Here at Everyday Health, we think pork chops get a bad rap. Maybe it has something to do with all the dry, overcooked chops we were served as kids—but it doesn’t have to be that way. Pork chops have the potential to be juicy, tender, and flavorful–really! This oven-baked method will ensure your pork has a delicious crust and a perfectly cooked interior. Just follow these simple rules and prepare yourself to reconsider everything you know about this weeknight-friendly cut. Another sure fire winner? Smothered Pork Chops!
1. Buy them bone-in and thick
Typically, bone-in pork chops are thicker than those with the bone removed. A thin pork chop is difficult to cook perfectly with this method, because of the hard sear you give both sides before it goes in the oven. If a chop is too thin, by the time you’ve seared both sides, the thing is practically overcooked! Choosing a thick chop allows you to get a nice golden sear on both sides and a perfectly cooked tender center. If you end up with thinner pork chops be sure to adjust the cook time. Don’t let it sear quite as long and watch the internal temperature to know when it is done.
2. Season well.
Don’t be too shy with you salt and pepper. Most cuts of meat take more seasoning than you may realize to be properly seasoned. It’s always best to season your pork chop before putting them in the skillet as well. Season both sides and feel free to add more than just salt and pepper. Add a little paprika or cumin for something different!
3. Get your skillet HOT.
The goal of this initial sear is to get a golden, crisp crust on your chop without really cooking the center. A hot pan is CRUCIAL. Let it cook a couple minutes undisturbed, then take a peek and see how that golden crust is forming. When you’re happy with your sear, flip the chop and give it a chance to get golden on the other side.
4. Brush with butter.
Okay, this step isn’t mandatory. It IS extremely delicious though, and if you know what’s good for you, you’ll be brushing this garlic rosemary butter on anything and everything. This classic restaurant trick—basting with butter while cooking—makes a great dish into an even better one.
4. Use a meat thermometer.
I know, I know. This is the extra step that often seems fussy, but trust us, it’s worth it. Using a meat thermometer takes the guess work out of cooking pork chops, and in the words of our girl Martha, that’s “a good thing.” As always, give the meat some time to rest before digging in. (Five to ten minutes should do the trick.)
140°-150° F No pink here! The meat should be completely white all the way through, but you don’t want or need to overcook them. Pork chops at this temperature will still have the potential to be juicy, just be sure to pull them from the oven on the lower end of this spectrum, as the chops will continue to cook even after they’re out of the oven. Anything past 145° F is the danger (AKA dry) zone, so keep a close watch.
Let your pork chops cool down to room temperature before storing in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Your pork chops will stay good for a few days in the fridge. Reheat with a little more butter to help bring back their juiciness!
YIELDS: 4 SERVINGS
PREP TIME: 0 HOURS 10 MINS
TOTAL TIME: 0 HOURS 30 MINS
4 pork loin chops
Freshly ground black pepper
1 tbsp. freshly minced rosemary
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 c. (1 stick) butter, melted
1 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
- Preheat oven to 375°. Season pork chops generously with salt and pepper.
- In a small bowl mix together butter, rosemary, and garlic. Set aside.
- In an oven safe skillet over medium-high heat, heat olive oil then add pork chops. Sear until golden, 4 minutes, flip and cook 4 minutes more. Brush pork chops generously with garlic butter.
- Place skillet in oven and cook until cooked through (145° for medium), 10-12 minutes. Serve with more garlic butter.
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