Last Updated on September 16, 2023 by Liza Hawkins
Juicy skillet fried thick-cut pork chops are a favorite in our house because they’re easy to make on a busy weeknight and fall-off-the-bone tender!
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I was flipping by Food Network the other day and managed to catch an episode of Good Eats where Alton Brown was busy searing a couple of thick pork chops in preparation for a few hours’ roasting in a slow cooker.
He had sliced apples and caramelized onions ready to go, along with a pan sauce lovingly finished off with butter and scraped bits from the bottom of the pan.
It looked wonderful — so warm and comforting! It’s a recipe I’ve tucked away for fall’s crisp, blustery evenings.
But … those pork chops!
Pork chops that are thick, juicy and seared just enough in a cast iron skillet (more on this in a moment) to make a nice crust — yes, we need to have those any time of the year, with lovely accouterments like applesauce, a big salad, or corn on the cob.
Those crispy bits left in the skillet from the pork chop crust make for a super delicious homemade gravy, too, if you’re in the mood for mashed potatoes. Is there ever a time to not be into mashed potatoes?
Yep. Exactly all of this. It’s amazing how food can bring so much comfort in just a few bites.
Benefits of Using a Cast Iron Skillet for Pork Chops
Let’s dive into the wonderful world of cooking thick pork chops in your trusty cast iron skillet. First things first, though. If you don’t already have a cast iron skillet, it’s easy enough to get your hands on one. All the big box stores carry them in their kitchenware section. You can also find options on Amazon like this Lodge 10.5″ skillet or a bundled set like this Overmont dutch oven and skillet combo. Cast iron lasts forever, so other sources to check out are flea markets, garage sales, and thrift or antique stores. The set I have used to be my grandmother’s, so hand-me-downs are an option, too!
The Perfect Sear
One of the standout advantages of using a cast iron skillet is its ability to deliver the perfect sear. When you’re dealing with thick pork chops, achieving that beautiful caramelized crust while keeping the interior tender and juicy can be a challenge. But fear not, the cast iron skillet is here to save the day. The even heat distribution and high heat retention of cast iron make it ideal for creating that mouthwatering sear we all crave.
Locking in Juiciness
Nobody likes a dry pork chop, and that’s where the cast iron skillet shines once again. Its heat retention properties ensure that your chop stays sizzling hot throughout the cooking process. This helps lock in the juices, resulting in a succulent and flavorful pork chop every time. Plus, the natural fats in the pork will season the skillet, enhancing the flavor of future dishes you cook in it and creating a natural non-stick surface over time.
If you’re into fun flavor experiments, you’ll love the versatility of seasonings when using a cast iron skillet. You can take your pork chops in a variety of directions, whether it’s a classic rosemary and garlic rub, a smoky barbecue seasoning, sage infused oil, or a sweet and tangy glaze. The skillet’s heat tolerance allows for creative seasoning experiments, adding depth and character to your dish.
Cast iron pans are also versatile when it comes to cooking methods. Whether you’re sautéing over a stove top (or a campfire!), tossing the skillet into the oven for a lower and slower method, or a blend of cooking methods, cast iron can meet your needs!
A Sustainable Choice
For those of us who appreciate not only the taste but also the environmental impact of our food choices, cast iron skillets are a sustainable option. They are incredibly durable and can last for generations with proper care. By choosing cast iron, you’re reducing the need for disposable cookware, contributing to a more eco-friendly kitchen.
In conclusion, cooking thick pork chops in a cast iron skillet is a winning choice for home cooks of all generations, especially those who appreciate simplicity, flavor, and a dash of history. The perfect sear, juiciness preservation, seasoning versatility, and sustainability make it a standout method. So, fire up that skillet and embark on a culinary journey that’s sure to satisfy your taste buds and warm your heart. Happy cooking!
Juicy skillet-fried pork chops are a favorite — easy to make and fall-off-the-bone tender!
- 2 thick cut (1.5 to 2 inches thick), bone-in pork chops*
- 1 tablespoon sea salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons salted butter
- Add the olive oil and butter to a large skillet and place it over medium-high heat.
- Sprinkle half the salt and pepper to one side of the chops. When the butter has melted and started to foam, add the chops to the skillet seasoned-side down.
- Season the other side with the remaining salt and pepper. Turn the heat down to medium.
- Allow the chops to sear for 5 minutes, and then flip the chops.
- Continue cooking them on the second side for 10 minutes, and then flip the chops one more time. Cook for 5 minutes more, and then remove the chops to a plate to rest for 5 minutes before serving.
*Set the pork chops out on the counter for about 20 minutes prior to cooking so that they warm to room temperature; this helps ensure that they're evenly cooked, all the way to the center.
If your pork chops are thinner, you'll need to reduce the cooking time. 1-inch thick pork chops probably only need a 5-minute sear on each side, followed by 5 minutes of resting afterwards.
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 388Total Fat: 34gSaturated Fat: 12gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 19gCholesterol: 96mgSodium: 3307mgCarbohydrates: 1gFiber: 0gSugar: 0gProtein: 20g