Perfection in Pan Seared Pork Chops

Ya ever have a hard time frying a pork chop? Ever sit down to your meal and just shake your head and think maybe some day you’ll get it right? Well, we’re smarter now, huh. We have that dumb Cook’s Illustrated and we all know now that we need to brine or make sure we get a thick one. Blah, blah, blah. But what if you’re at the store doing some shopping and you get the urge for a nice pork chop dinner for tonight? No time for brining and finding a thick pork chop at the local grocery can be few and far between. Aroo?

It’s time for a pork steak! It’s cut from the sirloin, has a bit more fat (flavor), it’s cheaper and it’s moist when it’s thinnish. Did you know “thinnish” is a real word? Yup, I checked. We only use the finest real words here at Meathenge Labs.
Okay, so I cheated here a bit. This pork steak is from Ted of Highland Hills Farm. The Cyprus Sea Salt Flakes are from Rob at Salt Traders. And the Hand-Picked Muntok White Peppercorns are also from Rob. Nice pepper, a little spikier than the creamy white and not quite as, well, creamy.
Liberally salt the steak, grind on the pepper. Or hold off on the pepper for a finish, I didn’t notice if it had burned during the process, do what you feel is right. Get yer pan smoking hot, add enough oil to just cover the bottom of the pan. Install steak and rest a bacon press on the sucker. You may have to move the weight around a bit to make things even. Do not press down! We want just enough pressure for even browning. See?

Sear the chop until it’s about 138 degrees internal temp. If you don’t have a decent enough temperature probe, get one. If you can’t afford one, buy a dozen steaks and practice. Wanna know why?

Juicy, porky and all the meat caramel one could ask for. Even had some crunch to it, here and there. Center cut pork chops are fine if you can wait for the thick ones. But brother, or sister, this pork sirloin steak rules my planet at the moment.

9 thoughts on “Perfection in Pan Seared Pork Chops

  1. I think I can manage without the thermometer. 138 is approaching medium well, yes? About as firm as the muscle between yer thumb and index finger when you’ve got a semi-tight fist 😉
    This is how I usually cook mine, too. well, without the super fancy salt and pepper, I just use kosher salt and reg’lar old black pepper, but it’s still looking mighty good!

  2. Hey Jerry,
    Nope, 138 for pork is pretty rare. The carry over takes it to about 140 for something that thin and this leaves the center quite pink. It’s just ‘barely’ a legal temp for serving pork. Lamb, goat & beef can go down to what? I used to pull mine about 125 I think. I used to cook by feel, haven’t got the attention span anymore. I used to grill and smoke my meat the same way. But with the arrival of children, it’s just one less thing I have to worry about.
    I love the fancy salts and peppers, more so the peppers. The creamy white & muntok white peppers replaced my black choice several years ago. I’ve never looked back and don’t intend to. Man, the flavors from the creamy version are more than really great.

  3. U ole’ Ghu-rhu!
    You make it all sound so simple! I’ve yet to cook anything “pork” that resembles what you achieve. Golly, though, I sure do love to see your pics and read your “easy to follow” directions!

  4. Great call on the pork steak. I rarely make pork chops any more since they are so lean these days they get too dried out and flavorless. I’m going to have to give the steak route a try.

  5. We all owe you big time for figuring this out. I have been ready to throw today’s lean pork chops out the window but now you give me hope with this cut of pig. I am gonna try it soonest. Since I don’t have a bacon press I will use a small cast iron skillet to hold it down. Thanks so much!