Friday, April 8, 2011

Pan-fried Pork Chops

I've previously mentioned more than once that I try to serve meals with little or no meat.  Not that we don’t enjoy meat—we actually really like it.  But meat tends to be the most expensive part of the grocery bill.  Consequently, when I find a good sale on meat or find it on clearance for a great price, I buy it and I buy a lot of it.

A few weeks ago I found myself browsing the Safeway meat clearance section.  Keep in mind that just because it’s on clearance, doesn’t mean it’s bad.  It just needs to be used or frozen that day or the next.  Anyway, I found pork loin assorted chops that had been on sale for $2.49 per pound on clearance for 50% off.  That’s $1.25 per pound, well below my meat spending limit.

Pork chops are very simple, but there are a few tricks I use.

First, I try to get bone-in pork chops.  They just turn out juicier and more flavorful than boneless.

Second, I always pan-fry them.  I used to broil them, but one day I pan-fried them and have never gone back.

Third, I don’t trim the pork chops before cooking them.  The extra band of fat around the edge contributes to the flavor.

Unfortunately, that fat also causes bubble-shaped pork chops, which leads to my fourth trick.  I slice through the fat layer a few times around the chop.  The result is flat pork chops rather than concave.

Lastly, I usually keep it real simple.  I do occasionally jazz it up with a sauce or breading, but my go-to method is simple seasonings:  Montreal steak seasoning, lemon pepper, or salt, pepper, and garlic.

Pan-fried Pork Chops
1-2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
Pork chops
Montreal steak seasoning, lemon pepper, or salt, pepper, and garlic powder

Heat oil in skillet over medium-high heat.  If chops are juicy or wet, blot with paper towels to remove excess moisture.  Slice through fat around edge of pork chops a few times on each chop.  Season as desired, pressing seasoning into meat.

Montreal steak seasoning
Lemon pepper

Arrange chops in pre-heated pan, being sure to leave space between them.

Cook 14-18 minutes, turning half-way through cooking time once first side is seared.

Actual cooking time will vary depending on thickness of chops, stove, and cookware, so be sure to check for 160° internal temperature.

I cut through the fat of the pork chop on the left but
not the right.  Notice how the one of the left is nice and flat.

The underside of the bubble pork chop.

1 comment:

StaceyN said...

Yum! We love that cut of pork. We call it pork steak and usually marinate it and grill it on the BBQ, but with the crazy winds here lately, I think I will try your pan-fried version. Looks great!

We just butchered our big, fat hogs a few weeks ago, and I have more pork than any self-respecting, health-conscious mother should ever have in my freezer, so I can use as many pork recipes as you have... bring 'em on :-). Thanks for sharing!

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