Consider Thickness When Determining The Best Oven Temperature For Pork Chops

Many of us use online recipes when we cook, especially when we're handling meat. After all, if we get the temperature or cooking time for our meat wrong we can end up seriously ill. One thing to remember is that, although online recipes are useful, they're written for a general audience. That's perfectly fine, except there's no way for them to know the specific details of what you're cooking with. It's not a problem for cooking carrots, but when it comes to pork chop recipes, that can make a big difference. Turning the temperature to whatever the recipe calls for is definitely easier, but if you want to get your pork chops looking and tasting their best, consider digging deeper.

Not all pork chops are created equal. Pork chops can be bought bone-in or boneless and their size will change depending on the size of the animal. The thickness of your pork chop plays an important role in how it cooks: The thicker the pork chop, the longer it takes for the heat to penetrate the center. Some recipes will accommodate for this by increasing or decreasing the cooking time, but changing the temperature could be better.

The oven temperature usually ranges between 350 and 400 degrees Fahrenheit, with some recipes going even higher. If you have a thick pork chop, try cooking it at a lower temperature for longer. This allows the layers of the pork chop to cook evenly.

Licking our chops

It may seem paradoxical to cook a thicker pork chop at a lower temperature, but it makes sense if you think about it. The heat takes longer to reach the center of a thick pork chop. If you cook it at a high temperature, the outside is going to overcook before the inside is finished. If you cook it at 350 degrees it's going to cook slower, allowing the different layers to cook more evenly.

For thinner pork chops, you don't really have this problem. There isn't a section of the meat which is hidden beneath the surface so you can essentially cook it at whatever temperature you want and everything will cook at the same rate. Feel free to cook thin pork chops at 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

For reference, a thick pork chop is 1 to 2 inches thick whereas a thin pork chop is ¾ inch thick. Make sure to adjust the time needed based on whether you're cooking boneless or bone-in and don't forget to check the internal temperature. Pork needs to reach an internal temperature of 145 degrees Fahrenheit, according to the USDA. Some people will remove the pork chops from the oven at 135 degrees because the pork will continue to rise roughly 10 degrees after being removed from the heat. This can keep it from overcooking, just make sure you are in fact reaching the 145-degree temperature mark.