Steak tends to get all the attention when it comes to quick dinners. In our opinion, pork chops are a truly underrated meat and this needs to change. Perfectly seared pork chops are juicy, succulent and full of flavour, and often come with the added bonus of being cheaper compared to the better cuts of beef.
When thinking of sides, it shouldn’t be any different to what you would have with a steak. Mashed potatoes are a classic match, but there's no reason why you can’t team it with any favourite vegetable dish.
How to pan-fry pork chops
Cooking a great pan-fried pork chop doesn’t differ much to cooking regular steak on the stovetop. Treat it like steak - so make sure the pan and oil are hot, season well on both sides before adding to the pan, and cook in the hot oil over medium high heat. You can substitute butter for the oil if you prefer - it will add a depth of flavour that oil won’t. After you add the pork chop to the pan, tilt the pan to scoop up the melted butter or oil to regularly bathe the top side of the meat with the hot fats.
Some recipes call for coating the pork chops with flour which adds a light crunchy coating to the cooked meat. To cook pork chops with flour, place a couple of tablespoons of flour along with salt and pepper to a zip-lock bag, add the pork chop and shake to coat evenly. Pan fry the pork chops as per the usual recipe.
Bone-in or boneless pork chops?
When deciding between bone-in or boneless pork chops, the choice is up to you but thick bone-in pork chops are better for pan frying if you are looking for better, tender, succulent results.
It is easy to overcook meat when it comes to pork. This is because pork is leaner than beef, meaning there is less marbling (i.e. fat distribution) within the meat to keep it tender and moist. Bone-in chops have more fat compared to thin, boneless pork chops and helps prevent the meat from overcooking and drying out.
How long to fry pork chops
Large, 1/4 inch thick, bone-in pork chops will cook in about 7 minutes. To avoid overcooking the meat, cook on one side of the pork for about 5 minutes then turn over and cook the other side until just opaque. Smaller chops will cook in around 5 minutes for both sides.
If you have a meat thermometer, insert it in the middle of your pan-fried pork chops to check for doneness. A tender cooked pork chop should read 135-140F/60C on the thermometer.
For checking without any tools, there is a simple trick for checking for doneness which just involves your fingers. Check out our guide for understanding if your steak is cooked. For pork chops you are looking for medium meat using this test. Any juices from the pork should run clear.
Which pan to use for pork chops
If you have a cast iron skillet, this is the time to whip it out and let it show its full potential. The thickness of the cast iron skillet ensures the heat is distributed evenly all over the pan and therefore it is ideal for cooking thick cuts of meat. It will give the pork chops a golden brown crust while remaining juicy on the inside, a feat easily achieved yet will come highly appreciated.
A good cast iron pan is the gift that keeps on giving. Do look after it well - it’s made to last a lifetime.
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