Are you tired of dry and tough pork chops? Do you want to learn how to make tender and juicy pork chops in the oven?
Look no further! In this article, we will share some tips and tricks on how to bake pork chops to perfection. Whether you prefer boneless or bone-in, brined or seasoned, we’ve got you covered.
With our easy-to-follow instructions, you’ll be able to make delicious pork chops that will impress your family and friends. So, let’s get started and learn how to bake tender pork chops in the oven!
How To Bake Tender Pork Chops In Oven?
The biggest trick to making oven-baked pork chops is to not overcook them. Pork chops are lean meat, which means they will dry out if you leave them in the oven for too long. But don’t worry, we have an easy way to know exactly how long you should cook your chops.
In a 400-degree Fahrenheit oven, boneless pork chops need to cook for 7 minutes per 1/2 inch of thickness. If you are using bone-in pork chops, add an extra minute for each 1/2 inch. If you’re new to making roasted pork chops, the best way to tell if they are fully cooked is to use an instant-read meat thermometer. Pork should be cooked to an internal temperature of 145 degrees Fahrenheit.
Here are some steps to follow for making tender pork chops in the oven:
1. Brine the pork chops (optional): If you have time, brining the pork for even a brief period adds flavor and ensures juiciness in the finished chop. Bring 1 cup of water to a boil, add salt and optional flavorings, and stir to dissolve the salt. Add 2 more cups of cold water to bring the temperature of the brine down to room temperature. Place the pork chops in a shallow dish and pour the brine over top. The brine should cover the chops — if not, add additional water and salt (1 cup water to 1 tablespoon salt) until the chops are submerged. Cover the dish and refrigerate for 30 minutes or up to 4 hours.
2. Preheat oven and skillet: Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat it to 400°F. Place a large oven-safe skillet in the oven to heat as well.
3. Season the pork chops: Remove the chops from the brine; if you didn’t brine, remove the chops from their packaging. Pat dry with paper towels. Rub both sides with olive oil, then season with salt and pepper.
4. Sear the pork chops: Place the pork chops in the hot skillet. You should hear them immediately begin to sizzle. Sear until the bottom of the chops are golden-brown, about 3 minutes. Flip the chops and transfer them to the oven.
5. Roast until cooked through: Roast until the pork chops are cooked through and register 140°F to 145°F in the thickest part of the meat with an instant-read thermometer. Cooking time will be 6 to 10 minutes depending on the thickness of the chops, how cool they were at the start of cooking, and whether they were brined.
6. Rest before serving: Transfer the pork chops to a plate and pour any pan juices over top (or reserve for making a pan sauce or gravy). Tent loosely with foil and let rest for at least 5 minutes before serving.
Choose The Right Cut Of Pork
Choosing the right cut of pork is crucial for making tender and juicy oven-baked pork chops. All pork chops come from the loin, but depending on what section of the loin, the chops will differ in flavor and tenderness.
In general, center-cut rib chops are the best choice for oven baking. They have a little fat to add flavor, but not the tough gristle of a shoulder chop. They are very tender and the flavor is mild. A boneless chop is also an option, but without any bone or fat, they often have less flavor and dry out quickly.
Thick pork chops are also key to maximum flavor and juiciness. If you can, get your chops cut at your local butcher or meat counter and request a minimum of 3/4” thick, ideally 1 to 1 1/2” thick. But remember, the thickness of your pork chops affects the time it takes them to cook in the oven, so always take that into account when timing your baked pork chops.
If you want to cut your own chops, buy an 8-rib bone-in pork loin from your local butcher. With the loin on your cutting board, use your carving knife and slice between each bone or every two for thicker pork chops.
Brine For Extra Moisture
One of the best ways to ensure your pork chops are extra juicy and tender is to brine them. Brining involves soaking the meat in a saltwater solution, which helps to break down the proteins in the meat and pull water into the cells. This added moisture makes for a more succulent and flavorful chop.
To make a basic brine, bring 1 cup of water to a boil and dissolve 1 tablespoon of salt. Add 2 more cups of cold water to bring the temperature down, then add any additional flavorings you desire, such as herbs or spices. Submerge your pork chops in the brine and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, or up to 4 hours.
If you have more time, consider dry brining your pork chops. Simply sprinkle kosher salt all over the chops and let them sit at room temperature for at least 30 minutes before cooking. This method also helps to tenderize the meat and add moisture.
After brining, make sure to pat your pork chops dry with paper towels before cooking. This will ensure that they sear properly and develop a nice crust. By following these steps and incorporating a brine into your cooking process, you can achieve perfectly juicy and tender pork chops every time.
Seasoning Options For Pork Chops
Seasoning your pork chops is crucial for adding flavor to your dish. Here are some seasoning options that you can try:
1. Smoked Paprika: This spice adds a smoky flavor to the seasoning blend and gives the pork chop a beautiful color. If you don’t have smoked paprika on hand, sweet or regular paprika can be used in its place, but you won’t get the smoky flavor.
2. Garlic Powder: Garlic is near and dear to many people’s hearts and adds a delicious flavor to pork chops. You can add a generous amount of granulated garlic to your pork chop seasoning to form the foundation of your recipe.
3. Onion Powder: The only difference between granulated onion and onion powder is that the powder has been ground finer than the granulated onion. You can use either one in your seasoning mix.
4. Kosher Salt or Sea Salt: Both kosher salt and sea salt can be used interchangeably when cooking. They have a coarse texture and superior flavor compared to table salt.
5. Black Pepper: Ground black pepper adds the perfect amount of zip to your seasoning blend. You can mix it up with white pepper for a different taste.
6. Dried Thyme: Thyme adds herby and floral notes, complementing pork’s flavor exceptionally well.
7. Dried Oregano: Oregano adds a unique flavor to the seasoning blend, giving it an Italian twist.
8. Cayenne Pepper: This gives the pork chop seasoning a very slight kick of spice. If you prefer no spice, you can omit this ingredient in this mix.
9. Dried Mustard: Mustard adds a tangy flavor that pairs well with pork chops.
10. Brown Sugar (Optional): Brown sugar adds a delicate sweetness to an otherwise savory spice blend. If you prefer a sugar-free pork chop seasoning, you can leave it out, and the mix will still be delicious.
You can mix and match these seasonings to create your own unique blend or follow one of the recipes mentioned above. Remember to season both sides of the pork chops evenly for maximum flavor, and adjust the amount of seasoning based on your personal preference.
Preparing The Pork Chops For Baking
To prepare pork chops for baking, there are a few steps to follow to ensure that they come out tender and juicy. First, you can optionally brine the pork chops for even a brief period to add flavor and ensure juiciness in the finished chop. To do this, bring 1 cup of water to a boil, add salt and optional flavorings, and stir to dissolve the salt. Add 2 more cups of cold water to bring the temperature of the brine down to room temperature. Place the pork chops in a shallow dish and pour the brine over top. The brine should cover the chops — if not, add additional water and salt (1 cup water to 1 tablespoon salt) until the chops are submerged. Cover the dish and refrigerate for 30 minutes or up to 4 hours.
Next, preheat your oven to 400°F and place a large oven-safe skillet in the oven to heat as well. Remove the chops from the brine or their packaging and pat them dry with paper towels. Rub both sides with olive oil, then season with salt and pepper. Place the pork chops in the hot skillet and sear until the bottom of the chops are golden-brown, about 3 minutes. Flip the chops and transfer them to the oven.
Roast until the pork chops are cooked through and register 140°F to 145°F in the thickest part of the meat with an instant-read thermometer. Cooking time will be 6 to 10 minutes depending on the thickness of the chops, how cool they were at the start of cooking, and whether they were brined. Finally, transfer the pork chops to a plate and pour any pan juices over top (or reserve for making a pan sauce or gravy). Tent loosely with foil and let rest for at least 5 minutes before serving. By following these steps, you can bake tender and juicy pork chops in your oven.
Baking Techniques For Tender Pork Chops
When it comes to baking pork chops in the oven, there are a few techniques you can use to ensure that they come out tender and juicy. Here are some tips to follow:
1. Choose bone-in pork chops: Bone-in pork chops retain more moisture during cooking, which helps keep them tender and juicy.
2. Bring the pork chops to room temperature: Take the pork chops out of the refrigerator and let them sit at room temperature for 30 minutes before cooking. This helps them cook more evenly and prevents them from drying out.
3. Season the pork chops: Rub both sides of the pork chops with olive oil and season them with salt and pepper. You can also add other seasonings or a dry rub for extra flavor.
4. Sear the pork chops: Heat a skillet over medium-high heat and sear the pork chops for 2-3 minutes per side until they are browned. This creates a nice crust on the exterior of the chops and helps lock in moisture.
5. Bake the pork chops: Transfer the seared pork chops to a baking dish and bake in a preheated 400-degree Fahrenheit oven until they reach an internal temperature of 145 degrees Fahrenheit, which usually takes around 15-20 minutes for boneless pork chops and 20-25 minutes for bone-in pork chops.
6. Let the pork chops rest: After baking, remove the pork chops from the oven and let them rest for 5 minutes before serving. This allows the juices to redistribute throughout the meat, resulting in a more tender and juicy chop.
By following these baking techniques, you can achieve tender and flavorful pork chops that are sure to impress your family and friends.
Resting And Serving The Pork Chops
After cooking your pork chops, it’s important to let them rest before serving. Resting allows the juices to redistribute throughout the meat, resulting in a more tender and flavorful chop. It also prevents the meat from drying out when cut.
Thick cuts of pork chops, like shoulder or bone-in chops, should rest for 10 to 15 minutes before cutting and serving. Thinner cuts may need less time. A good rule of thumb is to let the meat rest for half of its cooking time. For example, if it took 20 minutes to cook a pork chop, the chop should rest for 10 minutes before serving.
When resting pork, leave the meat on a warm surface, such as the top of the stove (with the burners off). Avoid tenting smaller cuts with aluminum foil, as this will trap the heat and cook the meat further. However, for large cuts intended for shredding, like pork shoulder, loosely tenting with foil for 15 to 20 minutes before shredding is recommended.
After resting, transfer the pork chops to a plate and pour any pan juices over top or reserve for making a pan sauce or gravy. Tent loosely with foil and let rest for at least 5 minutes before serving. This will allow the flavors to meld together and ensure that each bite is as juicy and tender as possible.