Pork chops make fast work of dinner because they cook in less than 20 minutes, whether they're boneless or bone-in. They have a mild flavor but can become tough if you overcook them. Conquer both problems with marinades, sauces and glazes.
Pork Chops 101
Pork chops come from the loin portion of the hog, which stretches from the shoulder to the hip. Shoulder chops and center chops, as the names imply, come from the shoulder and center of the loin. Loin chops, which are among the most tender of the cuts, come from the loin end. Sirloin pork chops come from the hip portion and although they're not as attractive as loin chops, they're meaty, flavorful and economical. Most pork chops are sold bone-in. Boneless types, sold as America's cut or top loin chops, are usually at least 1 1/2 to 2 inches thick. Boneless pork chops are convenient and easy to slice and serve, while bone-in types sometimes look more attractive and have a bit of extra flavor.
Although bone-in pork roasts may cook faster than boneless varieties because the bone conducts heat better than meat, pork chops are so small that they have similar cooking times, regardless of whether they have bones or not. The thickness of the pork chop is the main factor in how long it takes to cook, as well as the cooking method and temperature.
Regardless of whether you buy bone-in or boneless pork chops, use a high-heat cooking method and make it quick. Pork chops, like most small, thin cuts of meat, are prone to drying out, especially if you use a long, dry cooking method. You can cook pork chops in a skillet set at medium high to high heat. Cook the pork chops for about five minutes per 1 inch of thickness, on each side. When grilling, plan on five to eight minutes per side. To roast pork chops in the oven, heat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Cook the pork chops in a medium roasting pan for 12 to 15 minutes.
It's hard to know when a pork chop is done based on appearance alone. The flesh should feel firm and should have changed from pink to mostly white. Any juices should run clear. These visual indicators can give you a rough idea that the chops are almost finished, but a meat thermometer is the only way to truly know that the pork chops are safe to eat. Insert a meat thermometer into the thickest portion of the pork chops so it's not touching bone. The pork chops are done when the meat thermometer reads 140 F. Transfer the chops to a heated plate and let them rest for at least three minutes.
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