What is it about pork that makes it one of our favorite meats? It’s certainly more affordable than beef and just as tasty and tender when cooked right. Pork is also just as versatile as any other meat! You can fry it, stuff it, roast it, grill it, boil it, stew it, and even poach it until it’s moist and tender with every bite.
Pork goes well with a lot of other ingredients and it’s this versatility that makes it a well-loved ulam. Of all the cuts of pork, the pork chop has to be one of the most popular. It’s easy to cook and it’s instantly delicious, even if all you do is season it with salt and ground pepper.
However, not everyone is as adept in cooking pork chops as a chef would be. There are many factors that could make what could be a delicious pork chop dinner into a disastrous one. If you’re seeking to avoid that dreaded meal, here is everything you need to know about cooking pork chops:
1 Choose the thickness of the pork.
Those super thin pork chops that are 1/4-inch thick or less are actually quite perfect if you want the crispiest pork edges. That’s why it’s way too easy to overcook these thin pork chops unless you’re quick on the flip. If you ever find yourself with a tough chop, run with it and crisp it up instead!
If you like your pork chops meaty, you’ll want chops that are at least 1/2-inch up to 1-inch thick. These chops are best when you want juicy pork. These are also going to be harder to cook since the bones in the chops will prevent even cooking.
2 Skin on or off?
The other trait of the pork chops you should note when shopping for these cuts is whether to get it with the skin on or off. You sometimes have this option at more select butchers but you can also ask your butcher to trim these off for you as well. It is important to note that these can force your pork chop to curl. To stop that curl as it cooks, make a few cuts vertically that cuts through the meat and the fat and skin layer.
3 Season with salt and pepper first.
No matter what you will do to the pork chop, it’s a good idea to always season it with salt and ground black pepper. That’s because this first seasoning, where you actually pay attention to each piece of pork, will be your first line of flavor. Any seasoning you add to it later will be enhanced by this first seasoning. You can then proceed to either bread it or marinate it.
Besides, even if this is the only seasoning it gets, it will be extra delicious already.
4 Wait for the sizzle.
Do you get annoyed when the food you’re cooking sticks to the pan? This is the tip you should learn: always wait for the pan to get hot enough. When frying, you always want the pan to be hot enough first before adding the oil. Then wait another minute or two for the oil to get to the same temperature before placing the pork chops in the hot oil. The abrupt sizzle you hear as soon as the pork touches the oil is your cue that your pork won’t stick to the pan.
Even if it does, it will be brief as the heat will sear the outside and the meat will automatically unstick to the pan.
If you marinated your pork chops in a wet marinade, let any excess drip off (or blot it off) as much as possible before adding to the hot oil to avoid and reduce the splatters. You can always pour the remaining marinade in later to reduce and become a sauce or glaze later.
If you’re cooking a thin pork chop, a perfectly hot pan will save you from an overly tough chop! That’s because the thinness of the pork chop will only take around a minute or two per side before it’s ready to flip and remove from the pan. Searing the pork in a properly heated pan is how you can get that pork chop cooked without overdoing it.
5 Cover or place in a hot oven.
If you are cooking a thick pork chop, you may need to cover the pan as it fries. Why? The lid on the frying pan will create an area of heated steam around the pork chop and can speed up the process of it getting heated and cooked faster than if you just let it be. The meat around the bones will especially need some help in cooking!
Another way to do this is by placing it in a hot oven. If you have a toaster oven, it’s even faster! Here’s what you do: Sear both sides of the pork chop on the stove. Place the pork chops in a single layer on the baking tray of the toaster oven and place it inside the oven. Crank the timer to around 5 minutes and let the pork chops cook through. You can set the temperature gauge to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C) if it has one. Test your pork chops for doneness before removing.
6 Brush or serve with a sauce.
Once those pork chops are done, you either serve it as is or with a sauce. If you have a sticky sauce that you want to serve with it, now is the time to brush it on! You can serve it as well with some soy sauce seasoned with calamansi or lemon juice for a delicious citrusy twist on the suka’t toyo dipping sauce combo.
There are any number of ways to make your pork chops but we hope that with this guide, you can be cooking pork chops better with every meal you prepare.