To make this baked pork chops recipe, you will need:
- Thick-cut pork chops: When it comes to purchasing pork chops, there are three important qualities to look for that I highly recommend:
- Thick-cut: Ideally, between 1 to 1.5 inches thick. Thick-cut pork chops much easier to cook correctly than their thinner counterparts. If your grocery store only offers really thinly-cut chops, just go to the meat counter and ask if they can double-cut them (cut them a bit more thick) for you.
- Bone-in: I much prefer bone-in pork chops (specifically, rib chops or loin chops) because they have the most flavor. But if you prefer the leaner boneless pork chops, those will work too. Just be extra-careful not to overcook them.
- Fresh: Be sure to also buy the freshest pork that you can find. In general, you want to look for pork that is a deep reddish-pink or reddish-purple color, not grayish or white. And the fat should be white and creamy, not dotted with dark spots. It should also be pretty firm, and not soft and squishy.
- Olive Oil: Or whatever your preferred cooking oil may be.
- Kosher Salt: An essential ingredient in our brine, and also to season the pork.
- Seasonings: I typically like to use a simple garlic powder, salt and black pepper seasoning blend with pork. And then serve it up with lots of fresh lemon slices, to brighten up the flavors. But feel free to use whatever other dry seasonings you like.
- Brine the pork. In a large mixing bowl, combine warm water and kosher salt (about 1 tablespoon per cup of water) and stir until the salt is dissolved. Submerge the pork chops in the saltwater and soak for at least 15-30 minutes, or up to 4 hours. Remove the pork chops and rinse them off with cold water. Then pat them dry with paper towels and place on a clean plate.
- Season the pork. Brush the pork chops on both sides with olive oil. Then sprinkle with your desired dry seasonings. (I like a mixture of garlic powder, kosher salt and black pepper.)
- Pre-heat your skillet. Meanwhile, as you’re seasoning the pork, heat your skillet over high heat for about 5 minutes, until it is super-hot. Once your pork is seasoned and your skillet is ready…
- Sear the pork on one side. Place the pork chops in the hot skillet (carefully, so that the oil doesn’t splatter). Then give the tops of the pork chops a gentle press down with a spatula, so that the full bottom surface of the pork chops makes contact with the pan (instead of accidentally curving up). Cook for 2-3 minute, or until the bottom of the pork chops are golden. Then flip the pork chops over to the other side, and quickly…
- Transfer pan to the oven and bake. Carefully use an oven mitt to move the entire pan to the oven, where the second side of the pork will continue to sear. Then bake for 3 minutes, flip. And continue baking for 3-5 minutes more, or until the pork reaches an internal temperature of 145°F (62°C). Remove the pan from the oven, and transfer the pork to a clean plate. Use a pastry brush to brush any of those extra juices in the pan onto the pork chops (that’s where so much of the flavor is hiding!). Then tent the plate with aluminum foil and…
- Rest the pork. Let the pork rest for 3-5 minutes, to lock those juices in. Once the pork is ready to go…
- Serve warm! And enjoy!
Once the pork has been baked, it can be stored in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Or you can freeze it for up to 3 months. (<– I recommend shredding, dicing or slicing the pork before freezing for easier use.)
**Also, one important note — the pork chops will definitely be pretty smoky as they are cooking! So be sure to turn on an exhaust fan above your stove (if you have one) or open a window.