Here’s how I cook a pork chop. It’s a mix of methods I’ve collected over time. The basic outline is:
- Use good meat
- Salt and wait
- Sear, roast, and rest
It’s a cliché, but you really do need to start with good meat. Most often I walk down the hill and get bone-in loin rib chops at Rain Shadow Meats. Another good butcher, but one not in walking distance, is Beast & Cleaver.
Salt and Wait
Following the advice of Samin Nosrat in Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat, I salt the meat the day before with kosher salt. I then put it in the fridge on a wire rack atop a 1/4 sheet pan. If I can’t do 24 hours before, I try to salt it at least an hour before cooking.
Sear, Roast, and Rest
I take the chop out of the fridge an hour before I plan to cook it. I also preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
As much as the meat matters, so does the pan in which you do the searing and roasting. I use either a cast iron pan or a carbon steel pan. Both are ones that you can put into the oven.
Once the oven is preheated, I render some fat in which to cook the chop by searing it on its side, the fatty edge down, over medium heat. I keep it upright using tongs. Once some fat is rendered, I sear both sides for roughly 3 minutes per side. I then put the pan in the oven and cook about 3 more minutes per side.
The searing and oven cooking times may need to vary depending on the thickness of the chop (mine are at least an inch to one and half-inches thick, much thinner than typical grocery chops).
You’re aiming to reach, per the USDA, 145 degrees. Once it’s at that temperature, take it out and let it rest under a small aluminum foil tent for 5 minutes so the juices settle.