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Learn how to make Perfect Pork Chops with our easy recipe. You’ll never cook pork chops any other way once you try our fool-proof method.
I used to avoid cooking pork chops – not because I didn’t like the taste of them, but because I could never cook them very well.
Most of the time my pork chops came out dry and tasteless, so rather than disappointing myself or my dinner guests, I steered clear of pork entirely. Then, Jack taught me how to cook Perfect Pork Chops that come out perfectly every time.
This really is the best way to cook pork chops! After a quick sear on both sides in a cast iron skillet, move the pork chops to a rack lined sheet pan and into the hot oven to finish cooking. This simple technique is a trick of the restaurant trade, and it works just as well at home in your own kitchen.
Chef’s Tip – Every home cook should invest in a probe thermometer like this. The absolute best way to tell when meat or poultry is cooked through is by measuring the internal temperature, not relying on cooking time, or cutting into the meat to check (all of the juices will start running out).
Why You’ll Love This Perfect Pork Chops Recipe
- It’s fool-proof! Just follow our easy steps in the recipe below.
- After just ten minutes of hands-on prep, your oven does the rest of the work – so this is an easy dinner recipe for any day of the week.
- The flavors are simply delicious and your chops will come out tender, juicy, and perfectly-cooked through.
Key ingredients and Substitutions
- Pork Chops – Chose bone-in, center cut thick chops 1 ½ to 2-inches thick. You can find these in a supermarket or head to your local butcher for the freshly-cut chops of the best quality.
- Pantry Ingredients – Just use kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to season your pork chops, and a little vegetable oil to fry them in. (Choose a neutral oil with a higher smoke point.)
- For the Sauce – Unsalted butter, fresh garlic, and fresh springs of thyme are all you need to create a simple sauce to spoon over these chops.
Special supplies needed
- Cast iron skillet
- Small sheet tray with rack
- Probe thermometer (we use this one at home) with a remote alarm
- Long handled tongs
- Aluminum foil for resting the pork
Should I brine my pork chops before cooking then?
Some cooks suggest soaking pork chops in a brine before cooking to add moisture to the meat. We recommend that you DO NOT brine your pork chops because it changes the texture and flavor of the meat. (We do, however, think that some other meats such as poultry benefit nicely from a brine before cooking.) If you follow our recipe below, brining should not be necessary for you to cook perfectly-moist and flavorful pork chops for you and your family.
How do I make Perfect Pork Chops?
- Season chops with salt and pepper.
- Sear pork chops in hot skillet.
- Roast in the oven for ten minutes.
- Make sauce by gently cooking butter, garlic and fresh thyme together.
- Add pork chops to sauce and baste for five minutes.
- Let rest on rack with loose piece of foil for ten minutes, then serve with sauce over the top.
Are Pork Chops safe to eat with some pink inside?
Yes! Eating pork with a little bit of pink color in the middle is perfectly safe these days, according to the USDA*.
Back in the olden days, pigs were fed slop, and many people became sick with trichinosis after eating pork. To avoid trichinosis, people were told to cook pork until it was very well done to kill any bacteria – and the results were dry, tough pork chops to eat.
Today, advances in food safety now require pigs that are bred for pork consumption to be grain-fed (similar to cattle raised for beef consumption). It is perfectly safe to eat pork that is still slightly pink – and it will be more moist and delicious too!
*The USDA guidelines now state that pork can be safely consumed when cooked to an internal temperature of 145 degrees F.
Frequently asked Questions
Can I make Perfect Pork Chops ahead of time? No – for best results, pork chops should be cooked right before eating, not made ahead.
How do I store leftovers? Store covered and refrigerated for up to two days.
How do I reheat leftovers? Reheat gently in the oven or microwave, but be careful to only warm through. Avoid overcooking the leftovers.
Can I freeze? Yes, the cooked pork chops can be frozen. Fully thaw before reheating as noted above.
This post originally appeared on A Family Feast in April 2013. We’ve updated the post and recipe to make Perfect Pork Chops even easier to prepare.
You may enjoy these other recipes:
- Perfect Holiday Ham
- Perfect Grilled Burgers
- Perfect French Toast
- Perfect Pan-Seared Scallops (with a Simple Pan Sauce)
- Perfect Pan-Seared Steak
We love seeing what you made! Tag us on Instagram at @afamilyfeast or hashtag #afamilyfeast so we can see your creations!
Perfect Pork Chops
Two 1 1/2 inch bone-in, center cut pork chops
Freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
6 tablespoons butter, divided
3 peeled and smashed garlic cloves
6 or more fresh thyme sprigs
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F
- Line a small sheet tray with foil and place a rack in the tray over the foil. Set aside.
- Pat the pork dry and salt and pepper both sides.
- Heat a cast iron skillet over medium high heat with the vegetable oil until the oil starts to smoke.
- Use tongs and set both chops in place in the hot oil. Do not touch for three minutes.
- Turn each over and do not touch for two minutes.
- Remove the pan from heat and transfer both chops to the prepared sheet tray.
- Place a remote probe thermometer into the thickest part of the thickest chop and place in the oven.
- Set probe to alarm at 135 degrees F. The chops should take about ten minutes to reach 135 degrees F.
- While the chops are cooking, pour the fat out of the skillet and discard but leave the browned bits in the pan.
- Off heat add three tablespoons of the butter, all of the garlic and about half of the thyme. Turn the burner on low.
- Once the pork reaches 135 degrees F, remove from the oven and set them into the skillet and turn the heat to medium.
- Tip the pan and using a spoon, baste the chops on both sides for five minutes.
- Remove the pork chops to the rack, place a single pad of butter on each and cover loosely with foil and let rest ten minutes.
- During this resting time, the chops will reach 145 degrees F which is the safe cooking temperature for pork.
- While the meat is resting, add the remaining butter and remaining thyme to the skillet and stir and cook for a few minutes. Then remove the pan from heat and let it sit.
- Once the pork has rested, pour any liquids into the skillet, strain and serve over each pork chop.
- You may also leave the solids in the sauce and serve with the pork.
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