Pork chops make a tasty and satisfying dinner which can be impressive enough to serve to guests but easy and quick enough to cook mid-week. Unfortunately, they are also all too easy to get wrong - and wrong usually means overcooked, dry, tough and tasteless. Our guide to the perfect pork chops offers hints and tips to ensure you produce tender, juicy, flavoursome chops every time.
Bone-in is best
There are a few reasons that pork chops are better with their bones still intact. It slows down the cooking time, which is essential to achieve a beautifully seared, golden top without the flesh overcooking. The bone also adds flavour to the meat, adding a delicious richness to your chops. Besides, a pork chop just wouldn’t be a pork chop without a T- shaped bone!
Bring the chops up to room temperature
Take your chops out of the fridge 30 minutes before you intend on cooking them. If you cook them cold from the fridge, the centre will be taking its time coming up to temperature while the outside overcooks.
Don’t remove the fat
One of the best things about pork chops is the thick layer of fat around its edge. Whatever you do, don’t be tempted to remove it. Instead, use tongs to stand the chop on its side when it’s on the cooktop to render it, making it golden and crispy. Delicious!
Don’t forget to season
Not only will it add to the flavour of the entire chop, a good amount of salt and freshly cracked black pepper will make the crust fantastically flavourful.
From cooktop to oven
The best way to ensure a golden crust and a tender centre is to sear the chops in a hot pan before popping them in the oven to finish cooking. Preheat the oven to 200°C/ gas mark 6 and turn the gas up on your cooktop the whole way, turning it down to medium- high after placing the chops in the pan. This way you can allow the centre to gently cook in the oven and achieve a beautiful finish. An ovenproof pan is ideal for this method.
Let it rest
As with all meat, it’s essential to let your chops rest for around 10 minutes to allow their lovely juices to redistribute in the meat. Cut into a chop straight out of the oven and those juices will simply run out onto your plate. Loosely cover them with foil and they will retain their heat while resting.