Cooking pork chops in the oven is a simple way to prepare a quick meal, but the result can sometimes be a dry, flavorless, tough piece of meat. But with a few tweaks, baked pork chops can be juicy, tender and perfectly cooked. Submerging the pork in a brine solution before baking, even for just 30 minutes, infuses the meat with moisture, and it can be customized to suit your tastes. Bake the pork chops at a relatively high temperature to lock in juices and create a browned and caramelized crust.
Brine the chops, if you wish, to create tender, flavorful pork. A brine is a saltwater solution that infuses your chops with moisture. Dissolve one tablespoon of kosher salt per cup of water. 3 cups of water is enough brine to cover 4 pork chops. Add your favorite aromatics to the brine to infuse the pork chops with flavor. Bay leaves, whole peppercorns, crushed garlic, minced ginger and citrus zest all work wonderfully. A few tablespoons of honey, brown sugar or maple syrup add complex sweet notes to the brine. Allow the brine to cool completely, then submerge the pork chops in the brine for at least 30 minutes and up to 4 hours. Always brine meat in the refrigerator and never at room temperature.
Preheat your oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.
Remove the chops from the brine or packaging and pat dry. Rub both sides with olive oil and dried seasonings. Transfer the chops to a rimmed baking sheet or baking dish.
Bake the chops until the internal temperature reaches 145 degrees Fahrenheit, about 15 minutes for 3/4-inch-thick chops, and 18 minutes for 1-inch-thick chops.
Allow the pork chops to rest for 3 minutes before slicing. This brief resting period seals in the juices and ensures that your chops are moist and tender.
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- Always cook pork chops to at least 145 F to ensure safe consumption.
Irena Eaves began writing professionally in 2005. She has been published on several websites including RedPlum, CollegeDegreeReport.com and AutoInsuranceTips.com. Eaves holds a Bachelor of Science in journalism from Boston University.