Thursday, April 2, 2009

Recipe: Pan-Seared Pork Chops

Pork chops often end up overcooked, bland, dry, and downright un-palatable.

Did I mention overcooked?

The key to NOT overcooking (or under-cooking) pork chops is to measure the temperature of the pork chops as you cook them. Pull the chops off the heat source BEFORE they hit their optimal temperature, rest for a few minutes, then serve.

Note: If you've got mad skillz, you may be able to wing it and gauge done-ness by feel, instinct, and/or extra sensory perception.

For the rest of us, measuring the internal temperature of the meat with an instant-read thermometer is the surest path to pork chop success.

What temperature are we talking about? The USDA has finally updated their recommended internal temperature for pork to 145 degrees F (down from 160 degrees F).

I still believe that unless you purchased your pork chop from a pile of human feces, 140 degrees F is fine for well done. If you like it a little pink, I'd go for 130 degrees F.

Ingredients

  • Boneless pork chops (ideally, about 1 1/4 inches thick)
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Canola oil


Procedure
Heat a medium cast iron skillet on medium heat. While the pan is heating, salt and pepper the pork chops generously. When the pan is just beginning to smoke, add a splash of canola oil to it, and spread it around to coat the pan.

Toss in the chops and cover them.

Sear the pork chops, covered, until they are lightly browned (this will probably take 2-3 minutes). Flip them over, and sear them on the other side until they are lightly browned (maybe another 2-3 minutes). At this point, insert an instant-read meat thermometer into the center of each pork chop to gauge done-ness. Make a note of the temperature, so you can gauge the rate of increase in subsequent measurements.

Continue to cook the pork chops, flipping every 2-3 minutes, measuring internal temperature on each flip, until the internal temperature reaches its desired mark.

For moist and tender pork chops, remove them from the pan when the internal temperature hits 125 degrees F. Place them on a cutting board and tent them with aluminum foil for 5 minutes, then serve immediately. If you're a little less sure about pinkish pork chops, wait until the internal temperature hits 130 degree F, and then pull them to rest under aluminum foil for 5 minutes before serving.

Enjoy!

12 comments:

  1. Thanks a bunch for this! I tried it last night and it was delicious!!

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  2. Glad you liked it! Thanks for stopping by.

    -D

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  3. Great, thanks for the temperature recommendation. I hate overcooked food and I have all but given up on pork tenderloin because of this, but the chops are good.

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  4. You bet! Yeah, I'd say go with the same temperatures for pork tenderloin as well. Good quality meat doesn't need to be cooked to death!

    Happy cooking,

    -D

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  5. nice recipe, but I find you can get a juicier chop on the cast iron if you preheat it in your oven @500 degrees, then sear them over high heat for about a minute on each side, then throw back in the oven to finish for a minute or two on each side.
    it gets so nice and seared and juicy its crazy!
    sweet site though

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  6. Hey, thanks for stopping by. I like your oven finishing suggestion. I'm pretty sure my only option is to try them both side-by-side and run a blind taste test! I'll report back with my results.

    Thanks and happy eating!

    -Derek

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  7. thanks bro the little angels loved it

    Randal

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  8. I'm so glad I found your blog. I've had a cast iron skillet for close to 5 years and have only used it once. I have a goal to use it more and made these tonight. So incredibly easy and so tasty. Thanks for the directions. I also followed your direction to clean the skillet/dutch appropriately. Worked like and charm. Thanks again.

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  9. Hi Emily,

    So glad this recipe was easy and tasty! It's also great to hear that the clean-up instructions were spot-on.

    Thanks for stopping by!

    -Derek

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  10. Years later and it works! Thanks for much for your great blog!

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