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Pork Chops


helenas
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I'm glad to see this topic, because I have a question: I've only had pork chops maybe three or four times in my life, and I've always been disappointed: bland, sometimes dry, always boring. Nothing like what you get from good pork shoulder (in stew, carnitas, or, of course, barbecue). So what am I missing? What should I look for?

Edited by Andrew Fenton (log)
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I'm glad to see this topic, because I have a question: I've only had pork chops maybe three or four times in my life, and I've always been disappointed: bland, sometimes dry, always boring.  Nothing like what you get from good pork shoulder (in stew, carnitas, or, of course, barbecue).  So what am I missing?  What should I look for?

Brining, as some other's have suggested. Interesting that most supermarket pork these days is of that ultra-lean variety, and I do believe than in breeding for this ultra-lean characteristic, much of the flavor has been lost (remember, fat is flavor) and they compensate by injecting with some sort of solution of something (saline?).

Get good pork from a butcher, one who is buying something other than the lean, over-bred variety.

Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"
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One of my favorite way to cook pork chops (and I love pork chops any way!) is to stuff them with a mixture of :

1 cup marie callendar's cheese and garlic croutons (but you can use any kind you like)

2 Tbsp. dried minced onion

a bunch of chili powder

Melted butter to mix it all together

Stuff that into the chops, close with wooden toothpicks

Melt a jar of apple jelly in a pan and mix with lemon juice....to your taste, but I usually use the juice from one or two lemons.

Then I grill the chops, basting them with the apple jelly/lemon juice mixture. Best cooked indirect method, turning about every 10-15 min if they're really thick. The basting mixture sort of caramelizes on it....yummy! The stuffing recipe originally calls for chopped peanuts in it too, but I tried it once and didnt' care for it.

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I just want to clarify the statement about "pink is your friend"--I'd rather say that an instant-read thermometer is your friend. The "recommended" temperature for pork is usually 160, but today's leaner pork can be cooked to lower temperatures because of better farming practices. If there were any trichinosis present, and there is virtually no chance of that anymore, it would be killed when the pork reached 137 degrees. I've seen recommendations for cooking pork to 140, which just passes this 137 threshold. That would give you something a little on the rare side, which is unappetizing to some. Just remember that the meat will continue cooking for a few minutes after it is removed from the heat and the temperature will rise about 5 more degrees.

As for brining, it will definitely help any problem with overcooking. I once had to leave some chops on the grill for much longer than I would have liked, and the internal temperature was about 190-200--extremely well done. (Luckily not burnt--a closed-lid on the Weber) The chops were still juicy and flavorful--I am serious here.

My mom had a wonderfully easy way to make pork chops. Just spread with your favorite mustard (she usually used a coarse grain 'moutard de meaux'' or dijon. and broil or grill. Mmmmmm.

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When you say you are "coming into a lot of pork chops" I'm just curious, is this your inheritance?

"Homer, he's out of control. He gave me a bad review. So my friend put a horse head on the bed. He ate the head and gave it a bad review! True Story." Luigi, The Simpsons

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This pork with whisky sauce and warm cabbage recipe got me on a televised cooking contest, but I made the sauce in a youth hostel kitchen once, and cabbage is indestructable, so it can't be too hard. I don't have the precise recipe any more, but you can pretty much do the whole thing by taste and personal preference.

Slice up half a head of red cabbage, add a sliced granny smith or two and a sliced red onion, throw them in a pot with a cup of decent beef stock, a quarter cup of cheap balsamic, maybe a splash of cider, salt, and enough sugar so that you know it's there but nobody else notices. Think warm cole slaw, only richer. Cook on medium, taste incessantly and adjust flavoring as you see fit, and cook until most of the liquid evaporates or is absorbed. It will take about 45 minutes, but the stuff doesn't get mushy if you need to keep cooking or want to just leave it on the stove to stay warm. This makes timing easy.

Throw your chops on, using the good advice you've found on this thread.

While the chops sit in a warm place, retaining their juices, cook down at least a half cup of scotch, bourbon or whatever, and a shallot into a glaze. It takes more whisky than you think to get a strong flavor, so leave the bottle nearby as you cook, and taste as you go along (the bottle and the reduction, cooking should be fun). Once you get the glaze where you want it, put the pan over very low heat or a double boiler and whisk in about a stick of butter. If you've ever made a buerre blanc, it's the same thing. If not, the idea is to keep the sauce warm enough so that the butter melt, but cool enough that it doesn't separate.

Taste, adjust, throw the cabbage in a bowl, throw the chop on the cabbage, pour the sauce through a strainer onto the chop and open a chilled Alsatian gewurtztraminer. Very tasty.

Edited by Busboy (log)

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This pork with whisky sauce and warm cabbage recipe got me on a televised cooking contest, but I made the sauce in a youth hostel kitchen once, and cabbage is indestructable, so it can't be too hard.  I don't have the precise recipe any more, but you can pretty much do the whole thing by taste and personal preference.

That sounds just AWESOME! Might have to give it shot one of these days. :raz: Honestly, no pun intended. :laugh:

Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

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That sounds just AWESOME!  Might have to give it shot one of these days.  :raz: Honestly, no pun intended.  :laugh:

When I return from The Cabin, I do need to get to the farmer's market and get a cabbage and do this one. Yes, Anna N, it sounds awesome.

Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"
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I make pork chops by searing them on both sides, and then reducing the heat, adding some wine and brunoised onion and chicken stock, covering the pan, and letting them simmer gently for about 10 minutes. Flip them occasionally. Then I remove the chops to a plate and crank the heat to high. I reduce the juices until they are getting syrupy, scraping the bottom of the pan occasionally. Stir back in any juices that have accumulated on the platter. Add a big dollop of Maille mustard, and once that's incorporated, a generous splash of cream. Serve the sauce on top of the chops--I never bother to strain out the onion but you can for a more finished look--or pour the sauce into a puddle on the plate and place the chop on it artistically if you prefer (perhaps on a mound of Swiss chard cooked with pancetta and a splash of balsamic?).

Almost as good: Pork chops with onions, apples and sauerkraut as a base. This can go with this sauce too if you like.

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I simply season with salt and pepper and brown the pork chops on both sides in a little fat. Then I add about a cup of apple cider to the pan, reduce the heat and cover tightly and braise for about 20 minutes, remove the cover and let the liquid reduce then add a cup of chopped apples (or a cup of chunky applesauce) for each pork chop and cook till the apples are tender. If using the applesauce I just make sure it is warmed through.

To me there is nothing tastier than pan fried or braised pork chops and applesauce or cooked apples.

Along with a green vegetable and rice, this is a fine dinner. If you want to go the whole route, add some baked sweet potatoes or yams.

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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I often rub them with a mixture of dried ancho chile with minced garlic and much salt and cracked pepper or a chipotle/adobe sauce marinade, sear until a bit blackened on grilling pans to make a nice hache mark and then bung into a gentle oven. Or tandoori seasonings with yogurt work well too.

Brining is good.

But just salt and pepper, rosemary or sage and much EVOO is also excellent.

I like to serve loin chops bone in with the fat around the edge trimmed nicely and blackened and no silverware on the table for that course so that one actually picks them up with the hand for a carnivore rush. Those first bites through the fat into the (medium rare) meat literally makes me tear up with gratitude. I've sobbed through several chops in my day.

Busboy, the whiskey sauce and cabbage sounds great. I'll try something along those lines soon.

"I've caught you Richardson, stuffing spit-backs in your vile maw. 'Let tomorrow's omelets go empty,' is that your fucking attitude?" -E. B. Farnum

"Behold, I teach you the ubermunch. The ubermunch is the meaning of the earth. Let your will say: the ubermunch shall be the meaning of the earth!" -Fritzy N.

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Serving fine and fresh gratuitous comments since Oct 5 2001, 09:53 PM

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I've sobbed through several chops in my day.

may make this my new sig line...i'm tearing up just imagining the snap and juice of it. mmmmm. pork.

"Laughter is brightest where food is best."

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Author of The I Love Trader Joe's Cookbook ,The I Love Trader Joe's Party Cookbook and The I Love Trader Joe's Around the World Cookbook

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This is soooo tasty! Sometimes I add red pepper flakes to the brine as well as a touch of apple cider. Hm. I wonder how hard cider would work with the brine? And I don't always use sage, thyme works very well.

Shelley: Would you like some pie?

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1. Browned, in a casserole with rice, chopped tomatoes, green peppers, onion.

2. Browned, pan sauce of wine, stock, cream, shallots, Dijon mustard.

3. Boned, pounded thin, dipped in egg and crumbs, browned in butter. Maybe better than veal or chicken. Cold on good bread or rolls for picnics or on the way to the cabin.

4. Stuffed, or topped with stuffing including raisins and apple. Braise or bake.

5. Dipped in egg, then a mixture of soda cracker crumbs and grated or shredded Parmesan cheese. Brown in butter or bake on heavily buttered sheet pan, turning once. My grandsons are always disappointed unless the pork chops are cooked this way. With a mashed potato casserole and my mothers sugar/vinegar slaw, one of my favorite meals.

Ruth Dondanville aka "ruthcooks"

“Are you making a statement, or are you making dinner?” Mario Batali

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Heresy to some, but: season as desired; spread with mayonnaise (oh, all right, use your wonderful homemade if youy wish, but Hellman's/Best Foods works fine), coat with crumbs; bake. The coating gets crisp, the fat melts out, and the whole thing is delicious.

This is especially good with shoulder chops that still have a good amount of marbling, so it should work well with REAL pork chops.

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Heresy to some, but: season as desired; spread with mayonnaise (oh, all right, use your wonderful homemade if youy wish, but Hellman's/Best Foods works fine), coat with crumbs; bake. The coating gets crisp, the fat melts out, and the whole thing is delicious.

This is especially good with shoulder chops that still have a good amount of marbling, so it should work well with REAL pork chops.

Gospel to me. My mother cooked pork chops like this and they were 100% successful--the old mayo trick.

I've found that the best way to prevent dry chops is to stuff them. It doesn't have to be a big production--just cut a little pocket and stuff with anything that sounds good--fruit, veg (I love fennel, for example,) a little bread stuffing, or a combo. Brown, then braise in wine and stock. Remove the chops when they're done, reduce the sauce, then throw in a dabble of cream.

I have yet to meet a human being who doesn't like a stuffed pork chop.

And yes, busboy, I'll be trying out your recipe next time I get pork chops. Snowy: You are a lucky duck! This thread is making me ravenous.

Margaret McArthur

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Heresy to some, but: season as desired; spread with mayonnaise (oh, all right, use your wonderful homemade if youy wish, but Hellman's/Best Foods works fine), coat with crumbs; bake. The coating gets crisp, the fat melts out, and the whole thing is delicious.

This is especially good with shoulder chops that still have a good amount of marbling, so it should work well with REAL pork chops.

Uh... It does make a kind of sense though...

"I've caught you Richardson, stuffing spit-backs in your vile maw. 'Let tomorrow's omelets go empty,' is that your fucking attitude?" -E. B. Farnum

"Behold, I teach you the ubermunch. The ubermunch is the meaning of the earth. Let your will say: the ubermunch shall be the meaning of the earth!" -Fritzy N.

"It's okay to like celery more than yogurt, but it's not okay to think that batter is yogurt."

Serving fine and fresh gratuitous comments since Oct 5 2001, 09:53 PM

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So I bought a couple of nice thick pork chops the other day. Following the advice in this thread, I brined them for about two hours, then took one, rubbed it with salt, pepper and rosemary, and then sauteed in it a little EVOO.

Meh.

The meat was good quality, and I didn't do anything technically wrong: it was nicely browned and plenty juicy. But still, it wasn't much more flavorful than a chicken breast prepared in the same way. Looking to pimp it up a little, I ate the second chop with a balsamic reduction. Better, but still not particularly interesting, especially compared to a good veal or lamb chop.

On balance, I think I'll just leave pork chops alone from now on: more for the rest of y'all...

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  • 10 years later...

What's the difference between a center cut pork chop and pork loin chop?  From which could I get the thickest chop?  I checked a butchery diagram and couldn't see any difference. Thanks!

 ... Shel


 

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I don't think there is a difference just that the center cut is guaranteed to to be from the center of the pork loin primal. The pork loin in pretty even end to end so you really don't need to pay more for a 'center cut' to get a good piece. 

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