Baked Pork Chops

The juiciest oven-baked pork chops can be yours tonight! My method is quick, easy, and serves up tasty, moist chops every time.

Doesn’t it seem like, no matter what you do, baked pork chops always end up dry and tasteless?

It used to seem like that to me, until I learned just a few simple steps that make all the difference. Now my baked pork chops come out juicy and flavorful every time. Here’s how yours can too.

Get the right chops

I recommend bone-in chops—they’ll be more tender and juicier. And that bone also means the chops take just a couple of minutes longer to cook, which gives you a little more wiggle room between cooked and overcooked.

I also like chops that are at least 3/4-inch thick (a full inch is even better). Because it means that the chops can get a little browning on the outside as well as a perfectly cooked inside. With thinner chops, you usually have to sacrifice one or the other.

Take the time to brine

Brining doesn’t take a lot of hands-on time, but it does take foresight. Because while it’s quick and easy to put together a brine, for the best results you need to do it at least a couple of hours ahead of time.

But it’s worth remembering to do. Brining will probably make the biggest difference of all the tips on this list.

How does brining work? Basically it works in two ways—one, it adds moisture to meat (moisture = juiciness) and, two, it adds salt to the meat (salt = flavor).

See this post for details on how to brine and why it works.

Hot oven, short cook

You want your meat, any meat, perfectly cooked inside and out, right? Because nice browning outside is flavorful, while a perfectly cooked inside is juicy.

With a great big roast, that means cooking it at a relatively low temperature, otherwise it might be overcooked on the outside before it’s cooked through to the inside. Conversely, with something small like a chop, that means cooking at a relatively high temperature, so it’ll get at least a little brown on the outside before it’s overcooked on the inside.

This is similar to the reason I like thicker chops—both thicker chops and a hot oven/short cook will help get both browning and perfect doneness.

Avoid overcooking

Speaking of perfect doneness, overcooking is absolutely the biggest reason why most pork is dry and tough. So if you can avoid this one thing, you’ll be a long way towards juicy pork chops.

So how to avoid overcooking? Easy. If you haven’t yet perfected checking the doneness of a chop by touch, just use a meat thermometer and go for an internal temperature of 145-150°F. That will leave it a little pink inside, which a lot of people don’t realize is absolutely okay with pork. (Here’s a great chart from the National Pork Board showing the doneness of pork by temperature.)

Give it a rest

The final thing to do for juicy chops is also the absolute easiest—because it’s literally doing nothing for five minutes. Let those perfectly cooked chops rest.

Resting changes the protein structure of the meat to where it can hold more moisture. It means the juices won’t all spill out when you first cut into your chops, and that the last bite will be almost as juicy as the first.

Of course, it’s also sort of the hardest thing to do because it means waiting to dig into your perfectly purchased, brined, baked, and juicy pork chops! But you can do it!

Want a few more ideas for pork? Here’s a roundup of my favorite pork chop recipes. And here’s my favorite pork marinade.

Enjoy :)

Christine

 

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Baked Pork Chops


  • Author: Jill Hough
  • Prep Time: 8 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 23 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings

Description

The juiciest oven-baked pork chops can be yours tonight! My method is quick, easy, and serves up tasty, moist chops every time.


Ingredients

  • 4 bone-in pork chops, about 1 inch thick, ideally brined (see this post)
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 tsp. dried sage, rosemary, thyme, or your other favorite herb
  • 1/21 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 3/4 tsp. pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 450°F.
  2. On a rimmed baking sheet, brush both sides of the pork with the olive oil. Sprinkle with the herbs, 1/2  teaspoon salt (or 1 1/4 teaspoon if you didn’t brine), pepper, and garlic powder.
  3. Bake until cooked through, about 15 minutes.
  4. Let rest 5 minutes before serving.