How to cook cast iron pork chops that are juicy, flavorful and tender.
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About This Pan Seared Pork Chops Recipe
The cast iron skillet stove top method works for a variety of pork chops – boneless or bone in, loin or shoulder, rib or sirloin. You can serve them straight out of the skillet with their own tasty herb infused melted butter and olive oil goodness or whip up a quick pan sauce to drizzle over them.
Ingredients You Will Need to Pan Sear Pork Chops in Cast Iron Skillet
Pork chops. We used thick cut Frenched bone-in pork chops to demonstrate the stove top cast iron skillet cooking method, mostly because they benefit from brining and we wanted to show the process. Boneless pork chops such as loin chops or rib chops can be prepared just the same.
Salt and black pepper. To season the pork chops before you cook them. You can also use garlic powder or paprika to create a golden brown look.
Cooking oil and butter. A tablespoon of butter for flavor and oil so that the butter doesn’t burn.
Herbs and garlic cloves. To flavor the butter and cooking oil we like the combination of thyme and rosemary with a few garlic cloves. Sage or oregano work great too. At the end you can garnish with more fresh herbs.
By way of equipment all you need is a good, heavy cast iron skillet and your stove.
Frenched is really just a fancy way to describe a technique in which the pork chop’s rib bone is exposed after the meat is removed from around it. (You might find this Guide to Pork Chops useful).
Moist Pork Chops Every Time
To avoid preparing cast iron skillet pork chops that are tough and dry you can perform this one step that will help you get juicy pork chops every time – brine them!
- Dissolve 1/2 cup brown sugar and 1/4 cup kosher salt in 1 quart hot water.
- Let cool down completely (a trick you can use is bring only half the water to boil, dissolve the sugar and salt, then add the other half of the needed water by way of ice cubes).
- Place the pork chops in the brine solution. Refrigerate for at least 1 to 2 hours and up to 6-8.
- When ready to cook first pat dry the pork chops with a paper towel.
How to Cook Pork Chops in a Cast Iron Skillet
To make cast-iron pan seared pork chops on the stove all you need to do is:
- brine as shown above, for thicker cuts
- season with salt and pepper on each side
- heat the skillet over medium-high heat and add the butter, olive oil, garlic and herbs like fresh thyme and rosemary, stir around and let get fragrant
- sear the pork chops (you can use a spoon to gently baste with the butter and oil mixture). Do not futz with the stove temperature – keep it at medium-high:)
- remove from the pan and cover loosely with foil and let rest for about 5 minutes
If you are cooking more chops than can fit in your skillet do two batches and add more butter, olive oil etc for the second batch
How Long to Cook Thick Pork Chops on Stove
- For perfect pan-fried pork chops brown nicely on each side, flip only once, until their internal temperature reaches 155 F for medium. We feel this is a good temperature for brined chops. If you prefer to cook them slightly underdone, 145 F is the medium-rare yet food safe temperature for pork chops.
- Use a meat thermometer (affiliate link) to take the temperature and measure in the center of each chop.
- The exact cooking time will depend on the thickness of the pork chops, how many you have in the skillet at the same time, the size of your skillet and your stove top’s burner type (gas or electric, size etc).
- Generally, if you have thinner chops (around 1/2 inch) cook each side for 2 minutes. Cook thick pork chops (around 3/4 to 1 inch or slightly thicker) for 5 minutes per side.
Homemade Sauce for Pan Seared Pork Chops
Obviously you have many options for sauces to serve with the pork chops, including to not use a sauce at all and simply drizzle a bit of the garlic and thyme (or other herb) infused butter and oil mixture you cooked them in.
We love to make a simple mustard cream sauce (with beer mustard when we have some in the fridge). All you have to do is mix heavy cream and mustard in a sauce pan, bring it to simmer and let it reduce.
Side Dish Ideas
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BRINE (Use with Thick Cut or Very Lean Chops)*
- 1 quart hot water
- 1/4 cup kosher salt
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
SKILLET PORK CHOPS
- 2 pork chops
- salt & pepper to taste
- 2 tbsp olive oil (or other cooking oil)
- 1 tbsp butter
- 3-4 sprigs thyme (+ more for garnish if desired)
- 2 sprigs rosemary (+ more for garnish if desired)
- 3 cloves garlic, peeled
Mustard Cream Sauce (Optional)
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 2 tbsp beer mustard or regular whole grain mustard, (optional)
BRINE (FOR THICK CUT OR VERY LEAN CHOPS, OPTIONAL)
- To make a brine dissolve the salt and sugar in the hot water and let the solution cool down completely. Alternatively dissolve the salt and sugar in 2 cups of hot water, then add just over 2 cups of ice cubes - the brine will cool down much faster.
- Submerge the pork chops and soak refrigerated for at least 1-2 hours and up to 6-8. Really thick pork chops can be brined up to 24 hours. When done, remove from the solution and pat dry, then proceed with the steps below.
- Season the pork chops with salt and pepper on each side. (If you brined them keep in mind that they are already infused with salt so go easy on the salt).
- Heat the cast iron skillet on the stove over medium-high heat for about 2 minutes. Add the oil and butter, the peeled whole garlic cloves, thyme, rosemary and give them a stir until fragrant.
- Place the pork chops in the skillet and cook for 2 to 5 minutes per side, possibly a tad longer, depending on how thick they are. Flip only once, when the first side has turned golden brown.
- As the pork chops are cooking, you can baste with the butter/olive in the skillet.
- Use a meat thermometer to measure the internal temperature of the pork chops. Measure in the center of each one. When it reaches 155 F they are at the top of medium doneness.**
- Move to a warm plate and cover with foil, rest the chops for 5 minutes before serving.
CREAMY MUSTARD SAUCE (OPTIONAL)
- In a small saucepan over medium heat combine the heavy cream and the beer mustard (or regular whole grain mustard).
- Bring bring to simmer and let reduce for a couple of minutes until it reaches your desired thickness.
*Brining helps the pork absorb moisture and stay juicy while cooking. This brine solution is enough for 4 pork chops. Read more on When to Brine and When to Marinate.
** This is a good temperature for brined chops. If you prefer to cook them slightly underdone, 145 F is the medium-rare yet food safe temperature for pork chops as advised by the USDA.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 2 Serving Size: 2
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 789Total Fat: 80gSaturated Fat: 39gTrans Fat: 2gUnsaturated Fat: 35gCholesterol: 282mgSodium: 1548mgCarbohydrates: 12gFiber: 1gSugar: 16gProtein: 44g