There are a lot of ways to cook pork chops, and unfortunately I can’t cover them in all here. However, I can show one of my absolute favorites, and the one that I think every home cook needs to know – Pan Roasting. A pan roasted pork chop (assuming you use the right techniques) has a great sear on the outside which creates little caramelized bit and pieces that have a ton of flavor. At the s
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Thick Pork Chops
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There are a lot of great cuts of pork, but perhaps the most common (other than bacon) is the pork chop. Over the past several years, the pork council as done a great job marketing the other white mean and I'm seeing chops served across the gambit from the most inexpensive restaurants, up to the Michelin Star places. And there’s a good reason…they are quite tasty, and work really well with a t
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I probably have pork chops at least once a month, and I love them, but similar to chicken, I’m always looking for new twists to make them a bit more exciting. In this recipe video I make a maple glazed pork chop, that takes me back to my New England days. With a rich maple flavor, this sauce lends a sweet and tangy spin to the standard chop.
How to Cook Thick Pork Chops
The days of only being able to buy thin pork chops are over. Just about every grocery store/butcher I go into these days are selling big, honking pork chops, double or triple the thickness of “regular” pork chops.
The great news, is that there are a ton of advantages to thick chops – that’s why nice restaurants have been cooking them for years. Thick chops tend to:
- Stay juicier than thin chops
- Are easier to get to the right doneness or temperature
- Take sauces very well
- And just plain old look awesome
But cooking thicker pork chops requires a few different techniques you need to pay attention too. Below are my general tips and tricks to ensure your pork chop comes out perfect every time.
What is a Thick Pork Chop?
I guess size is in the eye of the beholder. Pork chops are cut from the pork loin, which is attached to the ribs. A chop that is the thickness of one rib, is what I’d call a “regular” or thin pork chop.
What has become increasing popular is a “double cut” (or even triple cut) pork chop which is the thickness of two of the ribs. They are generally 2 – 3 inches thick, and may have one or two rib bones.
How do I cook Thick Pork Chops?
There are several ways you can cook thick cut pork chops. My favorite tend to be:
- Grilling: Is exactly what it sounds like.
- Pan Roasting: Cooking in a pan on the stove top
- Baking/Oven Roasting: Starting in a pan on the stove top, and them moving to the oven
Grilling offers the advantages of easy clean up…as well as the flavor you get from the open flame…and of course cool grill marks.
Cooking in the pan, either the stove top, or oven, gives you a lot of control and most importantly a really easy way to make a sauce with the pan drippings.
How to I cook the best thick Pork Chops?
While there’s a lot of important elements you can learn through the other posts on the site, there are fundamentally four things you need to bear in mind:
Brine your Thicker Chops
I brine just about every pork chop I cook, but it’s especially useful for thick chops. Pork doesn’t have a ton of flavor, so soaking them in a brine for 8 – 24 hours will bring more flavor into the meat. And brines also help ensure that pork chop stays both juice and tender once cooked.
Use both High & Medium Heat to Cook your Thick Pork Chops
Using high heat will help develop a flavorful crust (the maillard reaction) on the outside of the pork chop. It will also render down the fat, into a crispy, tasty, almost bacon like wonder.
So start to cook the thick chop with high heat, searing it on all it’s sides until dark golden brown. Depending on thickness, that will take about anywhere from 5 – 10 minutes.
Once browned, the pork chop will have a great crust, but still be raw in the center, which is no good. So you need to turn down the heat, to continue to cook the pork chop through, without burning the outside.
This holds true whether you’re grilling (where you’d turn the heat down, and close the grill lid) cooking in a pan or in the oven.
Know when the Pork Chop is cooked through
Years ago, all pork had to be cooked to well down (180 degrees F). That’s bad news for pork chops, which are fairly lean, and dry out when cooked that much. These days, pork (at least in the US) is cleaner, with the FD&A saying that medium to med-well is perfectly fine. That’s 140 degrees F.
With experience you’ll be able to just tell when the pork is cooked to 140 by it’s look & feel; but it can be hard pretty hard to judge on thicker pork chops.
So, I suggest you invest in a instant read thermometer. As the pork chop cooks (and you suspect it’s getting close) go ahead and take a measure. If the temp is below, return the chop to the oven/grill for a few minutes (note the temp goes up quickly at this point, so don’t walk too far away). If it’s hit 140 degrees, pull it off the heat, and let the pork chop rest for a few minutes before cutting into it.
Once rested…serve and enjoy!