I confess…I am not the biggest pork fan especially pork tenderloin or pork chops. I just find that no matter how you cook them, you end up with a dry and tasteless cut of meat. My husband, Jeff, however is a huge fan and truly believes his chops are always awesome. (Not!…but I praise him anyway 🙂 Still, I continually try to find a recipe that will at least appease me enough to have them more than once a month because he loves them so much. Then…..along came Serious Eats and their recipe for Perfect Pan Seared Pork Chops. Could this be the one???
Serious Eats is one of my all-time favorite culinary websites because not only does it have some great recipes, it also gives interesting information on techniques and the food culture in general so I had to give this recipe a try.
Now, in the culinary world there has always been a debate on brining vs. seasoning when it comes to certain cuts of meat, especially pork. Two famous chefs who stand on different sides of this topic are Michael Symon and Mario Batali. Chef Batali is a strong believer in brining in a salt water solution as is my husband. However, Michael Symon prefers seasoning the meat and refrigerating for 24 hours before cooking. This recipe follows Symon’s way of thinking and my husband was quite dismayed at the thought of me going against his technique. Did it work? Read on to find out!
I knew on the get go that my dish would not turn out as pretty as the one pictured simply because my side dishes were very hearty. We had been at the beach for 2 weeks and I must be one of the few people who loses weight on vacation (I walk on the beach so much and eat a lot of fresh seafood and vegetables), and I was starving! Wait until you see my plate! Note: I have since regained the two pounds I had lost probably from the size of my plate from this meal :-)! But my focus was on the chops not the asthetics….I just wanted a hearty southern meal!
Perfect Pan Seared Pork Chops
Note: For once, I followed this recipe exactly as it was written
- 2 bone-in pork rib chops, preferably blade-end, 1 1/2 inches thick (12 to 16 ounces each)
- 2 tablespoons kosher salt
- 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 medium shallot, thinly sliced
- 8 sprigs fresh thyme
Pat pork chops dry with a paper towel. Combine salt and sugar in a small bowl. Season pork chops generously on all sides with salt/sugar mixture. Transfer to a wire rack set in a rimmed baking sheet and refrigerate, uncovered, at least 8 hours and up to 24.
The next day, preheat oven to 250°F. Place baking sheet with pork chops in oven.
Cook until an instant read thermometer inserted into the center of the chops registers 100 to 110°F on for medium-rare, about 30 minutes, or 110 to 120°F for medium, about 35 minutes. To prevent overcooking, start checking temperature 5 to 10 minutes before suggested time. Remove from oven.
Heat oil in a large stainless steel or cast iron skillet over high heat heat until smoking. Place pork chops in skillet and cook, turning occasionally, until starting to brown, about 1 1/2 minutes.
Add butter, shallots, and thyme to skillet.
Continue cooking, spooning shallots and thyme on top of chops and basting with butter until golden brown on both sides and well-crusted, about 2 minutes longer.
Stack pork chops with tongs, hold them on their sides, and sear the fat caps on the edges until crisp, about a minute.
Remove pan from heat, transfer chops to a clean rack set in a rimmed baking sheet, and let rest for 3 to 5 minutess
Just before serving, reheat dripping in pan until smoking. Pour hot drippings over chops. They should sizzle and crisp a bit. Serve immediately.
Bottom Line: Now the good news first…Juiciest and most flavorful chop I have ever had and I actually am looking forward to trying it again! Bad news…The cast iron skillet had to be very hot to get that perfect sear on the chop which was….well, perfect! However, it made the shallots burn and left the pork with a very bitter taste. Next time, I plan on putting thyme bundles over the chops when they are baking then searing the chops in butter. I will make a shallot gravy while the chops are resting….the perfect remedy to an excellent cooking method!