Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Pork Chops

I'm pretty proud of this whole meal. First off, I made a salad with no lettuce... Exhibit A:

And second off, I made pork chops. Well, pork chop to be more accurate. Cooking for one has its challenges. But hey! I made meat. And I didn't get sick, so I must have properly handled *dangerous* organic matter.

The recipe I used comes from the Kitchn, a great source for cooking knowledge and tips. They suggested even just a 30 minute brine would help make the meat tasty, and they were so right.

Juicy, not overcooked. Just salty enough, but not anywhere near bacon levels. Flavorful, mostly from the pork and with just a hint of garlic and pepper. I'll be making this one again! And I have another pork chop in the freezer, so I can!

The pork is cooked uniquely too, to maximize a caramelized crust and tender inside. You sear the meat on one side in a cast iron skillet (which you have conveniently left inside the oven while it preheats). Then, flip it and immediately put it back in the oven, where the other side will get a golden crust while the meat inside cooks slowly and evenly. It's genius. And it took under an hour.

Genius Pork Chops
Yield: as many as 4 chops

  • 3 cups cold water, divided
  • 3 tablespoons coarse kosher salt (or 2 1/2 tablespoons table salt)
  • Optional flavorings: smashed garlic cloves, black peppercorns, bay leaf
  • 2 to 4 pork chops — The Kitchn suggests center cut, bone-on, 3/4-inch to 1-inch thick (about 1 pound each); I used boneless chops which were a bit thicker and pounded it down a tad to about an inch thick
  • Olive oil
  • Salt
  • Pepper


  1. Brine the chops: Boil 1 cup of the water, stir in salt and flavorings to dissolve and infuse. Stir in 2 cups of cold water, and pour over the meat in a shallow dish. Cover and refrigerate for anywhere from 30 minutes to 4 hours.
  2. Take the chops out of the refrigerator and pull out of the brine. Pat dry with paper towels and rub with olive oil. Sprinkle salt and pepper on both sides, then set aside (on the counter). 
  3. Put a cast iron or otherwise oven-proof skillet in the oven. Preheat to 400 degrees F.
  4. Take the skillet out of the oven, and put it on the stove on medium-high heat. Put the pork chop in and let sear for 3 minutes. Flip with tongs, then place the whole skillet in the oven.
  5. Cook for 6-10 minutes, or until the pork is done to your liking. It's going to rest in step 6, so it will keep cooking. Several places on the internet have metrics of what temperature you want it to be when you take it out of the skillet; the Kitchn recommends taking it out at 140-145 degrees F. I cut it open a bit in the center to check, and took it out when the pink was just gone, around 10 minutes (granted, it was on the thick side).
  6. Remove from the oven, set on a plate, and tent with foil. Let rest for at least 5 minutes, 10 if you can stand it. 
Via the Kitchn.

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