Pork chops are one of those versatile dishes that taste great every time – oven-roasted, grilled, pan-fried, slow-cooked, or breaded. However, having a great pork chops recipe is not enough. Beginner cooks often end up with an overcooked or rubbery final product.
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Luckily, with a few precautionary steps, everyone can have deliciously tender pork chops on the table in less than 30 minutes, regardless of the cooking method.
Pork Chop Recipe Secret 1: Bone-on or Boneless?
The first step is choosing the best type of meat. Should you opt for boneless or bone-on chops? The difference isn’t big but in general, the chops with the bone on take a few minutes longer to cook.
When preparing pork chops, start by removing them from the packaging (If you brine, this step comes after brining). Then, pat them dry with a paper towel, rub with some olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
Pork Chop Recipe Secret 2: Brining the Pork Chops
Brining is the key to softness and juiciness! Considering that the process takes approximately half an hour and makes such a big difference in the taste, it’s worth taking it into consideration. However, 30 minutes are the required minimum. Generally, the longer the brining takes, the softer and juicier the meat will be. The recommended maximum brining time is 4 hours; so, be careful not to over-brine!
Brining is also the step where you can make the meat extra flavorful by adding fresh herbs and spices to the brine like garlic, peppercorns, and lemon juice.
From here on, everything gets easier. Here are a few examples of how to add a new twist on favorite pork chop recipes.
Sweet pork chops, baked with a stuffing of apples, cheese and raisins, make a special occasion even better. To vary the flavor of this dish, replace the apple with the same amount of chopped pear and the Cheddar with mozzarella.
Mushrooms and garlic are simmered in an herbed gravy, then sour cream is added to create the perfect sauce for pork chops. Substitute sliced Portobello, cremini or shiitake mushrooms for the sliced button mushrooms in this recipe for a gourmet twist.
Perk up pan-fried pork chops by smothering them in a delicious sauce made with apple cider, fresh sage and onions. For a richer, creamier sauce, remove the skillet from heat at the end of Step 3 and stir in 3 tbsp. sour cream
It’s easy to add amazing ﬂavor to pork chops. Whole-grain mustard, tarragon, shallots and whipping cream do the trick. If shallots aren’t easily available, you can substitute 2 tsp. dried minced onion.
Simple baked pork chops are enriched with a burst of ﬂavor from onions, tarragon and tomatoes. Easy enough for a weeknight! For a fruit chutney variation that goes well with pork: Add 1/2 cup drained chopped canned peaches to the skillet with the tomatoes.
Fresh mango adds a refreshingly sweet note plus a taste of the tropics to these spicy, juicy Southwestern-style pork chops.
Cornbread stufﬁng enhanced with fresh bell pepper and onion is baked right inside these savory pork chops. Don’t want half a green pepper sitting in the refrigerator for days? Chop the other half, too, place it in a re-sealable plastic bag and store in the freezer. Chopped green pepper can be frozen for 2–3 months. Just stir into soups, casseroles, scrambled eggs, anything!
Apples, onion and sauerkraut simmer with juicy pork chops to create a satisfying meal ideal for a cold winter’s night. For authentic German ﬂavor, sprinkle a pinch of caraway seed into the mixture in Step 2.
This recipe proves that pork chops and fruit are made for each other. Variation: To add a little crunch, stir in one 8-ounce can sliced water chestnuts, drained, with the bell pepper and onion.
These pork chops are great with rice, but if you want a change of taste, use chow mein or
fried rice noodles instead. Their crispy texture and savory taste were a good match for the rich, sweet pork. They are also less work because they are ready to use right out of the package. Make sure to serve the dish as soon as you spoon the pork mixture over the noodles so the noodles are still crunchy.
An easy one-pan creation serves up a beautiful main course meal complete with pork chops, stufﬁng and cinnamon baked apples. Try chicken in this recipe instead of the pork chops. Use 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts and follow the recipe above.
If you are a fan of fried chicken (who isn’t?), this recipe is just for you. These chops are full of flavors even though they’re seasoned only with salt and pepper. The trick is to make sure you use plenty of salt and pepper. Simple, but absolutely delicious. For a real holiday feast, serve them for lunch or dinner with lots of sides!
These simple chops are marinated in a Cuban-style mojo sauce composed of orange juice, garlic, cumin, and oregano. Afterward, the pork is grilled and served with sautéed onions and some more of the mojo sauce. For an extra Cuban flair, you can also add pineapple salsa or black beans on the side. If you exclude the time for marinating, this recipe is very quick so, it is perfect for a weeknight meal.
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Serving the Pork Chops
Reserve the juice the pork chops are cooking in and use it to make a sauce or gravy. Let the chops rest for about five minutes before you attack, no matter how difficult it might be to restrain! Combine with potatoes, rice, or a fresh salad on the side.