Pork chops are one of those things that can be really hit or miss. I am usually leery of ordering them when I am dining out because I don't want to chance it and end up with a dry piece of something that makes me feel like I am chomping on an old sneaker! That being said, I have had some delicious ones at restaurants as well. One scrumptious one that comes to mind was served at Emeril's Delmonico in my beloved city of New Orleans. My dad makes a mean chop too and he is the one who set the bar high on pork chops for me.
I have experimented with pork chops to find a sure bet tender method that I can use for a go-to meal. I am a huge fan of brining, and these cuts of meat can be put through a good brine in less than 30 minutes. Caraway seed compliments pork very well and you can never go wrong with garlic and lemon.
Quick Brined Garlic, Lemon, & Caraway Bone In Chops
- 2 bone in pork chops (ideally 3/4" to 1 inch thick)
- 3 cups of water
- 3 tablespoons table salt
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 teaspoons caraway seed
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
Start by making the brine. Throw water, salt, lemon juice, and garlic cloves into a pot and bring to a boil. Let this boil for 10 minutes and then remove from heat. Cool down the brine by adding about a cup of ice cubes. Once the brine has reached about room temp, submerge chops and let them hang out on the counter in the brine for 20-30 minutes. Remove and pat dry. You want to make sure that you get off any extra liquid so that the caraway and pepper will adhere to the meat, but don't squeeze out the juices!
Pre-heat oven to 450. Coat each side of the chops with black pepper and caraway seed. I buy whole caraway seeds and grind them in my mortar and pestle.
Heat a cast iron (preferred) or stainless steel skillet on medium high. Before putting the chops in the skillet, either put the olive oil on a plate and dip each side in oil or gently apply directly. When the pan is hot, place them in and do not disturb them at all for 2 minutes.
Turn over and let the other side sizzle for 2 minutes.
Stick the pan in the oven for about 5 minutes, or until the internal temperature reaches 145. Times can vary a bit... if you have a thin cut, you may not need to go to the oven and if it is a thicker cut, increase oven time.
I love carrots with pork, so I paired my chops with ginger and rosemary roasted carrots drizzled with a bit of maple syrup, and a side of kale from the garden (my flat leaf kale hasn't been defeated by this frigid Ohio winter yet!) that I sautéed with garlic and bacon.