Mom’s Perfect Pork Chops

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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’s been making chops this way for years. We use a dry rub of my father’s, which requires some advance preparation (when you make some, you make more than you need than for just a few pork chops).

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

Mom’s Perfect Pork Chops Recipe

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  • Prep time: 10 minutes
  • Cook time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4-6, depending on the thickness of the chops.

Ingredients

  • 4 pork chops
  • 1 teaspoon bacon fat, grapeseed oil, or olive oil (or other high smoke point oil)
  • Salt
  • 1-2 teaspoons of dry rub*

*Dad's dry rub:

  • 1/4 cup cumin seeds
  • 3 Tbsp whole black peppercorns
  • 1 Tbsp coriander seeds
  • 2 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt

Combine cumin, peppercorns, and coriander in a heavy medium skillet. Stir over medium heat until fragrant and toasted, about 8 minutes. Cool slightly. Finely grind toasted spices in blender. Transfer to a small bowl. Mix in sugar and salt. Makes 1/2 cup.

Method

1 Heat a large cast iron frying pan to medium high or high heat (hot enough to sear the meat). While the pan is heating, sprinkle a pinch of dry rub spices (about 1/8 teaspoon or a little more) on each of the pork chops. Using your fingers, rub the spices into the meat. Turn the chops over and repeat on the other side.

2 Once the pan is hot, add a teaspoon of oil or fat to the pan and coat the bottom of the pan. Right before you put the chops into the pan sprinkle each side with a little salt, or you can salt the chops in the pan. Put the chops in the pan. Make sure they are not crowding each other too much. There should be space between the chops in the pan or the meat will steam and not sear properly.

Tip: Arrange the chops in the pan with the thickest, boniest parts towards the center of the pan where they get the most heat.

3 Sear the chops, about 2 minutes on each side. Watch carefully, as soon as the chops are browned, flip them. As soon as you flip the chops, if you are using a cast iron pan, you can turn off the heat. Cast iron holds heat very well and there will be enough heat in the pan to finish cooking the meat.

If you have chops that are a lot thicker than 3/4" (many are sold that are 1 1/2"-thick), you can put a cover on the pan and let the chops finish cook for 5 minutes or so (if you are using a cast iron pan and have turned off the heat, there should be enough heat if you cover the pan to finish the cooking of a thicker chop, if not, lower the heat to low and cover.

How do you know when the chops are done? Mom uses a touch test which with practice I've learned as well. If you wait until you see juice oozing out of the top of the chop, it is definitely done. Mom typically just keeps the chops in the pan, the heat is turned off, so the pan is losing heat. The pan initially provides enough heat to sear the second side. As it initially cools it is still cooking, though not searing the meat. After a couple of minutes, it's just keeping the chops warm.

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Links:
Vietnamese pork chops from Josh at the Food Section
Tandori orange spiced pork chops by Jaden of Steamy Kitchen
Pork chops in balsamic fig sauce from Closet Cooking

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Showing 4 of 48 Comments

  • Debbie S

    I love to cook and mastered pork chops a few years ago, at least cooking time and method. Just I had never used the coriander and cumin ( plus sugar) in my past . WE can’t get enough of this, such a perfect blend!! Works quite well on chicken as well and some light fish. Kudos to Elise, this is GREAT!!

  • Holly

    I have never left a comment on this wonderful site but I had to say these chops were THE BEST I have ever made or eaten. My husband hails from a “pork family” while I had never eaten it until I met him. Needless to say, pork sort of intimidates me. Well, I felt as if the culinary golden goblet had landed on my counter-top when these were ready. My husband went on, and on, and on about how absolutely delicious these are. The best he’d EVER eaten in his life (score one for the d-i-l:). Our children said they looked, and tasted, like something you would see at a restaurant. When I made chops with another recipe a few weeks back he sadly said, “Oh, I thought you were going to make the Mom’s Perfect Chops recipe.” I would have normally been a little irked (I don’t enjoy cooking) but took it as a great compliment. The best part, for me, is that he does not know how simple they are to make. Thank you Elise for sharing! Please thank your parents for me too! :)

    Will do! ~Elise

  • Sylvia

    OMG! These are the best pork chops i’ve ever tried to cook! They were perfect!!!

  • Sandra T.

    Oh my! These are the best pork chops I have ever made! I just used salt & pepper and cooked them in bacon fat for 2 minutes in a cast iron pan. Then I flipped them over and left them alone, which was hard to do. They were juicy and full of flavor. Thanks so much!

  • Jennifer L

    Thank you for the recipe!!!

    Made these for my in-laws last night and they told me that if it came down to it, they’d choose me over their son as long as I promised to keep cooking for them. (Laughed my butt off with that one).

    I reduced the amounts for the rub to about 1/4 of what’s called for and used already ground dried spices since that’s what I had on hand and it worked beautifully.

    I also brined the pork chops first for about half an hour. Served it with scalloped potatoes, garlic green beans and applesauce.

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