I Killed My Pork, Again
The headline above is how one reader got my attention in yesterday's What's Cooking. Below, the details on the pork-y misadventures:
For the life of me I can't manage to cook pork chops correctly. The only time I was successful was when I first coated the chops in eggs and then crumbled up Doritos and then sauted in a pan on both sides. Last night I seared one-inch-thick chops on both sides for about 3 min/side and then put in an oven proof pan with some stock and wine at the bottom, covered with aluminum foil and cooked for an hour at 300. They were definitely cooked through but dry (even though there was plenty of liquid left). What am I doing wrong? What can I do with the leftover two pork chops? What should I do the next time?
Sounds like a case of the overcooked blues, dear. Nothing more serious than understanding that the pork chop, which comes from the loin of the pig, is tender meat territory and as such, requires far less cooking time than your original prescription. Besides, pork is much leaner now than the stuff we grew up on, which means we no longer need to cook the meat for hours to reach a tender state.
The loin is located on the upper back of the pig and covers a large swath, from the back end of the shoulder to the beginning of the leg (ham country). Within this area, there are five chops: the blade chop (from the shoulder end), the sirloin chip (from the hip end) and the trio of "center cuts" -- the rib chop, center loin chop and top loin chop -- which I'm betting is what you had for supper the other night.
So, on your next pork adventure, shave off about 40 minutes from your original cooking time -- think seven minutes on each side on the grill or in the skillet -- plus three or four minutes longer, or until the internal temperature is about 150 degrees. This means a little pink will be showing. Let the chops rest off the heat (cover with a lid or with foil), and their internal temperature will keep rising -- by about five degrees. So instead of an hour, that's about 20 minutes, tops.
For all meat heads, I highly recommend "How to Cook Meat" by Chris Schlesinger and John Willoughby; it's a terrific resource, with sections on beef, lamb, pork and veal, including anatomy, butcher lingo and tons of recipes.
Meanwhile, if you've got additional pork chop tidbits to share, do so in the comments area below.
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