I really should have titled this post “Things I learnt In My Therapist’s Office”, but I am as certain as I can be that 99% of the things I learn in my Therapist’s office are of zero interest to anyone but me; oh, and my long-suffering Therapist. I say long-suffering, but he’ll sure miss me when he’s finished fixing me. I can be highly entertaining when I circle myself into some ridiculously non-sensical argument. He’ll also miss the generous amounts of sass I serve up on a weekly basis. I’ll definitely miss having someone hold my feet to the fire, and forcing me – ahem, I mean encouraging me – to view things in a different way. I’ve learned a lot, in therapy. I wouldn’t be here today if it wasn’t for my Therapist. I also wouldn’t know how to cook a pork chop.
One of the things I learned in my Therapists’s office a few weeks ago, however, is something that apparently a lot of you are very interested in learning too, and that’s how to cook a pork chop. I must have shown up way early that day because I had enough time to read some crazy scientific paper on the science of cooking a pork chop to retain maximum juiciness. Nope, I am not kidding you. It was like 7 pages of graphs and charts and data analysis and other scientific gobbledygook. I suspect that you don’t have the time – or the inclination – to read 7 pages of pork chop geekery, so I am going to boil it all down into just 6 words for you. There’s just 6 sweet little words between you and pork chop perfection.
But before I do, let me just say THANK YOU, Mr. Therapist, for putting up with my BS for over 6 long years, for telling me when I am being ridiculous, for being one of my biggest cheerleaders, for only calling the EMTs on me once, and for teaching me many, many, many important things. Including how to cook a pork chop. Eddie, you’re awesome.THAT, is a perfect pork chop, people. Perfectly cooked, perfectly juicy, perfectly perfect. So what’s the 6 word secret?
Do not heat the pan first.
Or, put another way:
Start with a stone cold pan.
That’s it. THAT, ladies, gentlemen is the secret to pork chop nirvana. A cold pan.
I had to try it out because it sounds so absurd, but also because I really want juicy pork chops for the rest of my life. So I got my cold chops, slapped them in a cold, dry pan, put them on the cold stove, and then whacked the heat up.
And then I watched. I seared them with a spatula. I turned them over. I seared them with a spatula.
Then I peered warily into the pan, my forehead wrinkled with worry when I saw that the pan was completely dry. And I do mean COMPLETELY. I became convinced I was going to have the driest pork chops EVER. UGH.
Then I turned them over. Then, when they were golden brown, I slid them onto the waiting plate, because despite not pre-heating the pan or using oil, they did not take any longer to cook than the way I had always cooked them before. Which is both impossible, totally weird, and completely awesome, all at the same time.
Then I ate them.
Want to know why the pan was completely dry while they were cooking? Because all of those divine porky juices were sloshing around inside the chops. True story.
I have no clue why or how this worked. I don’t care. It does; I have done it
7 8 9 10 11…….67 times.
Now, hurry up over to your stove and getting cooking, now you know how to cook a pork chop. Chop, chop!
PS. No, these were not fancy schmancy organic, grass-raised pork chops from rainbow-grunting pigs fed on truffles and warm milk, and housed in heated apartments with running water and duck-down mattresses. These were regular pork chops from the grocery store. Actually they were really cheap regular pork chops from the grocery store. I’m thinking that if this technique makes the beaten-up old Honda of pork chops taste like this, I am not sure I could handle a Rolls Royce pork chop cooked the same way.
The recipe is right here: Best pork chops you’ve ever eaten
SigiUm, call me ignorant, but what do you mean by “sear them with a spatula”? Use a fiery hot spatula and press down on them? I iz confuzed.
carrieHi Sigi – searing means to press down firmly on the chop. The spatula does not neeed to be hot. Hope that helps!
WendyThese are the BEST & JUCIEST chops ever! I usually shy away from cooking them because I hate looking forward to eating a great chop and end up eating a dry, tough result. Not the case at all with these. Thank you so much…the fam loved them!
carrieWendy – this makes me SOOOOOOOOOO happy!!!!!! :-D
EllenSO glad SIGI asked about the searing with a spatula part. I was confused. Cant’ wait for these to get done!
carrieEllen – let us know how you liked them!
ellenCarrie, these were the juciest pork chops I have ever eaten!! Initially I was afraid that I had undercooked them, but the cooking time was about 12 – 14 minutes total, and the chops weren’t as thick as the ones you used. I was afraid they wouldn’t be tasty since I didn’t season them – but the final result was incredible. Who needs salt & pepper when you can taste the natural flavor of pork deliciousness?
carrieEllen – your comment makes me so happy!! Pork chops rule :-)
StephanieWhen you push them down with the spatula, doesn’t that squeeze out all the meat’s juices?
carrieHi Stephanie, it does not. The pan remains dry the whole time.
PaulaWhat kind of pan do you use? Can’t wait to try. I never cook pork chops cause they never turn out right.
carrieHi Paula – I have used all 3 of my frying pans to test this and it worked perfectly every time. Use whatever frying / saute pan you have!! Hope that helps!
NickSounds good. Do you think this cold pan idea would work well for chicken breast?
carrieNick – I do not know, but I am going to try this technique on other meats to see if it is just a pork thing. Look for updates!
BeverlyTrying this method for dinner tonight.
carrieLet us know how you liked them, Beverly!
BeverlyThey were great. Even my husband liked them he usually complains that my pork chops are too dry. No complaints this time. Thanks for the recipe.
carrieNo more dry pork chops, Beverly! YAY!
Margaret HOh My, I am eternally grateful for this tutorial! The pork chops turned out just like you said they would although I had to cook my “mother of all” pork chops for much longer. I paired them with your Leek & Cauliflower risotto (yumminess) and yes, red wine (for the pork chop cooking anxiety) …meal perfection!
carrieMargaret – that you can now enjoy fantastic pork chops makes me so happy!!!
TerezHi Carrie. These are not turning out quite as expected for me.
The first time I used a cast-iron skillet. I went a little higher than medium heat (using a gas flame).
At the first 3-minute point everything was still totally raw and the skillet wasn’t hot yet. So I gave it a couple more minutes before turning. Then I stuck to 3-minutes when I turned it, then 2 and 2, then 1 and 1.
Cooked them only a little longer and they weren’t as brown as your photo but I was worried about overcooking them so I pulled them off before they got much color. While I wouldn’t go on and on about them being juicy, they were not dry. And they didn’t have the looks I was expecting.
Today I tried again with just one pork chop in a small All Clad stainless steel skillet. I used a medium heat this time (not the medium-high that I used with the cast iron) and I followed your timing exactly (three minutes for the first two timings, then two, then one minute).
There was nothing more than a slight change from totally raw to almost entirely raw with the first turn.
I had to do the one-minute turnings a LOT of times. Finally they didn’t get as brown as I’d like but they were getting overcooked so I pulled them off.
The “medium” today was at 7.5 on the dial, which is “med-high” based on the number but it wasn’t a very large flame so I’m calling it medium.
Was my heat too low? Was my kitchen too cold, so that the pan was colder than yours starting out?
Are you using a gas range or electric? If gas, could you show a photo of a pan on “medium” and what that looks like to you?
JanMy question also is what kind of skillet did you use? I normally use a cast iron pan so I think Terez is right it isn’t going to heat up the same. Also I use gas and med. may be different on every stove.
Top 10 SANE Recipes 2013 » Carrie Brown | Life in the SANE lane[…] How To Cook A Pork Chop […]
Lisa GosweilerI so enjoy reading your recipes and commentary – almost as much as the podcasts. I remembered hearing you talk about pork chops somewhere so I was happy to see this recipe – my chops are dethawing as I type. I was going to saute but hopefully this works out better. My son informed me last week he doesn’t like pork because it is too dry. I had no response for that!! I will post the results. Also are you coming out with a main dish cookbook? The other three are on their way to our humble abode, but a main dish one would be awesome for the future!! I made the protein bars today – 12 hours of drying was not on plan so I should have read all the directions first – but frankly they tasted fine even without the drying and I am glad I doubled the recipe. by the time I finish turning them however I suspect a good 1/4 will be gone in our house!! I added sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds to the almonds and I rough chopped them all in my Ninja. I also was unsure of how to measure the protein powder – mine is very light – and I would probably have needed two canisters to make 22g. I put in about 2 cups and hoped for the best. I am not good at all these conversions and the scale doesn’t seem to work great for me for light powdered stuff – any ideas how to get the amounts right for that? Besides becoming better at Math conversions…
carrieLisa – yes main dish cookbook is in the works! THANK YOU for support of my other 3. GO, juicy pork chops! Amount of protein powder is not super important in this recipe as long as there is enough to make the mixture workable.
No-Egg KatiCarrie, I have made this 4 times, all with superb results. Thank you for solving the mystery of perfectly cooked pig. My husband decided to cook dinner one night, and per the usual rule for everything else EXCEPT pork chops, he melted some coconut oil and threw them in. I nearly had a conniption, and then I forbade him from doing such an atrocity ever again!! It was pork chop heresy!
JustinCrrie, this post looks so exciting and enticing I could not resist trying it. I love your writing. Unfortunately I got exactly what I expected, raw and undercooked pork. However, because of the overwhelmingly positive feedback from everyone else, I am going to assume it was me. I used a medium iron skillet. I thawed 5 pork chops of medium-sized (about a palm) and 1″ thick in the microwave. Then I followed your instructions EXACTLY. (I even noticed a drop of moisture on the skillet and dried it before beginning the procedure.) Now, my stove is electric, so perhaps medium heat does not mean what it means at your house. but in the van the following everything precisely and exactly as you wrote it, I put it on medium. After the first three minutes, what happened was exactly what I expected. Nothing. So then I hoped that the second three minutes on the other side would bear some type of searing. Again. Nothing. I then continued to have the faith for the 2 minute sessions. Which again unfortunately also left the pork raw on both sides. I am willing to try this again, but I am going to need some serious coaching and confidence. Thank you for your efforts at giving us the perfect pork chop, but I must now go in search elsewhere to see what I can find.
JenniferI have NEVER been able to cook porkchops so when I saw this post I was like well here goes nothing!!! Thank you so much for sharing this!! I could not believe how juicy my porkchops were!! Followed your directions exactly and I will never try a different method again!!
carrieHurrah, Jennifer! Hurrah for cold pans and juicy pork chops!
Episode 16 - Pork chops - Ketovangelist Kitchen[…] Get the written instructions here: How To Cook A Pork Chop! […]
Minta HaleTonight’s pork chops cooked according to Carrie were PERFECT! I used a cast iron skillet and added a bit of butter for the last 2 minutes. They were so good!
carrieYESSSSSSSSSSSS! Minta so glad you loved them!
How To Cook Pork Chops » The Real Carrie Brown[…] the story behind How To Cook Pork Chops, have a good giggle, and then come back for the recipe so you, too, can have the juiciest pork […]
MarthaCan’t wait to try them this way. Thanks for posting this.
Sous Vide Pork Chops – Keto With Kynda[…] If you aren’t into the sous vide method, you can find Carrie Brown’s synopsis on how to cook the perfect pork chop here. […]
Susan UlrichYou’ve made a convert! I was amazed, but this truly works. Even though I didn’t truly follow directions. I used my trusty teflon pan that lives on my stove because it does 90% of my cooking. I also wasn’t very good with the timing at first. However,these were the best pork chops I’ve had in a long while! Thanks!! I also was surprised at the term searing….I thought the pan did the searing, this was a revelation.