With our busy lives, who is great at planning ahead for a weeknight dinner? Tender Pan-Seared Pork Chops is a great recipe and technique to add to your weekly menu. We’ll cover a few options below to take this easy recipe over the top. #supersimple
I love creating posts that help lower the burden of weeknight dinner plans, made honestly easy.
Weeknight dinner plans that is easy for the sake of being easy. Additionally needs to be a better or even best option, and delicious, or what’s the point ~ Iron Chef Michael Simmon
Tender Pan-Seared Pork Chops reminds me of growing up and eating Mom’s cooking.
The days of thin-cut pork chops dredged in seasoned flour and pan-fried. I bet you’re like me and loved eating away at the bone where all the flavor was. As great as this all sounds a classic dish is a classic for good reason.
The recipe we are working on today has some great eating points. Our pork chop recipe is gluten-free and not deep-fried. The flavor profile is ramped-up with fresh herbs and a spice rub. When cooking with fresh herbs and quality spices, whatever you’re cooking is on a one-way ticket to flavor town.
The Weeknight Plan Ahead Factor
Maybe a bit obvious, but the process of prepping the day before lends itself to a much more flavorful tender moist pork chop. Allowing the pork chops to brine & marinate creating what is really in line with a restaurant-quality dish.
Here’s the best part. You don’t have to brine or marinate the pork chops to create a great pork chop. The make-ahead options only allow for better use of the time, allowing them to hang out in the refrigerator and gain flavor and moisture. You’ll know it was worth the time when you and your family start chomping down on moist perfectly cooked pork chops.
To Brine Pork Chops, or NOT
Let’s talk about the simple brine now. I want you to think about Sunday fried chicken after church. Probably some of the best memories you have eating fried chicken.
Would you like to hear the untold magical secret to the best country fried chicken? The answer is, they brine the chicken overnight. in simple salt, sometimes plus sugar. #grandmasfriedchicken
A simple mixture of equal parts sugar and salt does something you could say is nothing short of a food miracle. The main reason you would want to brine anything is the added moisture the meat is given through the process of osmosis. Another reason people started brining meats is the extended shelf life of the meat] When meats are submerged in a liquid such as water /salt/sugar it creates the perfect seal around the food protecting it from the air and from denaturing. Hence the longer shelf life.
Foods That Get Brined:
- Beef ( Corned Beef & Pastrami are both created from brining for a minimum of one week in water, spices, and tinted curing mixture (Pink Salt) )
- Many more…
Todays Tender Juicy Seared Pork Chops brine recipe is as follows:
- 4 cups of water ( add water to the container the pork will live inside the refrigerator )
- 12-15 Sprigs of Fresh Thyme, Dried works also, just crush the thyme in your hands first to release the natural oils
- 5 Garlic Cloves minced
- 1 Cup of Salt ( The salt is really the main ingredient that creates the additional moisture in the pork, crazy right? But works all so well…and the pork will not be salty
- 1 Cup of Sugar
- 1 Tbsp whole Black Peppercorns, groundworks, use 1/2 Tbsp
Side Note- The Brine: You could bring the brine water to a boil then turn it off then add your brine ingredients, then cool it down over an ice bath. This step is not required this time, the reason is the pork will have enough time to absorb the flavors. Yet, bringing it to a boil does offer a stronger brine flavor.
Allow the pork to sit overnight and let the brine do its magic. Do not store for more than 5 days as the salt and sugar will start to break down the protein and become too soft. Up until day 5, the brine is tenderizing your meat. Score! 🙂
The Spice Rub :
Ok, the pork has been brining for one day, now, it’s time to move the pork on over to phase two, the spice rub.
Remove the pork from the brine, rinse off under cold water, and pat dry.
Tender Juicy Seared Pork Chops Spice Rub Ingredients:
- 1 Tbsp Fresh Thyme
- 3 cloves of Garlic minced/pasted ( Pasting- Just smash the garlic flat with your knife to crush the cellular walls in the garlic, Increased flavor profile doing this )
- 5 Star Anise ( Crush with the bottom of a bowl ) ( If you can’t find it, just do not use it)
- 1 Tbsp Coriander Seeds ( Crush with the Star Anise )
- 1 Tbsp Paprika
- 1 Tbsp Chili Powder
The flavor is going to be heavenly. I was really impressed the first time I made this. I got the marinate idea from Chef Gordon Ramsey. ( He’s really not as mean as people think due to the show Hells Kitchen, he’s a strong family man. and former professional soccer star from the UK )
Add the “patted dry pork” to the spice rub then into the refrigerator for at least one hour, overnight is best. Place inside of a plastic bag.
Cooking The Tender Pan-Seared Pork Chops
This is so easy people. Set your oven to 200 degrees or the lowest setting. Generally, pork chops overcook in seconds, and the reason for the low temperature of 200 degrees.
On the stovetop, heat a pan to medium-high heat, closer to medium heat. Add olive oil to the pan ( 3-4 Tbsp) (I like cast iron here, helps achieve a better crust). Don’t just use butter, it will burn. The milk solids in the butter want to burn at high temperatures. You could use clarified butter. The second option is once the pork chops come out of the oven you could add butter to the pan and baste the pork with the yummy butter.
Note: Remove as much of the spice rub leftover pieces as you can from the pork chops so they will not burn in the pan.
Add the pork to the pan, one at a time. Every piece you add to the pan causes the heat from the pan to drop. Add each piece of pork chop about 10-15 seconds apart.
Sear one side, about 2 minutes then flip them over and start basing the pork chops with a spoon covering the pork chops with the olive oil already in the pan.
After both sides are seared, then place the pork chops into the oven for 6 to 12 minutes or until you hit 140 internal temperature. The timing will vary depending on how thick the pork chops you purchased. Thick, thin, bone-in, bone-out, each makes a difference on cook time.
Once out of the oven, remove the pork chops from the cooking tray or pan and rest the pork for 3 minutes covered with aluminum foil.
Tender Pan Seared Pork Chops
- 4 cups Water
- 1 cup Salt ( The salt is really the main ingredient that creates the additional moisture in the pork crazy right? But works all so well…and the pork will not be salty
- 1/2 cup Sugar
- 12-15 Sprigs of Fresh Thyme Dried works also, just crush the thyme in your hands first to release the natural oils
- 5 Garlic Cloves minced
- 1 tbsp Whole Black Peppercorns ground pepper works too
- 5-6 cloves Star Anise Lightly crushed (use a plate)
- 4 sprigs Fresh Thyme
- 4 cloves Garlic Chopped
- 1 tsp Paprika
- 2 tsp Chili Powder
- 3 tbsp Olive Oil
- 1 tsp Coriander Seed Lightly crushed (use a plate)
Preparing The Pork Chops
- Combine the "Brine" ingredients in a bowl and add the pork chops. Make sure to cover with the brine. Brine overnight, or 2 hours minimum. Afterward, rinse the pork chops off underwater and pat dry
- The Spice Rub: Combine ingredients in a large freezer bag, or large bowl. Be sure to crush the star anise and coriander. Then add the pork chops and marinate in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.
Cooking the Pork:
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Make sure the pork chops are dry. Pat the pork chops dry right before adding to the hot pan.
- On the stovetop, heat a pan to medium-high heat, closer to medium heat. Add olive oil to the pan ( 4-5 Tbsp) (I like cast iron here, helps achieve a better crust). Don’t just use butter, it will burn. The milk solids in the butter want to burn at high temperatures. You could use clarified butter. The second option is once the pork chops come out of the oven (TIP: remove from the oven a few minutes before the timer goes off) then add butter to the pan and baste the pork with the yummy butter using a spoon.
- Before Searing the Pork Chops: Remove as much of the spice rub marinate leftover pieces as you can from the pork chops so they will not burn in the pan.
- Add the pork to the pan, one at a time.
- Sear one side, about 1 minute a side (will depend on how thick your pork chops are, could be 2 minutes a side) then flip them over and start basing the pork chops with a spoon covering the pork chops with the olive oil already in the pan. Add more olive oil if desired.
- After both sides are seared place the pork into the oven for about 10 minutes or until you hit 140 internal temperature. The timing will vary depending on the thickness of the pork chops. Thick, thin, bone-in, bone-out, you know?
- Once out of the oven, remove the pork chops from the cooking tray or pan and rest the pork for 3 minutes covered with aluminum foil.