Why It Works
- Cooking the chops first in the oven at a low temperature, then finishing them in a skillet, yields the juiciest, most tender meat.
- With the option of either dry-brining the chops overnight (for the juiciest, more evenly seasoned results), or cooking them right after seasoning (for still great results), you can make this recipe work with your schedule.
Sometimes cooking is a bit of a choose-your-own-adventure, and you have to weigh the benefits of convenience versus quality. I don't mean deciding between putting in the effort to cook something great or accepting that your dinner is going to be mediocre. Instead, I'm talking about more subtle differences: Do you want to invest the time to make a dish the best it can be, or will a quicker but still very good result suffice?
Take these pan-seared pork chops as an example. I styled the recipe on Kenji's basic method for pan-seared pork chops, which requires an overnight dry-brining before cooking the following day. If you have the time and inclination, it's a method that will deliver the juiciest chops with the most even seasoning throughout.
But since a dish like this is often one we want to get on the table relatively quickly, I've also included an option in the recipe to skip the overnight dry-brining. The pork chops will still come out juicy and flavorful.
Whether you do the overnight step or not, the one thing that's constant here is the reverse-sear method, in which we first cook the chops in a low 250°F (120°C) oven until they're nearly done (somewhere around 110 to 120°F/43 to 49°C depending on your doneness preference), then finish them in a ripping hot skillet to brown them and bring them up to their final temperature.
While the chops rest, we whip up a quick pan sauce made with shallots, thyme, and apple cider—tapping into that classic pork-and-apple pairing. Butter helps give the sauce a more luxurious texture, and a tiny amount of apple cider vinegar adds a touch of brightness to balance the sweet and rich flavors.
Just choose your path and enjoy. Simple as that.
4 bone-in pork rib chops (about 2 1/4 pounds total)
4 tablespoons kosher salt
1 tablespoon sugar
Freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
2 tablespoons minced shallot (1 medium shallot)
2 teaspoons minced thyme leaves, divided
3/4 cup apple cider
1/2 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
2 teaspoons minced parsley
Pat pork chops dry with a paper towel. Combine salt and sugar in a small bowl. Season pork chops generously on all sides with salt/sugar mixture (you may have some seasoning mixture left over; reserve for another use or discard). Transfer to a wire rack set in a rimmed baking sheet. If dry-brining chops overnight, refrigerate, uncovered, at least 8 hours and up to 24; otherwise proceed immediately to Step 2.
When ready to cook chops, preheat oven to 250°F (120°C). Season chops with pepper. Place baking sheet with pork chops in oven and cook until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center of the chops registers 100 to 110°F (38 to 43°C) for medium-rare, about 30 minutes, or 110 to 120°F (43 to 49°C) for medium, about 35 minutes. To prevent overcooking, start checking temperature 5 to 10 minutes before suggested time. Remove from oven.
Heat oil in a large stainless steel or cast iron skillet over high heat until smoking. Place pork chops in skillet and cook, turning occasionally, until browned and an instant-read thermometer registers 120 to 130°F (49 to 54°C) for medium-rare or 130 to 140°F (54 to 60°C) for medium, about 3 minutes. Stack pork chops with tongs, hold them on their sides, and sear the fat caps on the edges until crisp, about 1 minute. Remove pan from heat, transfer chops to a clean rack set in a rimmed baking sheet, and let rest for 3 to 5 minutes.
Pour fat from skillet. Add 1 tablespoon butter and melt over medium-high heat. Add shallot and thyme and cook, stirring, until softened, about 2 minutes. Stir apple cider and bring to a simmer. Lower heat to medium and simmer until liquid is slightly reduced, about 4 minutes. Whisk in cider vinegar and remaining 3 tablespoons butter. Remove from heat, season with salt and stir in parsley. Serve chops, spooning sauce on top.
|Nutrition Facts (per serving)|
|Amount per serving|
|% Daily Value*|
|Total Fat 42g||53%|
|Saturated Fat 16g||80%|
|Total Carbohydrate 8g||3%|
|Dietary Fiber 0g||2%|
|Total Sugars 6g|
|Vitamin C 20mg||99%|
|*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.|