Another one of those recipes that almost got left behind during my transition to a self -hosted account. I took the photos weeks ago and I even uploaded them to my site but never got around to write about it which is weird.. guess was distracted by trying not to destroy my blog while making changes to it. It’s happened before.
I love pork chops but they can go wrong pretty easily. They overcook really quick. And you know what that’s like.. yeah… rubber soles. Totally unattractive. If you have the time and the equipment go sous vide. No doubt about that. If you don’t, then sear the meat in a really hot pan a couple of minutes per side. Obviously we’re dealing with pork and we need to make sure it is safe to eat. Trichinosis is a concern and pork should be cooked throughly. Cooking meat throughly doesn’t mean overcooking it though. The parasite in question actually dies at fairly low temperatures which is great news. This excerpt from a USDA document is interesting:
Cooking – Commercial preparation of pork products by cooking requires that meat be heated to internal temperatures which have been shown to inactivate trichinae. For example, Trichinella spiralis is killed in 47 minutes at 52° C (125.6° F), in 6 minutes at 55° C (131° F), and in < 1 minute at 60° C (140° F). It should be noted that these times and temperatures apply only when the product reaches and maintains temperatures evenly distributed throughout the meat. Alternative methods of heating, particularly the use of microwaves, have been shown to give different results, with parasites not completely inactivated when product was heated to reach a prescribed end-point temperature. The U.S. Code of Federal Regulations for processed pork products reflects experimental data, and requires pork to be cooked for 2 hours at 52.2° C (126° F), for 15 minutes at 55.6° C (132° F), and for 1 minute at 60° C (140° F).
But how can one translate this into a recipe? If you’re cooking the meat sous vide… it’s a no brainer. Set the water bath to 125.6F and cook the meat until the core has spent 47 minutes at this temperature for example. Of course. bear in mind that depending on the thickness of the chop, the total cooking time will need to be calculated. It’s usually a few hours for individual chops just like the paragraph above suggests. Check out my pork chop recipe cooked sous vide with cucumber and pineapple salad.
Now, if you’re cooking the chops on a skillet… things get a bit trickier and experience plays a big role in getting the meat cooked through but not overcooked. The thicker the chop, the trickier it gets. The leaner the chop, the quicker it overcooks… a total kitchen nightmare. I personally observe a few things while pan searing pork chops at home which has helped me quite a bit:
- Thickness… I stay at about a inch or less other wise, sous vide, grill or roast.
- I bring the meat to room temperature.
- I salt the meat way ahead of time.
- If I have time I brine the chops instead
- I use a thermometer.
- I sear the chops in a really hot skillet a couple of mins per side. Or just one side if not too thick.
- I check internal temperature at various points.
- I finish in the oven if needed otherwise…
- I cover the pan with a lid and remove from the heat until cooked through.
- This might take several minutes so I check with a thermometer periodically.
Sounds like a pain in the ass and it is but some repetition helps. Done a few times it becomes second nature. To my advantage it’s really hard not to kill this parasite and its existence has been nearly eradicated, at least from US industrially grown pigs. But better safe than sorry. If I work above 130F for the internal temperature it should make the meat be safe to eat (other common pathogens will be destroyed as well) and the chops should still be juicy which is what I was trying to get to after all that USFA talk… I’m panting.
Anyways, don’t take my word for it. I’m not an expert in the field but that’s the sort of stuff I keep in mind when I’m cooking pork. Same with game meats.
So moving on! Here is the recipe:
- 2 3/4 inch lean pork chops.
- Salt and pepper.
- 1 cucumber cut into slices.
- 1/2 red onion cut into think slices.
- 2 Tbsp of cooked sweet corn.
- 2 Tsp olive oil.
- 2 Tsp of some sharp white vinegar like champagne.
- Salt and pepper.
- 1. Salt and pepper the chops generously on both side.
- 2. Allow to sit on the counter for about an hour. Bring to room temp.
- 3. Dry with paper towels.
- 4. Sear on a skillet until golden on one side.
- 5. Turn and cover with a lid. Remove from the heat.
- 6. Check temperature through the process.
- 7. Make sure the meat has been cooked above 130F.
- 8. Allow the chops to rest for a few minutes before serving. Make the relish.
- 1. Mix all the ingredients in a bowl.
- 2. Allow to seep for about 10 minutes.
- 3. Strain the relish. You can keep the vinaigrette for other uses.
- 4. Serve next to your pork chops. Enjoy