I subscribe to a handful of cooking/food blogs. One site, The Kitchn, is a big operation. This site has multiple people contributing to it and they pump out a new email every day. These emails go to my inbox for firstname.lastname@example.org. I get so many emails from The Kitchn that I don’t have time to read them all but most of them have pretty engaging titles. The other day I was purusing the subject lines of all of these emails from The Kitchn and one subject line jumped out at me…How to Cook Tender and Juicy Pork Chops in the Oven. In my mind I was already calling BS on this claim but I was intrigued enough to start reading. Here are the opening lines of this article: What if I told you that I could guarantee perfectly cooked, perfectly tender pork chops, every time? Would you believe me? Or have too many dinners of overcooked shoe-leather pork chops turned you off from this easy addition to the weeknight meal rotation? (source credited below). Ha! Amen to that….I mean I don’t even so much as look at pork chops at the grocery anymore. It’s like they are mocking me….hey I’m affordable and fairly healthy but you just can’t get me right! The first paragraph of this article concluded, Let me convince you to try them one more time. Let me convince you to try roasting your pork chops in the oven. Okay, I’ll let you convince me, but I am still skeptical. So a few nights later, I declared it to be TENDER pork chop night! The family looked at me like I was crazy when I said, “Tonight, we are going to eat pork chops and they are going to be good!” (Side note: This preparation also gave me a chance to use my new cast iron skillet which I got for Christmas and have been fired up about). I skimmed through the article which read like a cooking lesson and I saw how this quest for the juicy pork chop may actually come to be…..brining. Yep, brining the pork chops ahead of time. Of course you think about brining a turkey, but do you ever consider brining a smaller cut of meat? Same result…increased tenderness and juiciness! If you aren’t familiar with brining, it is simply soaking the meat in a salt water solution — skip this step if you are in need of a very low sodium diet. In my recipe below I am essentially sharing The Kitchn’s technique for great pork chops and all credit goes to them (the exact article is linked below the recipe). These pork chops are G-O-O-D, I kid you not! Use whatever sauce or seasonings that you like. I whipped up this white wine dijon mustard sauce for Mike and me and it was tasty, or you could just add a store bought bbq sauce to keep it easy. The girls loved the pork chops just plain — they ate every bite! I served them with a side of mashed potatoes and broccoli. Watch out pork chops, you are back in my dinner rotation!
Tender Pork Chops with White Wine Mustard Sauce (Serves 4)
4 pork chops (boneless or bone-in, appx ¾-1 inch thick)
3 Tbsp salt (for brining plus more for seasoning)
optional flavoring for brining: garlic cloves, peppercorns
1 cup dry white wine
3 tsp Dijon mustard
3-4 Tbsp butter
3 Tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
Brine the pork chops (this is optional but I highly recommend it, even if just for a short time). Bring 1 cup water to a boil, add the salt (and optional flavorings if desired) and stir to dissolve the salt. Add two more cups of cold water to bring the temperature of the brine down to room temperature. Place the pork chops in a shallow dish and pour the brine over top. Make sure the pork chops are entirely covered (add a little extra water if need be). Cover the dish and refrigerate for 30 minutes or up to 4 hours.
Preheat the over to 400 degrees. Place cast iron skillet (or any stainless steel or oven-safe skillet) in the oven to preheat.
Remove pork chops from the brine. Pat dry with paper towels. Rub both sides with olive oil and sprinkle with salt (optional if you brine) and pepper.
Using an oven mitt or glove, carefully remove the hot skillet from the oven and place on stovetop over medium high heat. Lay the pork chops in the hot skillet; they will immediately begin to sizzle. Sear for about 3 minutes so that they get a golden crust. Flip the pork chops and transfer skillet back into the oven (you only need to sear the one side on the stove top because the other side will sear in the oven). Tip: I often keep an oven mitt placed over the handle of the hot skillet the entire time it’s on the stove to remind myself that it’s hot (of course don’t forget to take it off after placing it into the oven).
Roast the pork chops until they are cooked through (140 degrees in thickest part of chop) which should take between 6-10 minutes depending on thickness. Check at 6 minutes and then every minute after. Transfer cooked pork chops to plate, cover with foil and let rest for about 5 minutes.
To make sauce, place pan over medium heat and add white wine. Deglaze the skillet getting all of the pork bits and seasoning. Let simmer for approximately 5 minutes to reduce. Take pan off of heat and whisk in butter in small chunks, Dijon mustard and fresh parsley. Season with salt and pepper. Either pour sauce over pork chops or put pork chops back into skillet to coat with sauce.
Source: thekitchn.com, How to Cook Tender and Juicy Pork Chops in the Oven