Friday, December 11, 2009

How do I keep my pork chops from drying out? . . . part do

Ok, You found the right pork chop.
Now we're going to cook it.
This is the easy part.

There is really no recipe here, just technique so I'm going to walk you through it.
What you'll need:
- A decent chop
- A heavy bottomed skillet (preferably cast iron or black steal)
- Salt and Pepper
- Some vegetable oil (canola, corn, peanut, grape seed, etc. )
- A pat of butter

Set out your meat ten to fifteen minutes before cooking. This goes for all meat. It lets it come closer to room temperature which allows for more even cooking. If you go straight from the fridge to the pan you wind up heating the outside of the meat, while the inside stays cool.

If the loin of your chop is encased in connective tissue, score the outside. This stops the pork chop from curling up when it hits the heat, preventing it from being in contact with the pan and browning.

These incisions are little deep, you just have to sever the white part on the outside.

Heat your pan well over medium high heat. Put in enough oil to finely coat the pan. Drop in your chop, it should sizzle and pop but not stick. Exactly how hot it gets and how long it cooks is up to you. In other words I think chop take take slower browning with lower heat (still in the medium high range though) while a thin chop would require a smokin' hot pan to brown it before it overcooks.
My chop here is between 1 and 1 1/2 iches thick.
Once in the pan I let the heat slowly penetrate. I would say this cut seared for around 4-5 minutes per side, but the time is kind of irrelevant as long as it is equal per side. All I'm really looking for is nice browning, and a pat of butter half way through the sear will really help accomplish that.
Why all the focus on browning? . . . Would you rather eat a teaspoon of sugar or a teaspoon of caramel? Well, essentially you're turning the sugars that exist in the meat (sugar more refers to the molocule than actual sweetness) in to caramel. So browning=flavor development!

A little butter will really contribute to good browing.

Check out the browning . . . freaking yummy.

Because of the thickness of my chops, they needed three minutes in a 350 degree oven to cook it through. Do this on a separate pan, rather than just sticking the skillet in the oven. If my chop were any thinner it would just be done in the pan.
How do you test for doneness? This is tricky and will definitely require some trial and error. There are numerous gimmicks, with poking and sticking, but my thermometer reads around 142-ish
Now wrap it in tin foil and let it rest. With every meat this is imperative. Browning and baking are extreme heats, this causes the proteins in the "tense up" and they need time to relax. If you were to go cutting into the pork, you'd probably see a raw center sandwiched by two overcooked strips. Resting also allows the heat and the juices to redistribute.

Now you just have to eat the thing!

This is how I love my pork, especially the slice on the right. It's a beautiful medium. and super tasty.

Disclaimer: As with everything you do in life, there is a risk involved with choosing to consume raw and undercooked foods.
If you're not comfortable with it or just don't want to, that's fine.

Special thanks to Ross for the kickin' branding iron, expect to see more branded ingredients.
And for the super die hard fans, email me and we'll schedule a meeting.
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