Thick-cut Pork Chops

Posted in food, home cooking at 4:14 pm by wingerz


A few weeks ago while we were discussing the heavenly Bi-Rite ice cream, Joy mentioned another one of her favorites: Niman Ranch Pork Chops. I picked up a package of two at Trader Joe’s. They were juicy and delicious, especially with this sweet, spicy sauce.

I didn’t get much of a fond when I seared them, but I imagine that the adobo chilis and molasses would have overpowered the meatiness. The brine doesn’t have to be as involved as it is below – aside from sugar and salt the other ingredients are optional.

Pan-Seared, Oven-Roasted Thick-Cut Pork Chops with Spicy Citrus Pan Sauce
from Cook’s Illustrated

Pork Chops
3/4 cup dark brown sugar (lightly packed)
1/2 cup kosher salt (or 1/4 cup table salt)
10 medium cloves garlic , crushed
4 bay leaves , crumbled
8 whole cloves
3 tablespoons whole black peppercorns , crushed
4 bone-in rib loin pork chops (12-ounces each), 1 1/2-inches-thick
2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1/2 cup molasses
1/4 cup lime juice
1 1/2 teaspoons grated lime zest from 2 limes
1 cup orange juice from 2 large oranges
2 medium cloves garlic , chopped
4 chipotle chiles en adobo
2 tablespoons unsalted butter (cold), cut into 2 pieces
Table salt and ground black pepper

1. For Pork: In gallon-sized zipper-lock plastic bag, dissolve sugar and salt in 2 cups hot water. Add garlic, bay leaves, cloves, peppercorns, (if using) and 4 cups cold water; cool mixture to room temperature. Add pork chops, then seal bag, pressing out as much air as possible; refrigerate until fully seasoned, about 1 hour, turning bag once. Remove chops from brine and dry thoroughly with paper towels.
2. Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position, place shallow roasting pan or jelly-roll pan on oven rack, and heat oven to 450 degrees. When oven reaches 450 degrees, heat oil in 12-inch heavy-bottomed skillet over high heat until shimmering but not smoking, about 2 minutes. Place chops in skillet; cook until well-browned and nice crust has formed on surface, about 2 minutes. Turn chops over with tongs; cook until well-browned and a nice crust has formed on second side, about 2 minutes longer. Using tongs, transfer chops to preheated pan in oven. Roast until instant-read thermometer inserted into the center of each chop registers 125–127 degrees, 8 to 10 minutes, turning chops over once halfway through cooking time. Transfer each chop to platter; cover loosely with foil (be sure not to wrap foil tightly around meat), and let rest about 5 minutes. (Check internal temperature; it should register about 145 degrees).
3. For Sauce: In bowl of food processor, puree molasses, lime juice and zest, orange juice, garlic, and chipotle chiles until smooth. Transfer to small bowl; set aside.
4. Pour off fat from skillet used to brown chops; place skillet over medium-high heat and add molasses mixture, scraping pan bottom with wooden spoon to loosen browned bits. Simmer until thickened and syrupy, about 2 minutes. Whisk in butter, one piece at a time; season to taste with salt and pepper and serve with pork chops.


  1. joy said,

    March 9, 2009 at 12:44 am

    oh man, i can’t wait til you cook these for me ;) (hahaha! jk!)

  2. wingerz said,

    March 9, 2009 at 2:08 am

    yeah, you just keep telling me the foods you like and i’ll make them.

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