I grew up on a hobby farm in northern Minnesota. We raised chickens and pigs primarily. We very rarely sold anything we raised. There was a hungry family of five to feed. We raised a lot of chickens; therefore we ate a lot of chicken. Our one reprieve from all this chicken was the occasional pork meal. My mom tops pork steaks with canned peaches and bakes them in the oven. I am not sure where she got the idea, but it sure is tasty. The peaches would melt into the pork and caramelize around the meat on the pan. It was so good.
These days I don't try to cook the things my mom makes. I guess I like to save those meals for my mom. I recently developed my own simple and quick way to cook pork chops. For an extra special meal, read my recipe for Pork Chop Brine. If you use brined pork chops for this recipe like I did here, you will have some of the best darn pork chops you have ever eaten.
1. Begin heating the oven up to 450 degrees F while melting 1 Tbsp butter in a heavy frying pan on medium heat. Make sure the pork chops are dry by patting them with a paper towel. Salt and pepper the pork chops. If you are using brined pork chops, you may not need anymore salt on your meat. Once the butter begins to brown a little, lay your pork chops in the pan leaving a little space in between each chop. Don't cover the pan, as that will trap steam in the pan and that will steam the meat.
2. After about 5 minutes, the first side of the pork chops should be nice and brown. Flip the pork chops over using a meat fork. If you want to use a pair of tongs, that will work, too, and perhaps even better than a fork. The bottom of the pan will start to get dark and may even smell a little burnt. That is OK, as that is all flavorful stuff you will be using in the next step. After the second side has cooked for 4 to 5 minutes, take the chops out of the pan and move them to a plate to rest for a minute.
3. Keep the pan on medium heat and add another knob of butter. Throw a handful of sliced onions in the pan and some garlic, too. Cook them for a couple minutes until they start to brown. At this point, deglaze the pan by dumping ½ cup of water in the pan with the onions and scrape the bottom of the pan to get the brown stuff up. Turn the heat off and put the pork chops back in the pan. Most of the water will have dissolved, leaving the brown stuff soaked up in the onions.
4. Put the pan of pork chops in the oven and set the timer to 5 minutes. Once the pork chops reach 150 degrees F, they are done, and chances are they are already at this temp or very close to it. Check using a digital thermometer after five minutes have passed. Once they come out of the oven, let them rest for another five minutes before eating them. Serve them with the buttery onion mixture on top of each pork chop. I suggest eating this meat with a big salad to help combat all the fatty stuff in and on the pork chops.
Pork loin chops are pretty dry cuts of pork. Shoulder steak is a little juicier because the meat is of the darker variety. You can avoid dry pork by brining your pork. Brined meats have more liquid inside, which is a result of osmosis and denatured proteins that hold onto water better. Pork fat is some of the tastiest fat available, so don't get rid of too much of it before cooking your meat. Fat is flavor. Why do you think we like bacon so much?
You can just as easily broil, grill, or bake pork chops. When I say bake what I really mean is roast. Baking is a term that is supposed to be reserved for breads, pastries, and other flour-containing food. Anyway, all these methods of cooking pork deserve articles of their own. There isn't enough room here to discuss it. So check to see if I've written an article on grilling, broiling, or baking (roasting) pork yet. If not, send me an email and tell me to get moving!