With our busy lives, who is great at planning ahead for weeknight dinners? 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.
If you love pork as much as we do you might want to check out our Instant Pot Baby Back Ribs post.
I love creating posts that help lower the burden of weeknight dinner plans, made honestly easy.
Weeknight dinner plans that are easy for the sake of being easy.
Easy recipes in my house does not mean lesser than or not as good. Actually it all revolves around technique and timing. A little planning never hurt anyone. We will be starting out cooking on the stovetop and oven roasting to pork chop perfection.
Great memories of eating Mom's thin-cut bone-in pork chops, dredged in seasoned flour and pan-fried.
The recipe we are working on today has some great eating points. The pork chop recipe is gluten-free and not deep-fried. The flavor profile is ramped-up with fresh herbs and an easy spice rub.
One thing is for sure when you cook with fresh herbs & 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 inline 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 will know it was worth the time when you and your family start chomping down on perfectly cooked tender moist pork chops.
💭 How To Brine Pork Chops
Let's talk about our simple brine. I want you to think about Sunday fried chicken after church. Probably some of the best memories you have around the dinner table.
Grandma's 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 to add moisture. The meat becomes moister by the process of osmosis. Another reason people started brining meats is to extend the 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) )
📋 Brine Recipe
- 4 cups of water (add water to the same container the pork will end up 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, cool use of salt, right? But works all so well...and the pork will not be salty
- 1 Cup of Sugar
- 1 Tbsp ground Black Pepper
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 2 days as the salt and sugar will start to break down the protein and become too soft and salty.
🧂 The Spice Rub
Ok, the pork has been brining for a minimum of 2 hours or best - one day, now, it's time to move over to phase two, the spice rub.
- 1 Tbsp Fresh Thyme
- 4 cloves of Garlic minced/pasted ( Pasting- Just smash the garlic with your knife, crushing the cellular walls in the garlic, Increased flavor profile doing this ) Run your knife flat over the garlic on a cutting board to paste. You can add some coarse salt to help the pasting process.
- 5 Star Anise (Crush with the bottom of a bowl ) ( If you can't find star anise in the store, just do not use it, no problem)
- 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 he is 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 30 minutes overnight is best. Place inside of a plastic bag.
Photo Of Star Anise
This is so easy people. Set your oven to 225 degrees or the lowest setting. Generally, pork chops will overcook in seconds and the reason for the low temperature of 225 degrees.
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 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 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.
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Tender Pan Seared Pork Chops Recipe
- 4 chops Pork Chops / Works with all cuts _ The cook times will vary
- 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
- ½ cup Sugar
- 12-15 sprigs Fresh Thyme Dried works also, just crush the thyme in your hands first to release the natural oils
- 5 cloves Garlic / minced
- 1 tbsp Black Pepper
- 5-6 cloves Star Anise Lightly crushed (use a plate or bowl
- 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, following completion add the pork chops. Make sure to cover all the pork chops with the brine. Brine overnight, or 2 hours minimum. Afterward, rinse the pork chops off underwater and pat dryChef Tip: You can use a food saver bag/machine, add the brine and pork chops, and vacuum seal removing the extra air. (This is a forced fast marinade/brine technique)
The Spice Rub
- Combine ingredients in a large freezer bag, or large bowl. Be sure to crush the star anise and coriander. The texture of the star anise and coriander will still be large pieces that will be removed once cooked. They will also help season the cooking oil.Marinate the seasoned pork chops in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.
Cooking the Pork Chops
- Preheat your oven to 225 degrees. Make sure the pork chops are dry.
- 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. Clarified butter will work because it does not have milk solids, which is what burns when using butter.
- Before searing the pork chops on the stovetop, 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. IE the star anise and coriander
- Add the pork to the pan, one at a time once hot enough
- 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, each will change the cooking time. I suggest you fare on the side of not cooking the pork chops too long
- 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. (This step helps with the tenderness and moistness)
- Perfect Pork Chop Chef 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 to finish
- Thin pork chops cook in around 70-90 seconds per side on stovetops
- 1-inch+ pork chops complete cooking time is around 10-12 minutes
- The low oven temperature of 225 is to make sure the pork chops do not overcook but have a low temperature to complete cooking in the oven. Restaurant quality cooking tip...
- Brining meats is the key to adding flavor and insurance of moist tender cooked meat