How To Cook Pork Chops

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Wondering how to cook pork chops properly? Here’s the lowdown on all the different ways you can cook them to delicious perfection!

I don’t know about you, but it’s been my experience that cooking a pork chop can easily end up with a big piece of rubber on my plate. So I put a little time and effort into learning how to cook them properly and it really paid off! Here’s what I’ve learned.

A guide for how to cook pork chops properly every time.
©Magone/123RF.COM

IS PORK HEALTHY?

Pork can be healthy or very unhealthy, depending on how it’s prepared and/or served. A lean cut of pork, cooked properly and without too much added fat is considered perfectly fine for the average person looking to eat healthfully. And in fact, contains a wonderful dose of many essential vitamins as well as lean protein. What isn’t healthy, are fatty cuts such as bacon, pork that has been fried, or foods like pork sausage.

Now, before I get any angry comments, I realize there are those of you out there who don’t consider pork to be a clean meat at all. I get it. I do. But for those of you who do enjoy pork in your eating plan, here’s the low down on cooking your chops.

HOW LONG SHOULD YOU COOK PORK CHOPS?

This will depend greatly on the thickness of your chops as well as your method of cooking. On average, you’ll cook pork chops for about 23-25 minutes. But again, this will vary. The very best way to make sure your pork chops are cooked properly is to use a meat thermometer. Do not insert the thermometer close to the bone. Insert it into the meatiest part of the pork chop. When the thermometer reads 165 F., your pork chops are done. Do not eat pork chops that are not cooked to at least this temperature, or you will risk making yourself very sick. That said, anything too much higher will leave you with rubbery, tough-to-eat chops. So aim for that temperature and then remove them from the heat source.

HOW TO FRY PORK CHOPS

As stated above, pork in general shouldn’t be served with a ton of fat. I know this goes against the current mind-set of high-fat (keto/low carb) enthusiasts (I used to be one of them!) but for the average person not on a high-fat or keto diet, keep that fat low.

That being said, sometimes a fried pork chops is the only way to go. When I was eating meat, I would cut down on cooking fat by browning my pork chops in a light coat of oil to get that nice, golden brown color, and then continue cooking by baking them in the oven to finish them off. If you must fry your chops, this is probably the healthiest way to do it. Otherwise, your fat content will go up way too high. The other option is to cook your chops in an air fryer.

HOW TO COOK PORK CHOPS IN AN AIR FRYER

If you really want fried pork chops but don’t want all the fat, an air fryer is a great way to go! Again, you can start them in the pan with a light coat of oil if you wish, and then finish them off in an air fryer.

An overhead view of two pork chops stacked on top of each other with a sprig of fresh rosemary sitting next to them.
©Arinahabich/123RF.COM

HOW TO BAKE PORK CHOPS

Pork chops can become rubbery very easily in the oven due to over cooking. Baking pork chops is, in my experience, the hardest way to get a properly cooked chop because you don’t want to keep opening the oven door to check your chops. But if you really want to bake them from start to finish, I highly recommend a meat thermometer that you can leave in the oven that will display a temperature you can read through the glass in your oven door.

HOW TO GRILL PORK CHOPS

Gilling can be very different in the length of time it takes to cook a pork chop. You’ll want to grill on each side, long enough for the meat to easily release from the grill itself. Once it easily releases, it’s pretty much done. But again, you’ll want to check the temperature with a meat thermometer to be certain. The trick here is to cook evenly on both sides, much as you would in a skillet.

HOW TO MARINATE PORK CHOPS

Pork can be marinated anywhere from 2 to 8 hours. Tougher cuts of pork can marinate up to 12 hours. But chops are more tender and therefore don’t need to marinate as long.

The easiest way to marinate chops is to use a gallon-size, zipper-top, plastic bag. Put your chops into the bag with the marinade, give it a good toss and then let it sit flat in your fridge. In my experience, the longer the pork marinates, the better and more tender it is. But don’t go over the 8 hour mark or the meat can take on a not-so-desirable texture.

For more information on marinating different types of meat, check out this article here.

EASY PORK CHOP MARINADE

I have one recipe for pork marinade that works really well with chops. Just be sure to stay on the lower range for marinating time with this one. Find it here.

Clean Eating Caraway Seed Pork Chops Recipe

HEALTHY PORK CHOP RECIPES:

 

 

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