The dry rub recipe makes 1/2 cup, for which you will only need 1 or 2 teaspoons for this recipe. Save the rest for future use!
For Dad's dry rub (makes 1/2 cup):
- 1/4 cup cumin seeds
- 3 tablespoons whole black peppercorns
- 1 tablespoon coriander seeds
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
For the pork chops:
- 4 pork chops (bone-in or boneless)
- 1 teaspoon bacon fat or extra virgin olive oil
- 1 to 2 teaspoons dry rub
1 Make the dry rub: 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, spice grinder, or with a mortar and pestle. Transfer to a small bowl. Mix in sugar and salt.
2 Prep the pan and the pork: Heat a large cast iron frying pan to medium high or high heat (hot enough to sear the meat).
If using bone-in chops, score the fat that surrounds the chops with a couple vertical cuts to help prevent the chops from buckling as they cook.
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 pork chops over and repeat on the other side.
3 Add the chops to the pan: 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 pork chops into the pan sprinkle each side with a little salt, or you can salt the chops in the pan.
Place the pork chops with the thickest, boniest parts toward the center of the pan where they get the most heat. Make sure the chops are not crowding each other too much.
You may need to cook them in batches. There should be space between the chops in the pan or the meat will steam and not sear properly.
4 Sear the chops on both sides: Sear the pork chops, about 2 minutes on each side. Watch carefully, as soon as the chops are browned, flip them. As soon as you flip the pork 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.
5 Cover pan if working with thick chops to finish cooking: If you have chops that are a lot thicker than 3/4-inch (many are sold that are 1 1/2-inches thick), you can put a cover on the pan and let the pork chops finish cooking 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, turn the heat to low and cover.
The easiest way to tell when the pork chops are done is to press on them with your fingertip. If they are firm to the touch, they are done. (See the touch test.) If you wait until you see juice oozing out of the top of a 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.