How To Prevent Pork Chops From Drying Out

Pork chops are just about the perfect weeknight protein, but dry, tough chops are nobody's idea of a good time. Like their poultry parallel the chicken breast, pork chops have the advantage of being quick and versatile. They can work with any number of sauces, spices, and cooking techniques and can produce a satisfying meal in under twenty minutes. They also have the advantage of being a pretty lean meat. Pork chops are packed with nutrients like zinc and iron, and they are a hearty, filling main course, but they don't have the fat that some other, less healthy cuts of meat do. It all adds up to a relatively satisfying dinner, and an easy staple that has made its way into the dinner rotation of families around the country.

However, the meat's leanness can be a downside when it comes to texture. Fat doesn't just mean flavor, it also means moisture and pork chops are prone to drying out. For anyone who grew up eating those easy weeknight pork chops, memories of leathery pork chops that you had to saw through like a log may have sullied your opinions of the cut. Part of that was outdated ideas over how high a temperature pork had to be cooked to, but it is also just part of the unforgiving nature of the cut. Thankfully there is a simple solution to prevent dry pork chops, and it has the added benefit of making them tastier too.

Baste your pork chops in butter

Is there any problem butter can't solve? When it comes to kitchen problems, at least, a knob of butter is an answer you can almost never go wrong with. You can counteract pork chops' lack of fat by introducing a little extra from the outside toward the end of cooking them. Butter basting is a common technique with steak, but it works just as well here, keeping your chops juicy and coating them with flavor. All it takes is adding a few tablespoons into your pan. Once the butter has melted, simply tilt the pan toward you and spoon it over your chops until they hit the ideal internal temperature, 145 degrees Fahrenheit. You can even liven up your basting mixture by tossing in some herbs, chiles, or garlic, as the hot butter will draw out the herbal flavors, adding extra dimension and depth to your pork. 

Once they've reached temperature, the only additional step is to let your chops rest for at least five minutes per inch. Not only does this allow the muscle tissue to relax, but the cut will also retain moisture better, keeping it juicy and scrumptious. You can also spoon whatever butter is left over the rested chops like a pan sauce. 

With these simple steps, you can permanently make dry pork chops a thing of the past.