Tuesday Tip: Quick Cooking Pork Chops

by Andie Mitchell on February 12, 2013

pan seared pork

Keep pork chops from quickly becoming dry and rubbery by using the following quick cooking method:

Sear generously seasoned chops in a hot pan coated well with olive oil for 1 full minute per side, until a golden crust forms. Transfer the chops to a baking dish and finish cooking them in the oven at 350 degrees F for 7 to 10 minutes.

photo by: jasonlam

 

What’s your Tuesday Tip?

{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

Kristy Komadina February 12, 2013 at 6:30 am

Sorry to be a party pooper, but this is not true. ‘Sealing’ meat does not lock in moisture at all. What it does is creates a tasty, caramelised crust which is exactly what you want, but in experiments there is no noticeable change in the amount of moisture loss.

So yes you should definitely sear meat, but for extra moisture, reduce cooking time or choose a cut with more fat marbling.

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admin February 12, 2013 at 9:20 am

Kristy,

Thank you for your comment! I didn’t realize and now I’m that boob who transmits cooking myths!

I’ve updated the post. I appreciate your input; thanks again.

Andie

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Shawn October 26, 2013 at 5:33 pm

I just wanted to say kudos to you for taking that feedback in stride. Some people get all pissy when someone corrects them. I wish we could all be so open.

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foodie science February 12, 2013 at 7:49 am

The other commenter is right. It is scientifically impossible. You can’t “seal” meat. If anything, the act of searing causes extra moisture loss because of the high temperature. You do want to sear because the caramelization process adds extra flavor.

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Routhie February 12, 2013 at 10:31 am

My best luck with pork chops has been adding them to a cool pan over medium heat and adding a little wine or other liquid when cooking the other side, covering with a lid for the remainder of the cooking time.

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Lilly February 12, 2013 at 12:36 pm

I do the same thing with chicken! I think it does keep the moisture in the meat. Especially when you allow it to rest after cooking.

I don’t know the scientific shenanigans, but I do know that the flavor and juiciness of my meat is greatly enhanced by searing it before baking.

Thank you for another wonderful post!

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Lynn February 12, 2013 at 1:37 pm

Hmmm. I’m intrigued by the comments that a high heat sear doesn’t “seal” the meat, or that it can’t. I understand that the food would continue cooking through the crust that it makes if you left it sitting in the pan at that same high heat, but searing something over high heat and then reducing the heat, rather than cooking it straight through at say, a medium heat, seems to produce a much juicier result. I’d like the scientists to back up their statements, if they don’t mind? I don’t disagree that what they are saying is true, I just want to see a reference (cook book, website, etc), for my own future reference. Andi, I’m looking forward to trying to cook chops your way; I grew up on the dry, rubbery ones, so I’ve actually never even tried to make pork chops!

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foodie science February 12, 2013 at 2:07 pm

An excellent reference book on the science of food and cooking is ON FOOD & COOKING by Harold McGee. The book is quite technical, but approachable. The author was a trained physicist and chemist who got into cooking and food writing. He’s well-respected by chefs and scientists alike.

If you’re interested, on page 161 of the 2004 revised edition, McGee dispels the “searing-to-lock-in-juices” myth. Alton Brown, I recall, has also proven the myth incorrect on one of his shows.

You can conduct a simple experiment yourself by weighing out two pieces of meat, then sear one piece of meat and not the other, then cook both pieces until they reach the same internal temperature, then weigh both pieces again at the end to see how much water weight was lost. You will find the seared one will have lost the same or MORE water weight than the unseared piece. This has been proven time and time again.

If seared meat seems to taste “juicier” to you, it is probably because it is tastier (due to caramelization and the complex flavors developed through “Maillard Reactions” that occur when meat is seared). Tasty, savory meat will promote more saliva in your mouth, improving the overall eating experience and make you think the meat was juicier.

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admin February 12, 2013 at 2:18 pm

Fantastic explanation and resource! Thank you!

Andie

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Lynn February 12, 2013 at 2:26 pm

Foodie Science, thank you!!! That makes a lot of sense. I will order that book.
And Andie, I’m still going to try the chops, as searing meat is excellent for creating a little thing we like to call Tasty. I’m down with Tasty. Roasting broccoli tonight, too. It’s an Andie-based Tuesday dinner!

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Brittany @ Kitchen::Candid February 12, 2013 at 2:30 pm

In all my years of cooking, I’ve yet to make pork chops. Perhaps I will need to remedy this next week!

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Mandy J February 12, 2013 at 4:00 pm

Searing is the best flavor booster, but I like to brine pork (chops or otherwise) and pretty much every other kind of meat.

Mix 1 qt. apple or orange juice with 1 c. salt or half salt, half sugar, and any other flavorings you like (fresh ginger, peppercorns, etc) in a medium saucepan, bring to a boil and simmer, stirring, until the salt dissolves. Add ice cubes to quickly cool, then pour cooled brine over the meat (add water as needed to cover). Keep the meat in a cooler with ice or in the fridge covered at least 4 hours, but up to several days for a roast.

Brining basically makes the cells on the outside of the meat explode, and this gives you a super juicy and flavorful piece of meat.

After brining, dry the meat, apply a dry rub or other seasonings (go easy on the salt, since it’s in the meat), sear then finish however you like.

Remember that pork doesn’t have to be cooked to death. The internal temp shouldn’t be above 155 F when it comes out of the oven. Overcooking is the most common reason for dry pork. Also, ALWAYS let your meat rest before cutting. My rule of thumb is 10 min for small cuts and up to half an hour for bigger roasts.

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Sarah @ Sweet & Savory Life February 13, 2013 at 6:13 pm

Awesome tip! I am especially happy to read this because I plan on making pork chops tomorrow night for my BF <3

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Hootie February 13, 2013 at 9:01 pm

So my new favorite kitchen tool is a lodge brand cast iron grill pan that goes over two burners or onto the grill etc. I cooked,not pork chops, but a Boston butt that my mom got the butcher to cut into 1 inch slabs. She tried it on her grill pan bone in with a savory marinade…I tried it deboned (with my kitchen shears) and with a ginger sauce from target and my husband grilled on the charcoal grill with the grill pan (carcinogens are charcoal problem I know) but anyway… we each grilled it until it looked like it was near burning and finished in a 350 oven for 10-20 min (depending on bone status) my mom and I called each other after both claiming its the best thing we have tried in a while! It’s a fatty cut of meat but the flavor!

SN: if you have not tried Paula’s Chicken Georgia you need to http://www.pauladeen.com/recipes/view2/chicken_georgia/

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