How To Cook Pork Chops So They Don’t Dry Out
When it comes to cooking pork chops, particularly centre-cut pork chops, they can be very unforgiving if they are even slightly over-cooked. There are a few things you can do to keep pork juicy.
First and foremost, make sure it’s fresh or completely thawed so the meat doesn’t have to finish thawing in the pan or the oven before it can actually start cooking.
If you’ve thawed it completely in the refrigerator, leave it out of the fridge about 20 minutes to get the refrigerator chill off of it so the heat can do its work more efficiently. It will NOT go bad in 20 minutes or pose a food poisoning risk.
Once thawed, you have some options:
1. Brine, Brine, Brine.
Brine it for at least 4 hours in a mixture of water, salt and sugar (you can also add any herbs or spices that you like). (We like to brine our chops overnight).
2. Marinate it.
An owner of a French/Vietnamese fusion restaurant I know, has a wonderful marinade of mustard seed, soy sauce, garlic, green onion, toasted sesame oil and brown sugar that they used on centre-cut pork chops. You can marinate yours in anything from Italian dressing to soy sauce to store bought marinades or citrus juice, etc.
3. Don’t Sear!
If you’re cooking chops in a skillet or on a grill, we honestly can’t recommend the searing process that chefs hold so dear. It just cooks the outside a lot faster than the inside and removes moisture. It’s fine if you’re working with meat with a higher fat content. Instead, go with a medium high heat and leave the chop on the cooking surface until you can see the colour change from raw to cooked about 1/3 of the way up the side of the chop. Then turn it over and do the same. The middle is now hot from when you cooked it on the first side and it will cook all the way through once turned.
4. Rest is Best.
Rest the chops. Take them off the heat and put them onto a plate or platter and tent them with foil and leave them undisturbed for 20 minutes. The residual heat will finish cooking the chops and the foil will keep them warm while the meat juices redistribute through the meat.
5. Enjoy your juicy pork chops!