There is an art to cooking pastured pork chops ‘just right’. Here at the farm, we almost never get to eat our chops because they sell out every week at the Farmers’ Market. So when we finally got the opportunity, we searched the web for recipes.
What we found was simply amazing! Chef Kenji Lopez-Alt has a wonderful webpage dedicated to pork chops. Everything you ever wanted to know.
We highly recommend the Reverse Sear method.
Traditionally, steaks and chops are cooked by searing first, and then finished off in the oven to cook the meat through. This method is based on the myth that searing locks in juices (it doesn’t). If you reverse these two steps—start your meat in a low oven first then sear it after—you get far superior results.
Starting the meat at a relatively gentle pace leads to meat that’s far more evenly cooked from edge to edge. What’s more, the exterior of your chop will dry out significantly during its stay in the warm oven, leading to faster searing.
First, rub your chops thoroughly with your favourite dry rub. We used Memphis Dust. Place on a rack over a baking tray. Leave at room temperature for about an hour.
Put the chops in a 250°F oven until they hit between 110 and 120°F (knowing that they’ll continue to heat up a bit in the pan) before pulling them out and placing them in a ripping hot cast iron skillet with oil and butter to sear.
You may choose to add some aromatics to the fry pan. Some sliced shallots and thyme do nicely, and piling them on top of the chops, spooning hot butter and pork drippings over them, helps get their flavor to coat the meat without burning.
The chop requires very little resting time after it comes out of the skillet. All you have to do is plate it up and go.