How to make pork chops so your family will love them!
Years ago as a young Mom, I aspired to cook pork chops that my whole family would love. Needless to say, when I cooked up those thin pork chops from the grocery store, we were more than disappointed. What ended up on our plates was a chewy, tasteless sorry-excuse for a meal.
So, fast forward to 2018 when we got back our first farm-raised pork from the butcher. I knew that I loved bacon, sausage, and pulled pork. I actually wondered ... could I turn the whole pig into ONLY bacon & sausage?? Well, nope, that's definitely not how it works!
I was 100% not excited about the pile of pork chops that came back with that first pig. We cooked our way through the delicious pork shoulders (did you know you can put pulled pork on EVERYTHING), the hams, the bacon (the glorious bacon), and the ground pork & sausages. Alone, in the bottom of the freezer after all this feasting ... was a stack of chops.
I am not one to waste food so I embarked on the "make pork chops taste good" challenge!
Well, let me tell ya! Those pork chops turned out swell! Pork from outdoor happy pigs is so tasty!
I wanted to share a few tips today to help you make amazing chops at home!
Start with a thicker chop. Avoid buying thin pork chops ... you'll end up overcooking them before the outside gets browned. Aim for at least 3/4 inch thick. At Lazuli Farms, we have our chops cut to 1 inch thickness.
Choose a bone-in chop. The bone helps the chop to cook more evenly plus the bone gives flavour and moisture to the chop.
Consider brining your chops. Using a salt water brine will help the pork to retain moisture after it cooks. A little bit of honey, maple syrup, or brown sugar will add flavour to the meat plus it will help with the browning.
I suggest you start your pork chops in an oven-proof frypan on the stove over high heat. Cook them briefly to brown the outside and then transfer them to the pre-heated oven to finish cooking. This will ensure that the chop gets a nicely browned exterior without overcooking it in the fry pan.
- 4 cups water
- 1/4 cup salt
- 3 tablespoons brown sugar or maple syrup
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon pepper
Mix ingredients together to make brine. Pour over pork chops in a zippered plastic bag or covered dish. Let sit in fridge for 6 to 24 hours.
Preheat oven to 400F. Remove chops from brine and pat dry. Heat cast iron fry pan on stove over medium-high heat. Melt 1 tablespoonful of butter, lard, or bacon grease in pan. Once heated, sear the chops on both sides, about 3 to 5 minutes.
Transfer pan to the oven and cook until cooked through and meat thermometer reads 140 to 145 F. Remove from the oven and let rest for 5 minutes before eating.
If you've been avoiding pork chops because you think you don't like them, I strongly encourage you to give these tips a try! You might find that chops become a regular in your meal planning!
If you're looking to stock up on pork chops for the summer, head on over to the online store! You can often find a bulk bundle of Lazuli Farms bone-in pork chops on special!