These oven baked pork chops feature layers upon layers of flavor that make them especially tasty. They are first quickly browned over a fairly high heat to get a tasty crust. An aromatic dry rub is applied to give the pork chops their amazing flavor. Finally, the chops are drizzled with a delicious browned garlic butter that give them even more taste and flavor.
How to bake these pork chops?
This may seem like a simple question but there are dozens of good and interesting ways to make baked pork chops. In this recipe, pork chops are quickly browned, rested for a few minutes, seasoned, baked, then rested again before being drizzled with a delicious browned garlic butter sauce. Did you notice two rest times? Is that necessary? The short answer is 'yes'. Browning over a fairly high heat makes meat fibers contract. Letting the meat rest before putting it in the hot oven allows it to relax. This results in tender and juicy meat. The second rest time does the same and also allows the meat fibers to reabsorb some of the liquid lost during cooking.
To sear or not to sear pork chops?
The majority of baked pork chop recipes out there don't call for searing. This is entirely optional. However, searing prior to baking has several important benefits. First, the chops will gain a lot of flavor though browning (through Millard reaction). Browning will also improve visual appearance. It's especially important when not using dark sauces or sugar on top which caramelize during baking and add color.
This pork chop recipe is very low on carbohydrates so browning helps a lot. Think of a pork chop as you would of a steak. You sear it, then finish in the oven. That's how you get an exceptionally tasty, flavorful steak. The same principle applies to pork chops. Finally, a quick sear will significantly decrease the time that the pork chops will spend in the oven. This method results in the most flavorful and the juiciest pork chop.
How to cook thick pork chops?
If you are using the recommended 1-inch thick pork chops for this recipe, or even thicker, pan-searing prior to baking is a must in my opinion. Why? Thick pork chops will take longer to bake and will be exposed to oven heat over a much longer period of time. This will cause them to lose a lot of water and make the surface parts of the chops dry out more before the middle is cooked through. A quick sear, followed by a 5-10 minute rest, will raise the internal temperature of a pork chop to about 100F-105F. After that, a relatively short baking time in the oven will be needed, which will reduce liquid loss and drying out.
How long to bake pork chops?
This really depends on the oven temperature and the thickness of your pork chops. At 350F, a 1-inch thick pork chop will take about 30-40 minutes to reach the safe temperature of 145F. If you first sear the pork chop, it will take about 15 minutes to get fully cooked at 350F.
The importance of not overcooking pork chops
The most common type of a pork chop, pork loin chop, is a very lean piece of meat. Just like chicken breast, it will get tough, dry and chalky if you overcook. Pork chops don't allow a lot of room for an error. There is a great way to always ensure that your meat is cooked perfectly. It's by using a BBQ thermometer. Simply insert a probe in a pork chop, set the target temperature and forget about it until you hear the alert. With this method you will never overcook your pork chops and won't have to stress over getting your pork chops cook right. The ThermoPro TP07 or it’s more advanced sibling ThermoPro TP08 that adds a second probe are inexpensive yet excellent BBQ thermometers for the job.
How long do you cook bone-in pork chops in the oven?
While this recipe calls for boneless loin chops, you can use bone-in pork chops without a problem. Similar thickness and size bone-in pork chops will require about 10%-15% more baking time. If you are using a BBQ thermometer, you won't need to worry about the additional time and just wait for the alert.
Best side dishes for baked pork chops
Without a doubt, the best side dish for pork chops is good old mashed potatoes, although many other side dishes will work. If you do decide to go with mashed potatoes, try these garlic mashed potatoes. They are a treat and I am sure that once you try them you will be making them over and over again. Add some sauerkraut, homemade fermented pickles, canned dill pickles or pickled cherry peppers and it's a heaven in your mouth.
- 6 pork loin pork chops (cut 1 inch thick)
- 1/2 tsp vegetable oil
Pork chop dry seasoningn mix
- 1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 1/2 tsp onion powder
- 1/4 tsp garlic powder
- 1/4 tsp ground white pepper
- 1/4 tsp dry mustard
- 1/4 tsp ground sage
- 1/4 tsp ground cumun
- 1/4 tsp dried thyme (crushed)
For the browned garlic butter
- 6 Tbsp butter
- 2 cloves garlic (pressed)
- 1 tsp fresh parsley (finely chopped)
- 1 tsp hot sauce
- 1 Tbsp lemon juice
- 1 tsp ground black pepper
- Preheat oven to 350F.
- Heat the oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the pork chops and brown on both sides, about 1 minute per side. I recommend browning three pork chops at a time as browning them all at the same time causes overcrowding and poor browning.
- Transfer the chops to a baking sheet lined with foil and let rest for a few minutes.
- Meanwhile, combine all of the dry seasoning mix ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.
- Sprinkle with the dry seasoning mix on both sides and rub into the meat with your fingertips.
- Transfer the pan to the oven and bake at 350F for 8-10 minutes or until the internal temperature of the meat reaches 145F. Remove from the oven.
- Transfer the pork chops to a warm serving platter, cover loosely with a piece of foil and let rest.
- In the meantime, heat butter in a small saucepan until melted. Add the garlic and cook over medium-high heat for 2 minutes, or until the foam just starts to turn brown. Stir in parsley, hot sauce, lemon juice and black pepper. Cook until the sauce is lightly browned.
- Take off the heat and immediately drizzle over the pork chops and serve.