Mom’s Perfect Pork Chops

Pan-fried pork chops on the stovetop are so quick and easy! Use a homemade dry rub to really bring out the flavor of the chops.

Sometimes the best food is really the simplest.

We experiment frequently with different ways of preparing pork chops, but the way we have pork chops most regularly is with a simple dry rub and pan frying. My mother has been making chops this way for years!

How to Season Pork Chops

We use a favorite dry rub recipe of my father’s, which includes cumin, black pepper, coriander, sugar, and salt. It requires some advance preparation — heating the whole spices to release their aromas, and grinding them in a blender or spice grinder.

The dry rub instructions make 1/2 cup of dry rub, for which you will only need 1 or 2 teaspoons for this recipe. Once we make a batch of the rub, we just use what we need and save the rest for future pork chops.

Why grind fresh spices instead of using already ground? Grinding fresh spices guarantees better flavor, so if you have the time and the whole spices, we recommend it.

If we are out of the dry rub, my mother will typically uses a bit of paprika, salt and pepper to season the chops.

How to Tell When Pork Chops are Done

My mother uses a touch test, which is easy to learn, and which I now use as well. (The firmer the meat, the more cooked it is.) If you wait until you see juice oozing out of the top of the chop, it is definitely done.

You can also check the internal temperature of the pork with a digital thermometer; when the pork registers 145°F in the middle, it’s done.

Benefit of using a cast iron pan to cook pork chops

My mother likes to use a cast iron pan to cook pork chops. A cast iron pan may be slower to heat initially, but it holds its heat well. Once the chops get a good sear on both sides, mom turns off the heat and lets the pork chops continue to cook gently in the residual heat.

This approach saves energy and helps prevent the chops from over-cooking. After a couple minutes the cooling pan helps keep the pork chops warm.

What to serve with pork chops?

Pork chops will go with practically anything — potatoes, pasta, rice for starch, and kale, spinach, broccoli, or Brussels sprouts for green vegetables.

Pork loves being paired with fruit! The sweetness in fruit brings out the natural sweetness in the pork. Applesauce or cooked apple slices pair perfectly with pork.

Sauerkraut is another natural accompaniment to pork; its sweet/sour tanginess intensifies the flavors of the pork. Other forms of cooked cabbage work well too.


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