Alright, we’re pretty excited about this one.
There aren’t many things we look forward to more than steak night, but… sorry, steak, this one has you beat.
Really? Pork chops?
Yep, pork chops.
We know: you’ve had dry, white, chewy pork chops before that barely rate a “Meh”.
We used to feel the same way.
Two things: a) poor quality meat, b) cooked just… all wrong.
With a quality chop from a butcher you trust and cooked right (we’ll show you how), the pork chop can be a thing of high cuisine—a tender, juicy meat that will have you savoring every exquisite mouthful.
Pork is NOT “the other white meat”, okay? Cooked properly, it should be mildly pink and tender on the inside, seasoned well on the outside, and layered with crispy, delicious fat.
(Just check out the pictures below—if your mouth doesn’t water you’re probably broken. Go get your salivary glands checked. Or, umm, maybe your head.)
We’re using French-cut or “Frenched” chops. Not only are they aesthetically-pleasing but we’re also getting some of that good connective tissue—things like glucosamine, collagen, chondroitin, elastin—that support your joint, skin, and brain health. Things that can only be gotten by gnawing meat off bones—they have no analog in the plant world. (Ah, so that’s why we omnivores have better skin and brains! 😛 )
Oh, you may be wondering about the name… Slayer Chops? It’s a nod to the chops sold by our favorite butcher/cafe: Salt and Time in Austin, TX. If you’re in the area go check them out for lunch, or load up on a couple armfuls of meat, or even take a class on sausage-making—you won’t regret it. With us it’s a compulsion… their Slayer Chops call to us. There’s always a little panic that they might be sold out, but there they sit, every time, in all their marbled fat glory… with their name written exactly like the band logo. Yep, that Slayer. Do we know why? Nope. But who are we to question genius? Culinary or musical.
- 2 Frenched Pork Chops
- 1 tsp. Salt and 1/2 tsp. Pepper and/or seasoning of your choice. (On this one we used some salt + Savory Spice Shop‘s Red Rocks Hickory Smoke Seasoning. Sooo good.)
- a timer (watch, phone, or oven timer)
- meat thermometer (helpful, but not necessary – see #6 below)
Prep Time: 10 mins. (if chops are already room temp, see step #1 below)
Cook Time: 5 mins.
1. Allow pork chops at least 1.5 hrs. to come to room temperature. They won’t cook evenly if they’re cold. (Meanwhile, read the instructions here in advance, especially #8, until you understand the timing and the doneness you’re going for. It’s easier than it sounds, but it can’t hurt to rehearse it.)
2. Place a 12-inch cast iron skillet on the middle rack of the oven and preheat to 475.
3. Three or four minutes before the oven is done preheating, preheat the stovetop on medium high heat. (8 of 10 on our cooktop, for example)
4. At this point it’s probably a good idea to open the windows in your kitchen… perhaps get someone standing by with a towel near the smoke alarm. Things are gonna get smoky.
5. Remove skillet from preheated oven, and put on preheated stovetop..
6. If you aren’t using an instant-read meat thermometer, give your room-temperature chops a gentle prod to get the feel for how firm the meat is. This is your baseline. You’ll use this same method to test for doneness later, and will need a reference if you’ve never tried this method out before.
7. IMMEDIATELY prior to putting chops in the pan, season chops liberally on all sides with salt and pepper or seasoning of choice. (Why is this timing important? SCIENCE!) Get your timer ready…
8. Timing is everything here:
- Put chops in skillet, fat side down, for 45 seconds.
- Flip to meat side #1 for 30 seconds, then
- Flip to side #2 for another 30 seconds.
- Flip back to side #1, and put skillet in oven for 2 minutes.
- Test doneness with tongs/fingers/thermometer:
- If already firmed/rare (125-130) flip to side #2, and retest after 1 minute.
- If still raw (below 120) flip to side #2 for another 2 minutes.
- You want to take out the chops at the rare/medium rare border (135 internal temp) so they end up just at medium-rare after resting (145). If you like yours slightly more cooked, add 30 seconds in the oven for each side – e.g., 2:30 for medium, 3 mins for medium-well, etc. (Oh, and if you are worried about under-cooked pork, read this. Pork is a bit more forgiving that beef. Pork is graded in fifteen-degree increments, whereas beef is in tens. I know this recipe sounds very science-y and specific, but it’s honestly VERY easy.)
9. Remove chops from skillet, tent with foil and let rest 10 minutes. Don’t skip this step. We know how hard it is to let them sit when they look so good. You’ll probably give it “sexy eyes” a time or two before you put it on the plate. Serve whole or sliced, but either way… don’t trim the fat. Eat it. Its like bacon-y butter. Only maybe better. Like, lots better. (Drool…)