minute under foil; you'll be glad you did.
More on resting meat: Food Science: Why You Should Rest Meat After Cooking
More Pork Chop Know-How: Mistakes to Avoid When Cooking Pork Chops