Monday, January 23, 2012

Monday Meal: Thick-cut Pork Chops

Posted By on January 23, 2012, 10:15 AM

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For a simple weekday meal, it's hard to beat pan-seared pork chops as the centerpiece. By following a couple of easy techniques, you'll be guaranteed perfect plump and juicy chops every time. ---

The key to cooking delicious, thick-cut pork chops that are juicy and tender is to follow two basic steps. First, brine the chops. Second -- and this might seem unusual -- we're going to cook the pork chops in the oven prior to searing them on the stove. Here's how to do it:

Ingredients:

4 thick-cut (about 10-12 oz.) bone-in or boneless pork rib loin chops

Salt and pepper to taste

Kosher salt for brining

2 Tbs. canola oil

Technique:

Begin by preparing a basic brine: Combine 1 quart cold water with 1/2 cup kosher salt and 1/2 cup sugar per one pound of meat. Mix together until the salt and sugar dissolves. (Tip: If you have trouble getting the sugar and salt to dissolve, begin with hot water and let the brine cool in the fridge before using.)

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Brine the pork in the refrigerator for about an hour per pound, but not more than eight hours.

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Preheat an oven to 275 degrees F.

Remove the pork chops from the brine, rinse with cold water and pat dry with paper towels. Place the chops on a baking sheet with a wire rack and allow them to come to room temperature, for about 45 minutes.

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Sprinkle the chops with salt and pepper to taste, and place them in the warm oven.

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Allow the chops to cook in the oven until the internal temperature reaches 125 degrees on an instant-read thermometer (30 to 45 minutes, depending on the thickness of the chops). Remove the chops from the oven.

Heat the canola oil in a large skillet over high heat until the oil begins to smoke.

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Sear the chops until well-browned, 2-3 minutes on each side.

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Be sure to also sear the sides of the chops to help seal the exterior of the meat and form a crispy crust.

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When the chops are well-browned, the internal temperature should be about 140-145 degrees.

Remove the chops to a plate or platter and cover with foil for about five minutes. The temperature will continue to increase, to about 150 degrees.

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Serve the pan-seared pork chops as-is, or with a simple pan sauce.

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