Would you believe me if I told you I could guarantee a method for cooking perfectly tender pork chops? Or have too many dinners of overcooked shoe-leather pork chops turned you off from this easy addition to the weeknight meal rotation?
Let me convince you to try roasting your pork chops in the oven.
Brining the pork chops is one of the best ways to guarantee a juicy cooked pork chop. Even a quick 30-minute brine (or up to 4 hours) makes a big difference.
It’s not strictly necessary – you can use this method even without brining – but if you have time, I recommend it.
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Brining changes the cell structure within the meat, resulting in a noticeably juicier chop. The salt brine also seasons the interior of the meat. It won’t taste “salty,” just well-seasoned. You can add other seasonings like garlic, peppercorns, fresh herbs and lemon to the brine for more flavor. If you fear bland pork chops, definitely give brining a try.
Pork chops are a tender, quick-cooking cut of meat – so quick-cooking, they’re easy to overcook. This is why I start the chops on the stove, where they get a good sear, and then transfer them to the oven to finish cooking. The gentle heat of the oven helps control the rate of cooking a little better and prevents the outside from getting tough and dry before the middle is cooked.
Bone-in pork chops take a little longer to cook than boneless chops, but in my experience, they are another way of ensuring tender pork chops. By “a little longer to cook,” I’m only talking about a few minutes.
You also can make this process easier by using just one pan. Heat the skillet in the oven while you get the rest of the meal prepped, then transfer it – carefully! – to a stove burner to sear the pork chops. Once the chops are golden on the underside, flip them and move the skillet back to the oven. The residual heat will sear the other side while the heat of the oven cooks them through.
The result is a perfectly cooked pork chop: Golden and crusted on the outside and perfectly tender and juicy in the middle. Every time.