Saturday, May 9, 2015


All these years, I have been cooking my Pork Chops wrong.

I would just thaw, season and toss them over to a pan of boiling oil. I would usually end up with dried outer meat and raw meat inside. Then, I would try to salvage the situation by either putting the chops back in the pan (where the meat gets burned) or in the microwave (where the meat ends up tough and chewy). The scenario always ends up with me ordering fried chicken for delivery.

I recently found out that a great way to have juicy Pork Chops is to brine them before and oven-roasting.

What is a Pork Chop?

All Pork Chops come from the lomo (loin) section, the part that runs from the hip to the shoulder,  and is cut perpendicularly to the spine. It usually includes a small bony part from the vertebra or a rib. The eye or the center of the chop is the meatiest portion surrounded by meat marbled with fat and ligaments. On the top part ,which is connected to the skin, is a fatty layer.
Image courtesy of Gamekeeper

What is brining?

It is a process of steeping meat (or other kinds of food) in a water-based salt solution to process the flesh and enhance its flavor. In this recipe, brining is used similarly to marinating. Putting the meat in a salt solution creates osmosis.  
Image courtesy of
The salt acts as a solvent that does many wonders. First, it breaks down the semipermeable membranes of microorganisms that thrive in the meat, drawing out water and slowing its growth (which is why salt is often used to preserve food).  But the process of osmosis doesn't stop there. The salt is absorbed into the meat and breaks down the soluble meat proteins, allowing it to surface and coagulate.

Imagine someone chewing the meat for you and then chucking them out into softer, chewier meatloaf. That someone is salt.
Who? Me?
What is roasting?
It is a process of dry heat cooking using where hot air slowly envelops the food, cooking it evenly on all sides with the help of an indirect heat source, like an oven. Oven roasting mainly uses heat convection, the process of transferring heat to the food via a fluid matter like water or air  to  produce browned surfaces and juicy interiors. In oven roasting, the moving warm air transfers heat energy to the surface of the meat. And then conduction happens as the heat travels through it the meat, cooking its inner parts.
Is it hot in here or is it me?
Making juicy Pork chops takes a few more steps and more time but the result  is definitely worth it.

3 cups water
3 tbsps  salt (add 1/2 tbsp. if you're using table salt)
4 garlic cloves
1 tsps black peppercorns
1 bay leaf

Pork Chops
2 Pork Chops, Pork-rib cut, bone in,  about 1 inch thick 
Olive oil
Salt and Pepper to taste
First, brine the pork Chops.
Boil 1 cup of water. Add the salt and stir to dissolve. Add the aromatics and water two cups of cold water. You're doing this to bring down the brine to room temperature. Place the pork chops in a shallow container and pour the brine in. 
The portions here are good for two pieces of chops. If you're cooking more, just add water and salt with a ratio of 1:1.

Refrigerate for 30 minutes to 4 hours. Don't leave it overnight or the meat will be too salty and will fall apart.

Before searing the pork chops, drain them from the brining solution, wash them down with water and pat dry with a paper towel.
By this time, you should also be pre-heating the oven to  400°F.
Season the chops with olive oil, salt and pepper. You can also use soy sauce, but remember, this will darken the meat even faster.
Put the pan in high heat and sear the Pork Chops for about 3 minutes on each side, depending on how thick the cut is. If the pan smokes and the side of the chops turn dark faster than you expected, just lower the heat.
Transfer the Pork chops to the oven and cook for about 6-10 minutes. The thicker the cut, the longer they should be in the oven.
Let the meat rest for about 5 minutes. 
When the meat is roasted, the surface of the meat that gets all the warm air, forces the juices towards the center, saturating it. If you don't let the chop rest, all the extra liquid just spills out. Resting allows the liquid from the center to flow back to the outer parts of the chop.

Now, you're ready to serve your chops.

Here are my chops, served with linguini carbonara and a tomato salsa.
This one's served with mashed potatoes, gravy and salsa.

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