I love pork chops, but they’re one of those foods where it’s easy to get it wrong. If you cook them too long or don’t check them often enough, they can come out dry and tough—and nobody wants that! Pork chops are also a great way to use up the rest of your vegetables from the fridge. And if you’re looking for some inspiration, these recipes will show you how easy it is to make a delicious meal with just a few ingredients:
The pork chops I’m cooking are thick, but not super-thick.
For thick pork chops, the recommended internal temperature is 145 F. For medium-thick pork chops, it’s 160 F. For thin cuts of meat like chicken breasts or steaks (which tend to be cooked more quickly than roasts), you can go as high as 175 F before pulling them off the heat.
For this recipe I’m using thick boneless center-cut chops that are about 1/2 inch thick each–perfect for searing in a pan then braising in liquid until tender enough to fall apart with your fork. Because these are not super-thick (and because we don’t want them falling apart while cooking), I’ll be aiming for an internal temperature of 160 F throughout their entire cooking time:
I usually cook pork chops at 400 F for 15 minutes per side.
- 400 F is a good temperature for cooking pork chops.
- The cooking time depends on the thickness of the pork chop. For example, a 1-inch thick pork chop will take about 15 minutes to cook in a 400 F oven. If you’re using bone-in chops, they may take longer to cook than boneless ones because they have more fat and connective tissue that needs to soften before they can be eaten.
- When cooking any cut of meat–including pork–it’s important not to overcook it! Pork should be cooked until an internal temperature reaches 145 F (60 C) at its thickest point; if you don’t know what this is before putting it into your oven, use an instant-read thermometer like this one from Taylor Digital Products Incorporated or another brand with similar specs: https://www..com/product/taylor-digital-products-incorporated/.
Cooking time is important with any meat, so be sure to check your meat early and often.
- Cooking time is important with any meat, so be sure to check your meat early and often.
- Don’t overcook it! You don’t want to dry out the pork chops by cooking them too long. If you’re unsure of your timing, err on the side of undercooking rather than overcooking.
- Don’t let it sit on the counter while you’re cooking other things! This will allow bacteria in from raw meat or eggs (if used) that can cause food poisoning in some people.
When you get your chops home, immediately put them in the refrigerator (or freezer) until you’re ready to cook them.
Once you’ve purchased the pork chops, immediately put them in the refrigerator (or freezer). Don’t leave them on the countertop, as they will spoil faster than if you refrigerate them immediately. Don’t leave them in your car, either–the temperature is too warm and it can be a breeding ground for bacteria. And don’t even think about putting them in a cooler; again, it’s too warm!
If you don’t have time to cook right away, freeze them instead of keeping them in the fridge.
If you don’t have time to cook right away, freeze them instead of keeping them in the fridge. Don’t put pork chops in the freezer for too long, or they will become dry and tough. On the other hand, if you don’t freeze your pork chops at all and just leave them sitting on your countertop for days at a time (which is actually what many people do), then they’ll become mushy.
Make sure your pan is hot enough before putting the chops on it, as this will help sear them better and keep them juicy inside.
When you’re cooking pork chops, it’s important to have the pan hot enough before adding them to it. This will help sear them better and keep them juicy inside. If you don’t have a cast iron skillet, then make sure that you preheat your regular frying pan on high heat for at least five minutes before adding any oil or butter.
If you use too much oil or butter in this step, then this will only end up making your pork chops greasy instead of crispy on the outside with a tender center.
Your pork chop recipe should include a few minutes of resting before serving so that juices don’t run out while they’re sitting on the plate.
- Resting time will allow the juices to settle. When you take a pork chop off of the grill or out of the oven, it will be very hot. If you serve it right away, those juices will run out and make your meat dry and tough.
- Resting allows for reabsorption of those juices into the meat so that when you bite into your pork chop, it will be tender and juicy!
If you’ve never cooked pork chops before, don’t be afraid. They’re a simple dish that can be made even easier by following these tips. You’ll find yourself enjoying them more often than ever before!