It was this meal that first made P exclaim "have wife, is nice"
I am glad he appreciates it, because when you look at the humble chop, you'd never know the amount of tweaking that goes on behind the scenes to get this dish right. Anyone who has attempted pork chops before knows that it's stupidly difficult to get a nice golden-brown crust while keeping the meat moist and tender. I like my meats, so it really bothers me that I can't get a simple pork chop right after all these attempts, but thankfully the experiments have not been for nothing.
It's been a while since this photo of pork chops first went up on instagram, and since then, we've tried variations of this dish with many, many different recipes to varying degrees of success in an attempt to get it ever closer to perfection. While we have not yet attained the perfect pork chop, there have certainly been some significant improvements. To everyone who's emailed me for the recipe, the base recipe I like best is this one from Bon Appetit, but what you really need to read are the tweaks we have tried which have helped:
Brine Chops For Maximum Juiciness
If I could, I probably would, brine everything I cooked. It is the simplest, most sure fire way, to make any meat a million times more amazing. Soaking your chops overnight in a simple brine of water, salt, sugar, and spices doesn’t just create incredibly juicy meat; it’s also like giving the pork a big flavor bath that infuses the meat from the inside-out. Bon Appetit's brine calls for a mix of juniper, black peppercorns, garlic, and thyme, but feel free to experiment with different spices for a subtle flavor change—just maintain the brine’s water-salt-sugar ratio.
Salt The Sucker
I used to worry about over-seasoning pork chops and would only use salt and pepper sparingly. But just like a good steak, you want a layer of salt and pepper on the surface of your chops as it will make it incredibly flavourful when seared on a super hot pan.
Be Wary Of The Recipe
Cooking times on recipes pretty much never work, and this is even truer in the case of pork chops because the meat dries out really easily (I find there's more leeway when cooking steaks and chicken). Use a meat thermometer to tell when the pork chop is ready. I usually take it off the heat when it reads 135°F and let it rest for another 10 minutes or so, letting the residual heat do the rest of the cooking for me.
Give It A Break
As with steaks, you want to let the pork chop rest for about 10 minutes after coming off the heat. This lets the residual heat cook the center gently, but more importantly, the juices from the chop will be reabsorbed into the meat, making it extra delicious and super tender.
And with that, all the best! Here's hoping some of us get a good attempt at pork chops for dinner.