Thank Heaven for Pork Chops

Pan Roasted Pork Chop

Please do not let this recipe discourage your spirit if you have never brined, pan roasted or cooked a chop in your life. Before this post, I was in the same boat as you. I find that this recipe relies on your kitchen instincts when drying out the chop, browning it and butter basting. When drying proteins, take a paper towel and really press the meat (or blotting it may be a better term) until there is no moisture on the protein. When browning the meat, make sure its golden. It should look beautiful at this point. If it’s not lovely and brown, it’s not done.

Being a curious person, I constantly flip meat to take a peek if it’s browning, and in this recipe it is encouraged! There should be no hesitation when flipping the chop, just flip, flip, flip until it’s stunning. You can flip a pork chop and beef because there is no skin on these proteins, but you wouldn’t want to flip chicken breast with skin or fish, those you must flip only once. Now about butter basting, if you have ever watched a cooking show where the chef tilts the pan toward themselves and spoons melted butter from the bottom of the pan over the protein at a lightning-fast pace, that is butter basting. Fancy terminology, easy execution.

Once you have this technique down, then you will find yourself using the same technique with different proteins like chicken, fish, beef, even vegetables. Have fun with it and make it your own!

Recipe: Adapted From Bon Appétit, January 2013

Serves 2

Note: Make sure when choosing the chop, that it is at least 2-inches thick. Anything thinner, you will risk the chop being too salty. That being said, please do not be tempted to salt the meat whenever you are cooking it. Trust me, you will ruin it.

½ cup kosher salt

½ cup sugar

½ teaspoon of whole black peppercorns

1 head of garlic, halved along its “equator”, plus 2 cloves of unpeeled garlic for basting

4 sprigs of fresh thyme

1 2”-thick bone-in pork chop

2 tablespoons of vegetable oil

3 tablespoons of butter

Fresh black pepper to taste

In a medium saucepan, bring 2 cups of water to a boil and add salt and sugar. Stir until dissolved. Add the peppercorns, garlic and 2 sprigs of fresh thyme to the water mixture. Add 4 cups of ice to the mixture and stir until the ice cubes melt and the water has cooled. Place the pork chop into a gallon-sized Ziploc bag and pour brining mixture over the pork chop. Seal bag and chill in the fridge for 8-12 hours.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees

Set a wire cooling rack onto a roasting tray and set aside.

Remove the chop from the brine and pat dry with paper towels. Make sure that you get the chop as dry as you can, this will help the chop brown nicely. Heat oil in a cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Place the chop into the hot pan and begin browning on each side, flipping about every 2 minutes until both sides are golden brown.

Place the skillet into the oven and continue flipping every 2 minutes (for a total of about 12-14 minutes.) Allow the pork to reach 135 degrees in the center and take out of the oven.

Drain the fat from the pan and place on a medium heat. Add the butter, remaining 2 garlic cloves and 2 sprigs of thyme. Once the butter has melted and becomes foamy, tilt the pan to one side and spoon the melted butter over the chop repeatedly until the butter starts to brown and turns nutty in aroma, 2-3 minutes. Immediately take the skillet off of the flame so that the butter does not burn.

Transfer the chop to the prepared wire rack and let rest for 15 minutes to allow all of the wonderful juices to redistribute evenly. Sprinkle the pork with cracked black pepper. Cut the pork from the bone, slice and serve!