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Sun Jan 15, 2012, 02:13 AM

cooking pork chops

Hi experts,

i need some advice on how to to safely cook pork chops.

The chops were about an inch thick, seasoned with salt and black pepper and seared with garlic till both sides were dark brown. Then I added some cooked apple chunks and let it simmer for about 20 minutes over low heat.

The flavor was wonderful ... garlic, apples, and pork juices infused. But the chops were really dry - very over-cooked.

How do you get to that goldilocks zone for pork chops: not under-cooked and not over-cooked?

Thanks! :hiya:

21 replies, 8587 views

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Arrow 21 replies Author Time Post
Reply cooking pork chops (Original post)
shireen Jan 2012 OP
Angry Dragon Jan 2012 #1
msanthrope Jan 2012 #2
shireen Jan 2012 #6
msanthrope Jan 2012 #7
Irishonly Jan 2012 #18
Stinky The Clown Jan 2012 #3
Paladin Jan 2012 #4
Stinky The Clown Jan 2012 #9
msanthrope Jan 2012 #11
shireen Jan 2012 #5
Stinky The Clown Jan 2012 #10
Major Nikon Jan 2012 #21
msanthrope Jan 2012 #8
Stinky The Clown Jan 2012 #12
msanthrope Jan 2012 #14
Viva_La_Revolution Jan 2012 #13
Stinky The Clown Jan 2012 #15
Viva_La_Revolution Jan 2012 #16
pipoman Jan 2012 #17
shireen Jan 2012 #19
Major Nikon Jan 2012 #20

Response to shireen (Original post)

Sun Jan 15, 2012, 02:31 AM

1. I start off cooking mine slow, covered

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Response to shireen (Original post)

Sun Jan 15, 2012, 07:10 AM

2. Pork chops are best browned on one side only.

 

It's like fish--don't try to get a good sear on both sides.

Next time, cook like this--

Let meat sit out to take the chill off it. About 30-45 minutes, keeping meat under wax paper.

Use a medium-high heat to quickly sear one side of the meat--that will be the side you will serve 'up.'

Flip to just get the other side barely cooked.

Do your simmer, but make it a little looser--a few tablespoons of water or one of water, one of apple cider.

Only simmer about 5-10 minutes.

Pork cops cook quick.

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Response to msanthrope (Reply #2)

Sun Jan 15, 2012, 11:57 AM

6. thanks ...

- room temperature
- medium heat to sear one side only
- simmer 5-10 minutes (low heat). For thick chops, like 1" - 1.5", would 10 minutes be OK?

thanks!

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Response to shireen (Reply #6)

Sun Jan 15, 2012, 01:23 PM

7. For thick chops, 10 minutes of med/slow simmer after the browning would be fine.

 

Let it rest while you get everything to the table.

Remember, if it's a little underdone in the middle you can throw it back in...you can't undo an overcooked one.

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Response to msanthrope (Reply #2)

Mon Jan 16, 2012, 09:42 PM

18. Thank you

I had almost given up cooking pork chops. I am the picture perfect example of doing it wrong.

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Response to shireen (Original post)

Sun Jan 15, 2012, 10:56 AM

3. When you cook pork chops, treat them the same as you would a steak

Pork may now be cooked to medium, or even below. Personally, I like them at medium, or even medium-well.

What you did was braise them. That method is best for a looooong cooking time. There is a zone bewteen well done and slow-cooked-tender where any meat is tough and dry. It sounds as if your chops were cooked there.

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Response to Stinky The Clown (Reply #3)

Sun Jan 15, 2012, 11:45 AM

4. When Did The Rules Change On Cooking Pork?


"...medium, or even below"? Has trichinosis been wiped out?

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Response to Paladin (Reply #4)

Sun Jan 15, 2012, 01:30 PM

9. Yes, it has been. Here's a link to a Food Network article about it.

http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes-and-cooking/a-few-notes-on-pork-safety/index.html

That came up in a quick google search, but there are hundreds of other hits, too. Even the USDA has been saying this.

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Response to Paladin (Reply #4)

Sun Jan 15, 2012, 01:32 PM

11. Trich is almost unheard of, now, in American-farmed pork.

 

American pork has been bred in recent decades to be something like 1/3 less fatty than 25 years ago...and with the leanness, you need more careful cooking methods.

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Response to Stinky The Clown (Reply #3)

Sun Jan 15, 2012, 11:55 AM

5. how do you tell when it's safely cooked?


Cooking time depends on chops thickness and cooking temperature. Are there any signs to indicate it's done, like clear liquid coming out of it? Or use a meat thermometer?


thanks


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Response to shireen (Reply #5)

Sun Jan 15, 2012, 01:31 PM

10. See my reply to Palladin, right above ^^^

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Response to shireen (Reply #5)

Tue Jan 17, 2012, 03:03 AM

21. Use a meat thermometer

If you don't have an instant read thermometer, I recommend this one:
http://www.thermoworks.com/products/low_cost/rt600c.html

If you have $90 to spend on a thermopen, get one of those, but the one above will work fine.

Pork cooked to 130 degrees is perfectly safe, but will still be pink in the middle which is a bit unsettling to some people. I prefer to cook mine to 140 degrees when grilling 2" pork chops. After you take them off the grill, the internal temperature will continue to rise to about 145 degrees at which point they are perfect, IMO.

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Response to Stinky The Clown (Reply #3)

Sun Jan 15, 2012, 01:29 PM

8. I'm going to respectfully disagree with you, slightly, Stinky.

 

If you have a well-marbled pork chop, you can treat it more like a steak, brown both sides evenly, etc. But most pork chops now (supermarket) tend to be trimmed within an inch of their lives, and are very lean. Those types of chops (especially w/o a bone) dry out when you brown both sides.

I agree with you on the medium/well part--you want the inside to be just-cooked, as opposed to dry, and for that, you need have a very careful hand.

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Response to msanthrope (Reply #8)

Sun Jan 15, 2012, 01:45 PM

12. Well, to make an even finer point of it . . . . .

. . . . I strongly recommend brining pork before cooking. Pretty much *any* pork except maybe shoulders. I make the same recommendation for chicken, by the way.

I brine my pork at room temperature with a very salty brine and water soluble aromatics. Of late, I've been really lazy and just using off the shelf rubs. Make a salty brine and mix in some rub. Put it in a container and put in the chops. Let them brine about an hour and take them out. Pat them nice and dry. Rub them in olive oil, sprinkle some of the same rub on (if you wish), and grill (or pan fry) to no more than medium. I always turn them to brown both sides. Let them rest a few minutes and enjoy. They're juicy and tasty throughout. Were you to not brine them, they would, as you point out, be dryer. That said, I have on occasion done the same thing without brining and they were okay, but not as juicy. The high heat, fast cooking time and low to moderate internal temperature are key.

A word about brining. Most brining is done by soaking in salted water. The key, however, is the salt. You can accomplish almost the same flavor effect without the water. Just rub the meat with a salty dry rub and the flavor will penetrate just as it did with the watery brine. What you lose is the water absorption by the meat. So the method depends on the meat at hand and the desired end result.

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Response to Stinky The Clown (Reply #12)

Sun Jan 15, 2012, 04:48 PM

14. I agree with everything you wrote in this post. If you brine,

 

you can absolutely brown both sides of a pork chop.

I do tend to brine pork, and always brine chicken.....except when I am cheating and buy Kosher chicken--already brined! Empire is Kosher. They sell at Trader Joe's.

I brine chicken in buttermilk for great fried chicken, and in alcohol (like marsala, for turkey) when I am making I other dishes.

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Response to shireen (Original post)

Sun Jan 15, 2012, 03:44 PM

13. My method seems to be the opposite of everyone elses..

First, you get chops with a little fat in them, most of it cooks out of the meat, but it's needed for flavor and tenderness.

Dredge chops in flour and spices, then sear on both sides in a hot buttered pan, very quickly. Add 1/4 inch of water, cover and simmer on low til tender (30 min - 1hr dep. on thickness). uncover for 10 more, to thicken 'gravy'.

It will not be a pretty pork chop, but it will be fork tender and juicy.

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Response to Viva_La_Revolution (Reply #13)

Sun Jan 15, 2012, 05:43 PM

15. That's a classic braise

And they *are* pretty, in a classic braise sort of way.

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Response to Stinky The Clown (Reply #15)

Sun Jan 15, 2012, 09:08 PM

16. huh. I'm a chef, and didn't even know it!



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Response to shireen (Original post)

Mon Jan 16, 2012, 01:22 AM

17. Pork has light and dark meat, sort of like poultry

 

the front chops (even front loin chops) have more dark meat generally, the center and back chops have more white meat. I like the dark meat chops for braising or frying. They can cook to a higher temperature without getting dry. The light meat chops, center cut loin chops, etc. should be cooked by using a meat thermometer unless you are very good at judging temperatures by feel. Light meat chops cooked to 155 will be fully cooked, yet juicy..cooked to 185 they will be dry. Dark meat chops and shoulder steaks can be cooked to 190 and still be juicy. At 190 the dark chops will pull apart very easily with a fork..fork tender, at 180 they will require some cutting, at 165 they will be about the texture of a medium beef sirloin steak. As mentioned above, it is perfectly acceptable to eat pork less done.

The answer to your question, "How do you get to that goldilocks zone for pork chops: not under-cooked and not over-cooked?", a meat thermometer, preferably a decent quality instant read digital. There is just no other way to be consistent in meat cooking.

I use this one, my favorite of those I've tried..

http://www.amazon.com/Cooper-Atkins-40-Waterproof-Thermometer/dp/B000LDE0QQ

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Response to shireen (Original post)

Tue Jan 17, 2012, 01:30 AM

19. thanks, everyone, for your replies

This was very interesting, i learned a lot.



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Response to shireen (Original post)

Tue Jan 17, 2012, 02:58 AM

20. Here's my recipe for pork chops

First of all, I buy my pork chops 2" thick. If the supermarket doesn't have them prepackaged that way, I have the butcher cut them for me and I ask for center cut if possible (from the center of the loin). I usually get them when they are on sale so I'm not too choosy, but if I can get them, I prefer what's known as the pork rib chop. This includes the bone, but not the tenderloin.

I brine my pork chops. I use 1/2 cup of salt and 1/3rd cup of brown sugar disolved in 1 quart of water. Heat the mixture on the stove until everything disolves, then chill the mixture in the fridge. Brine the pork chops for 2 hours. When they are done brining, rinse them off and dry them completely.

Then I take a few sprigs of rosemary, remove the stems, chop finely, and mix with 1/2 cup of vegetable oil. The pork chops get coated with this mixture and I leave them out for a couple of hours to get closer to room temperature.

I grill my pork chops over direct heat for about 3 minutes per side to brown them, then move them to indirect heat and continue cooking until the internal temperature reaches 140 degrees. You really need an instant read thermometer to do this.

So long as you don't overcook them, pork chops made this way will be incredibly juicy and tender and will rival most beef steaks for flavor.

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