By: Julie Miguel, Food Blogger
Pork chops are a great choice for meal time but we tend to shy away from them because they are so easy to overcook! Pork is a very lean white meat, and many of us have a tendency to cook in minutes longer than we should – I have done it many times, myself! It was time to educate myself a little bit and figure out how to put this to an end. So I did some research and tested out the best way to get a perfectly cooked pork chop that is both tender and juicy. And I’m even giving you options! I’m going to show you two ways of achieving the perfect pork chops: 1) Using your BBQ or 2) or a stove-top to oven method.
Before we get to the cooking, here are some tips on getting perfectly cooked pork chops, every time:
Tips for Perfect Pork Chops:
- Always start with a high, quality pork product. For this recipe I’ve used LiberTerre Pork Loin Chop. I always choose LiberTerre Pork because their hogs are Canadian raised without the use of antibiotics and free from added hormones. They are fed a complete vegetarian diet (free from animal by-products), which includes a number of locally grown grains. LiberTerre Pork is also generously marbled, a standard typically reserved for a premium steak. This results in a tender, juicy and flavourful product, every time!
- Choose a thicker cut instead of a thin cut if you are planning to grill or roast your chops. Buying chops that are at least 3/4 to 1 inch thick need more grill time so you are less likely to overcook them. I really like bone-in chops because they cook more evenly and have more flavor than boneless chops.
- Always Brine or marinate your pork chops ahead of time. Brining pork chops, even for a short time, gives you a little defence mechanism if you overcook the chops by a minute or two as the brine will help keep the meat moist. Add the pork chops to a re-sealable plastic bag and pour the marinade on top (marinade recipe below). Seal the bag and refrigerate for 30 minutes or up to 4 hours.
- Take the pork chops out of the refrigerator about 15 minutes before you plan to start cooking. Bringing the meat up to room temperature helps it cook more evenly throughout.
- Always remember to pat the chops dry, after removing them from the brine or marinade, with paper towel, before you cook them so they get that perfect sear on the grill or in the skillet.
- Always season your chops. Rub both sides with olive oil, then sprinkle with salt and pepper. Set the chops aside to warm while the oven or barbecue finishes heating.
- Give those chops a good sear and then transfer them to the oven or to an indirect-heat area on your barbecue to finish cooking. The gentle heat helps control the rate of cooking a little better and also prevents the outside from getting tough and dry before the middle has finished cooking.
- Pork should be cooked until the internal temperature at the thickest part of the meat reaches 160°F.
- Rest your chops. After taking your chops off the grill or out of the oven, transfer them to a separate plate and give the chops a few minutes to rest (approx. 5-8 minutes) so the fibers of the meat relax. This will mean a more tender bite and a juicier piece of meat.
The result is a perfectly cooked pork chop —golden and crusted on the outsid, and perfectly tender and juicy in the middle. Serve these perfect chops with a simple Italian potato salad (recipe below) for an easy and quick weeknight meal.
Pork Chop with Garlic, Basil and Lemon (Two Ways)
Prep time: 25 min (+ mairnating time)
Cook time: 10 min
Total time: 35 min
4 thick-cut, boneless pork loin chops
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup fresh basil leaves
3 large cloves garlic
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon sea salt
¾ teaspoon pepper
1) Grilling Method: Preheat your grill to medium-high heat. While the barbecue heats, remove the chops from the marinade. Discard the marinade and pat the chops dry with paper towels (for that perfect sear). Rub both sides with olive oil, then sprinkle with salt and pepper.
If using a gas barbecue, preheat the burners, then turn off 1 or more of the burners to create a cooler zone. Brush and oil the grill grate.
Place the pork chops on the grill over the direct-heat area and sear, turning once, until nicely grill-marked on both sides, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Move the chops to the indirect-heat area on the grill and cover the grill and cook until the chops are somewhat firm to the touch or until an instant-read thermometer inserted horizontally into the center of a chop, away from the bone, registers 145°F (10-15 minutes).
Transfer the chops to a platter and let rest for 5 to 8 minutes. Serve the pork chops immediately with the Italian potato salad (recipe below).
2) Stove Top / Oven Method: Preheat the oven and the skillet at the same time by positioning a rack in the middle of the oven and placing the skillet in the oven. Preheat to 400°F.
While the oven heats, remove the chops from the marinade. Discard the marinade and pat the chops dry with paper towels. Rub both sides with olive oil, then sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Using oven mitts, carefully remove the hot skillet from the oven and set it over medium-high heat on the stovetop. (Turn on a vent fan or open a window because it will get smokey.)
Lay the pork chops in the hot skillet. You should hear them immediately begin to sizzle. Sear until the undersides of the chops are golden (about 3 minutes). The chops may start to smoke but that means you are getting a good sear. Turn down the heat if the smoke becomes excessive.
Flip the pork chops over to the uncooked side. Immediately transfer the skillet to the oven using oven mitts.
Roast until the pork chops are cooked through and register 145°F in the thickest part of the meat with an instant-read thermometer (About 6 to 10 minutes). Start checking the chops at 6 minutes and continue checking every minute or two until the chops are cooked through.
Transfer the cooked pork chops to a plate and pour any pan juices over the top Let the chops rest for at least 5 minutes before serving. Serve with a simple Italian potato salad (recipe below).
Italian Potato Salad
Prep time: 15 min
Cook time: 10 min
Total time: 25 min
4 red potatoes
1 large tomato
2 cups flat beans
¼ cup red onion, finely chopped
¼ cup basil leaves, finely chopped
3 Tbsp Olive oil
2 Tbsp Red wine vinegar
Salt + Pepper
Fill a medium-sized pot with cold water and add in your potatoes. Bring your water to a boil and cook until the potatoes are cooked through and you can insert a fork into them easily (about 8 to 10 minutes depending on the size of the potatoes). Drain and let the potatoes cool to room temperature and then chop into 1 inch pieces.
Blanch your flat green beans. Let them cool and then cut them into 1.5 inch pieces.
Chop tomatoes into 1 inch pieces and add them to a large bowl. Add your cooled beans and potatoes to the same bowl.
Make the dressing: In a bowl add diced red onion, finely chopped basil, olive oil and vinegar. Whisk together the ingredients and pour the dressing over the tomatoes, potatoes and green beans. Season with salt and pepper and lightly toss. Serve immediately or keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator until ready to serve.