to cook pork chops that don't end up tough or dry? When we grill them they always seem tough and the times I've baked they are dry. What am I doing wrong? baking too long?
Almost always, with few exceptions, the reason for tough, dry pork is over cooking.
We tend to overcook pork because of the very slim chance of trichina. The USDA has recently lowered its target temp for pork from 160 to 145.
Another great argument for a Thermapen! Since I got one I haven't overcooked a chicken breast, a fish fillet or a piece of pork.
Here is a link that might be useful: pork cooking temp
Thank you. Can you tell me how to cook for best, moist chops. These are nice thick center cut boneless chops-the ones I have today are 1- 1/4" thick. or do I just need to check temperature?
You should use a meat thermometer and stop cooking when done:
"USDA Recommended Safe Minimum Internal Temperatures
Cook all raw beef, pork, lamb and veal steaks, chops, and roasts to a minimum internal temperature of 145F as measured with a food thermometer before removing meat from the heat source. For safety and quality, allow meat to rest for at least three minutes before carving or consuming. For reasons of personal preference, consumers may choose to cook meat to higher temperatures.
Cook all raw ground beef, pork, lamb, and veal to an internal temperature of 160F as measured with a food thermometer.
Cook all poultry to a safe minimum internal temperature of 165F as measured with a food thermometer. "
Are you grilling outdoors or indoors? If on a stove top, I have found that putting a loose fitting domed lid over the pan will help prevent drying out, but you can also add a bit of moisture to the grill pan, such as a bit of water or some mushrooms or onions, but you will still need to use the lid to keep the moisture. If you are baking them, try covering them with aluminum foil and check the temperature. If you cook to 145F, the temperature will continue to rise for a few minutes after removing from the oven.
Here is a link that might be useful: USDA recommendations
Check the temperature.....and realize that once they get to 160....they will be dry and tough. Pork these days is very lean....and can be dry.
The incidence of thrichinosis in commercial pork is very small....most cases in the us come from deer and wild caught pork.
Also freezing below -13 for 2 weeks kills the parasite.
Pork that is a little bit pink inside will be tender and not dry.
My mouth is watering!!
We buy a big tray of the thick-cut chops, put a dry rub on them, and grill them to just short of done (except the ones we're going to eat that meal) then wrap and freeze in serving size. Then when I re-heat (with some Bragg's liquid aminos for moisture)--gently--they're not dried out at all and taste fresh off the grill. It's our almost "tv dinner" meal with a steamed veggie or two. It's what's for dinner tonight (time to grill some more).
Get the pork to room temperature before cooking will help a little.
I agree, 160 is overcooked for pork and will give you a dry and tough end product.
Trichinosis is only found in carnivorous animals. If the pork you are eating has not been fed meat products, it won't have the trichinella worms.
Pork is actually one of the safest meat products to consume, cases of trichinosis are mostly caused from eating wild boar, bear meat or pigs raised by someone feeding them meat scraps.
So, cook it however you enjoy it, I like pork that's been brined in apple cider. Just don't overcook it.
The last time I cooked thick pork chops, I stuffed them with an apple cranberry stuffing from Simply Recipes. It helped to keep them moist while the chops cooked.
I found a YouTube video on how to make a pocket in the pork chops. pork chop pocket video
Apple Cranberry Stuffing for Pork
1 cup apple cider
1/2 cup cider vinegar
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1 large shallot, peeled, thinly sliced
1 1/2 cups dried apples (packed)
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1 Tbsp grated fresh ginger
1 Tbsp yellow mustard seeds
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Bring all the filling ingredients to simmer in medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Cover, reduce heat to low, and cook until apples are very soft, about 20 minutes. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve, reserving the liquid. Use a rubber spatula to press against the apple mixture in the sieve to extract as much liquid out as possible. Return liquid to saucepan and simmer over medium-high heat until reduced to 1/2 cup, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat, set aside and reserve this liquid for use as a glaze. Pulse apple mixture in food processor, about fifteen 1-second pulses.
Here is a link that might be useful: Apple Cranberry Stuffed Pork Roast
Thanks all for your help. I now realize I have been overcooking. I since tried rob333's recipe (from another thread) and thought I would just go by his guess of maybe 20 minutes in oven instead of checking temperature (like he also suggested). When I took it out it registered 157degrees and was like leather. I won't do that again!
annie:the apple cider brine sounds good and easy.
bbstx: that recipe sounds good-love pork and apples.
dcarch: I will do the room temp, hadn't thought of that.
tracey b: love your idea, I love anything that I can do ahead.
arlwy: the Thermapen is sounding cheaper all the time, as I keep ruining meat. I'm sick of thermometers that either register wrong or constantly need batteries!
This guy's method works PERFECTLY for me. His spice rub is tasty, but you could use any seasoning you like, or just use salt and pepper.
The link is to a two-minute instructional video and transcript of instructions/recipe.
Here is a link that might be useful: Pan Seared Pork Chops
Posted by carnelian "This guy's method works PERFECTLY for me. His spice rub is tasty, but you could use any seasoning you like, or just use salt and pepper.
The link is to a two-minute instructional video and transcript of instructions/recipe."
It is interesting that the most important part of this method is not mentioned.
It will only work with a CAST IRON skillet. If you use any other types of frying pan, your timing will need to be significantly adjusted.
This method will completely overcook thinner chops. In any case, you should always use a probe thermometer when you cook pork.
Having the meat warmed to room temperature will give you around 40 F temperature advantage.