Pork Chops - Recipe

Pork Chops

Although I make Asian food 75% of the time, I do crave some classic American dishes now and then, such as pork chops.

The best pork chops I ever had was up in Yountville at a restaurant called Bistro Jeanty. I never knew pork chops could be so perfectly juicy, tender, and delicious. The next time I was in the Napa area, we tried pork chops at Ad Hoc, and I have to say comparing pork chops alone, it was nowhere as good as Bistro Jeanty.

To try to duplicate the dish at home would be impossible, but I decided to give it a shot by brining the meat first.

These are the pork chops I got. They're bone-in, center cut pork chops from Whole Foods, about a pound each. Aren't they beautiful?

After reviewing some brining methods on the internet, I stuck with the simple one of salt + water + aromatics.

Boil 1 cup of water and add 4 tablespoons of kosher salt. After salt dissolves, add aromatics. I added 1 star anise, 1/2 teaspoon of peppercorns, 2 smashed garlic cloves, and 1 bay leaf. You can add or change aromatics, depending on what you have on hand. Turn off the heat and add 3 cups of cold water to cool the brine to room temperature. Then pour the brine over the pork chops, making sure the meat is completely submerged.

Cover and place the dish in the refrigerator, anywhere from 1 to 4 hours.

Heat the oven to 400 degrees.

Remove pork chops from refrigerator and pat dry. Sprinkle salt and pepper. Although the brine has lots of salt, I still seasoned with salt since I only brined the pork chops for 1-2 hours.

I used the method of frying on a stove top first and then finishing it off in the oven. Using an iron-cast skillet, heat on high and add some vegetable oil. When the skillet is hot, carefully place the pork chops.

It should be smoking and sizzling as it sears on one side. Do not move the pork chops once it is set in the skillet. Cook 3-4 minutes on one side, and using tongs, flip the pork chops to the other side.

Now place pork chops in the oven. Depending on your oven, 7-10 minutes should be sufficient to cook through the pork chops. USDA recommends internal temperature of 145 degrees for pork with a 3 minute resting time, so use a meat thermometer in the thickest part of the pork chop to confirm pork chops are done.

When done, take pork chops out of the oven and let it rest at least 5 minutes. When you remove the pork chops, you can make a simple gravy from the leftover drippings, but I just poured it over the pork chops. (I was hungry!)

I served the pork chops with some roasted potatoes and brussel sprouts, and sprinkled some chopped parsley for final garnish. Although I'm still not sure how much difference brining makes, the pork chops turned out very juicy and delicious. Not as good as Bistro Jeanty... yet. I'll keep working on that!

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