Five Ways to Turn Pork Chops into
Dinner Tonight

Pork chops are easy, quick, and inexpensive.  It doesn’t take much more time to stuff them.  In this post we’ll give you

•  Step-by-step instructions with photos
•  The secrets to great pork chops
•  A guide for grilling, baking, or frying
•  How to tell when they are done
•  Five great recipes for dinner

How to Stuff Pork Chops

Stuffed pork chops are one of those foods that is easy to make for the family on a busy day and impressive enough that you can present to company.   They are versatile:  You can use both sweet and savory fillings with an endless array of choices.  Since you can grill them as well as fry or bake them, you can cook them on the patio when the weather is nice.

Just follow these directions and illustrations.

Cutting the opening.

With a thin-bladed knife, cut pockets in the pork chops.  Place the pork chops on a cutting board.  Holding the knife parallel to the board, cut a pocket into the pork, starting from the fatty side and going nearly all the way through but leaving the sides intact and the opening small.

Stuffing the pork chop

Stuff about 1/3 cup of your filling into each pork chop, reserving any that does not fit into the pockets.  Push the filling far into the pocket of each pork chop and away from the opening.  Push two toothpicks diagonally through the outer edges of the pork chop to secure the opening.  They are now ready to cook.

Cooking Your Pork Chops: Frying, Grilling, or Baking?

To cook the pork chops in a skillet, cook them in butter for about six to eight minutes on each side or
until done.

To cook them on the grill, brush the pork chops with oil and then cook them for four to eight minutes on each side over medium heat.

To bake them in the oven, place the pork chops on a lightly oiled baking sheet (or on a rack on a baking sheet if you would like to keep the pork chops out of the pan juices).  Cover the pan with aluminum foil and tightly press the foil around the edges to trap steam and keep the chops from drying out.  Bake for about 45 minutes at 350 degrees.

What are the advantages of each cooking method?

The advantage of grilling pork chops is that you get to do it outside.  Plus you get the smoky flavor of open flames.

The advantage of frying is that it is quick and easy.  And you don’t have to heat up the kitchen.

The advantage of baking is that you can cover the pork chops with foil to capture steam so that your meat does not dry out.  Oven baked pork chops are moist and juicy.  Plus you can stick them in the oven and forget about them for three-quarters of an hour.

How do I tell when they are done?

It is critical that pork is cooked just right.  If it is cooked too long, it will be ruined.  For food safety, it needs to be cooked enough.  So that you don’t over-cook or under-cook your pork, use an insta-read thermometer.  The internal temperature should reach at least 160 degrees.

Meat—pork, chicken breasts, or steaks—becomes firmer as it cooks.  If your guests aren’t squeamish, you can poke your meat with your finger as it cooks.  When it is rare, the meat is soft.  When it is well done, the meat is firm.  With a little practice, you can get pretty good at it.  But it’s still a good idea to check doneness with a thermometer until you are practiced.

The Secrets of Great Pork Chops

  • Don’t overcook them.  If you overcook them, they will be dry and tough
    and no recipe will rescue them.

  • Buy a good cut of meat.
  • Season them well.  Pork is mild and it is the seasoning that brings out the flavoring.  Pork is adaptive to a wide range of flavors so feel free to experiment.

I’m in love with the spice blends from Teeny Tiny Spice Company of Vermont.  They do an exceptional job.  When I cook pork, I pick a different spice from my cabinet.  It’s fun to explore and I’ve never been disappointed.  Ras el Honout is good place to start.

Five Great Recipes for Dinner

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