It’s an age-old question – how long do I cook pork chops to make sure they’re safe to eat? Can I still keeping a tender, buttery texture I want without overcooking? When it comes to cooking pork, there’s a fine line between perfect doneness and the consistency of tack leather (which, sadly, seems to be a rite of passage for home cooks, like learning how to make homemade pasta.
I get a lot of questions when people read my pan to oven baked pork chop recipe. It’s not hard at all to learn to cook perfect pork chops with your natural instincts. And if all else fails, cheat! If you really want to ‘know how long do I cook pork chops,’ I have a recipe below that will tell you exactly how long to cook your pork chops, and you can print it out to keep handy.
Also! If you’re cooking pork, then you need to know that meat safety is a big issue. I’ve added a free meat safety guide this post, which you can download by clicking the image below.
The truth is that it’s impossible to say how long to cook pork chops for, because it all depends on thickness. The sides of the pork chop can vary a great deal from cut to cut. So, a half-pound pork chop could be 1-inch thick and 3-inches wide, or if could be ½-inch thick and 5-inches wide. This is why it’s WAY easier to just use the internal temperature of the chop and be done with it.
The best tool to test the internal temperature of the pork chop is with is a probe thermometer that constantly measures the temperature of the chop while it’s in the oven. You can also manually check using an instant read thermometer. I personally use one called a Thermapen, but there are lots of brands out there that work as well. More about that below.
Pork cooking safety details
A lot of folks wonder, how long do I cook pork chops to kill the dreaded trichinella, salmonella, and other nasties? To kill these pathogens, pork must be cooked to at least 160°F 145°F! The USDA recently lowered their advisory for safe pork cooking temperatures, so that means more tender pork for all of us!
Trichinella is also killed when pork is frozen at -5°F for 25 days, or to -22°F for 25 hours. So you can keep than in mind if you’re freezing your pork before eating it — your freezer temperature can play a factor in how safe your meat is to eat. (Source: Center for Disease Control)
I prefer my pork a little pinker than 160°F (71°C), so I heat it to 155°F (68°C). That means that I cook the meat to 150°F (65°C). Then I remove it from the oven and let the chops rest for ten minutes covered with foil. This brings the core temp up to 155°F (68°C) before it cools down.
How long do I cook pork chops?
So how long do you cook pork chops, and how do you know when your pork chops are done? It really depends on the cut you’re cooking, its thickness and the temperature of your preheated oven. The recipe below will tell you exactly how long to cook 1-inch thick bone-in pork chops, but if you’re cooking thinner pork chops, they’ll take less time. So watch them carefully!
The best way to test how done your meat is… by touching it. This simple touch-test tutorial from the Exploratorium is really helpful for learning to gauge meat’s doneness by touch.
Behold, the digital meat thermometer
All that said, I cheat and use a digital meat thermometer that beeps when the meat is at a temperature I specify. I tend to multitask in the kitchen, and it’s completely characteristic for me to forget about what’s in the oven while I’m manning multiple pots and frying pans on the stovetop. My little $20 meat thermometer has drastically reduced the “oops factor” I tend to experience when short-roasting meats in the oven. Thank you modern technology.
Don’t forget to season those pork chops!!
While you’re wondering “how long do I cook pork chops,” there’s a second factor to keep in mind, and I can’t stress this enough — salt your pork chop (or pork loin, or whatever cut you’re cooking) 24 hours ahead of time. I’m not talking just a pinch of salt; sprinkle all sides of your chops with a fairly generous amount of salt. You want to use more salt because it will penetrate the entire cut of meat, so you need enough to salt the entire internal mass evenly. FYI, you don’t need to sprinkle with black pepper ahead of time. Just salt.
24 hours ahead is ideal, but 12 hours is better than no hours. Even 30 minutes is better than 10 minutes, but still, shoot for 24 hours. One great tip is to salt your meat as soon as you get it home from the store (unless you’re going to freeze it).
Salting ahead of time has two benefits:
- It will season the meat from within, making it WAY more flavorful than if you’d just seasoned with salt and pepper right before cooking. After cooking, you’ll notice the meat is far more flavorful throughout the entire inside of the cut pork chop, not just on the surface. You won’t need extra seasoning like onion powder to make it taste great.
- The salt that’s soaked into the inside of the meat will help keep it more tender than if you’d salted it 15 minutes or less before cooking.
So make sure you salt your meat, which will make your job of cooking those chops easier (and more tasty in the end).
- 4 bone-in pork chops, (about 1" thick)
- Salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste
- 2 tablespoon olive oil, divided
- Preheat oven to 425°F (218°C)
- Season pork chops with salt and pepper.
- Heat a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add 1 tablespoon of oil and heat for 30 seconds.
- Add pork chops, 2 at a time. Sear on each side until well browned. Once both sides are seared, remove from pan and sear the other two pork chops with the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil.
- Once all the pork chops are seared, fit them all into the pan at the same time. Slide the frying pan into the oven. Cook the pork chops for 15 to 20 minutes, until a meat thermometer inserted in the pork reads 140°F (60°C).
- Remove the pork chops from the oven, cover with foil, and let rest for 5 minutes before serving.
This content was originally posted on FearlessFresh.com.
This content was originally posted on FearlessFresh.com.