Isn’t it lovely when you find something that makes your life easier? I’ve shied away from cooking pork chops for most of my cooking days, as they always, always turned out dry and tough. I, like most people, have an intense fear of undercooking meat and then suffering from the dire effects of said meat. When I first started cooking, I overcooked everything. I would rather be safe than sorry. Yes, I have always known that there are miraculous tools, like meat thermometers, which can help people cook meat perfectly. But that would be too easy! Why I never bought one of these inexpensive devices is beyond me. I think my refusal to make my life easier through buying a meat thermometer is related somehow to my stubborn resistance to buying other things like xantham gum and fish sauce (both of which I have purchased recently). These items seem so superfluous to me and a bit overindulgent and silly, if that makes any kind of sense. I’ve always been a practical person, and I’ve always wanted to make things as simple as possible. Show me a recipe with a dozen ingredients, and I will turn my nose up at it every time. So what’s happening to my discerning cooking style lately? I think I must be broadening my cooking horizons and experiencing a personal cooking renaissance, if you will. I’m in the college years of my cooking career, I guess. It’s freeing but without the binge-drinking!
I am still a bit resistant to these silly little items, but I am enjoying the benefits! If you are anything like me, I can understand your immediate discarding of this recipe because it requires a tool that you may not have. I hope, from the bottom of my gluten-free heart, that you reconsider! Buy a meat thermometer and enjoy perfectly cooked meat every time. You won’t be sorry!
The Perfect Pork Chop
2 Frenched bone-in pork chops (I got mine at Trader Joe’s)
Olive oil or butter
Sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper
Tools: instant-read meat thermometer
Remove your chops from the fridge at least 30 minutes before you are ready to cook. Season the top side generously with the freshly cracked sea salt and pepper. You should be able to see the seasoning on the chops if you stand a few feet away. This helps to give it great flavor and a nice crust!
In a large skillet over high heat, add enough olive oil to coat the pan. When pan is screaming hot, add the pork chops seasoned side down. Once the chops hit the pan, take the heat down to medium and cook on that side for about 4 minutes, or until a nice crust forms. Meanwhile season the other side generously with salt and pepper.
When ready to flip, cook the other side for around 4ish-6 minutes, checking with an instant-read meat thermometer inserted into the center of the chops. You want to cook the pork until it reaches an internal temperature of 135. I hesitate to give you a cook time because you really want to use the thermometer to tell you when it’s ready, not your timer. Keep checking if needed.
Once it reaches this temperature, transfer the chops to a cutting board or plate and let rest for at least 10 minutes. The residual heat will bring the internal temperature up to 145, which is where you want it for nice, juicy pork chops! You can cover loosely with tin foil if you want—this will heat it more.
Don’t get worried if you notice a light pink middle. This is how pork is meant to be eaten. We’ve all had pork chops that are completely white…and they are completely dry.
If you want to get a little fancier, you can fry some sage leaves in the pan when the chops are resting in the left over juices and olive oil or butter. This is not needed but it is yummy regardless!