How to Cook Tender & Juicy Pork Chops in the Oven

How to Cook Tender & Juicy Pork Chops in the Oven


What if I told you that I could guarantee perfectly cooked, perfectly tender pork chops, every time? Would you believe me? Or have too many dinners of overcooked shoe-leather pork chops turned you off from this easy addition to the weeknight meal rotation? Let me convince you to try them one more time. Let me convince you to try roasting your pork chops in the oven.

Here is our step-by-step recipe for perfectly cooked, perfectly juicy pork chops.

A Quick Brine

Brining the pork chops is one of the best ways way to guarantee a juicy cooked pork chop. Even a quick 30-minute brine (or up to 4 hours) makes a big difference.

It’s not strictly necessary — you can still use this method to make great pork chops even without brining — but if you have some extra time, I recommend it. Brining actually changes the cell structure within the meat, resulting in a noticeably juicier chop. The salt brine also seasons the interior of the meat. It won’t taste “salty,” just well-seasoned. You can even add other seasonings like garlic, peppercorns, fresh herbs, and lemon to the brine for more flavor. If you fear bland pork chops, definitely give brining a try.


Stovetop to Oven

Pork chops are a tender, quick-cooking cut of meat — so quick-cooking, in fact, that they’re very easy to overcook. This is why I like to start the chops on the stovetop where they get a good sear and then transfer them to the oven to finish cooking. The gentle heat of the oven helps us to control the rate of cooking a little better and also prevents the outside from getting tough and dry before the middle has finished cooking.


Bone-On Pork Chops

I encourage you to look for bone-on pork chops. They take a little longer to cook than boneless chops, but in my experience, they are another way of ensuring tender cooked pork chops. And by “a littler longer to cook,” I’m really only talking about a few minutes. It won’t make a huge difference to your meal prep!

You can also make this whole process of cooking pork chops easier by using just one pan. Heat up the skillet in the oven while you get the rest of the meal prepped, then transfer it — carefully! — to a stove top burner to sear the pork chops. Once the chops are golden on the underside, you flip them and transfer the skillet back to the oven. The residual heat from the skillet will sear the other side of the pork chops while the heat of the oven cooks them through.

The result is a perfectly cooked pork chop: one that’s golden and crusted on the outside and perfectly tender and juicy in the middle. Every time. Serve it with a simple side salad, roasted vegetables, or rice pilaf for an easy and quick weeknight meal.


Serving: Makes 2 to 4 pork chops

What You Need


For the brine (optional):
3 cups cold water, divided
3 tablespoons coarse kosher salt (or 2 1/2 tablespoons table salt)
Optional flavorings: 2 smashed garlic cloves, 1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns, 1 bay leaf

For the pork chops:
2 to 4 pork chops — center cut, bone-on, 3/4-inch to 1-inch thick (about 1 pound each) Olive oil

Shallow dish (for brining)
Large cast iron, stainless steel, or other oven-safe skillet



Buy 2-4 pork chops — center cut, bone-on, 3/4-inch to 1-inch thick (about 1 pound each)


Brine the pork chops with aromatics (optional).


Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 400°F. Place the skillet in the oven to preheat as well.


Remove the chops from the brine; if you didn’t brine, remove the chops from their packaging. Pat dry with paper towels. Rub both sides with olive oil, then sprinkle with salt and pepper.


Using oven mitts, carefully remove the hot skillet from the oven and set it over medium-high heat on the stovetop. Lay the pork chops in the hot skillet. You should hear them immediately begin to sizzle. Sear until the undersides of the chops are seared golden, 3 minutes.


Use tongs to flip the pork chops to the other side. Immediately transfer the skillet to the oven using oven mitts.


Roast until the pork chops are cooked through and register 140°F to 145°F in the thickest part of the meat with an instant-read thermometer, 6 to 10 minutes.


Transfer the cooked pork chops to a plate and pour any pan juices over the top (or reserve for making a pan sauce or gravy). Tent loosely with foil and let the chops rest for at least 5 minutes before serving.


How to Cook Raw Bratwurst

How to Cook Raw Bratwurst


Photo Credit Kris Robertson/Demand Media

Unlike its precooked counterpart, raw bratwurst sausage is just what the name implies — uncooked meat that has to be heated through sufficiently for safe consumption. No matter what cooking method you choose, it must be heated to a temperature of at least 165 degrees Fahrenheit. You may grill the links, then cook accompanying vegetables — such as garlic, onions, mushrooms and peppers — separately. Pan-frying or braising bratwurst gives you the best of both worlds — a way to cook it to the desired doneness while incorporating other ingredients in the same pan.

Step 1


Photo Credit Kris Robertson/Demand Media

Coat the skillet with pan spray, or heat butter or oil over medium heat until it’s hot but not smoking. Place the bratwurst in the pan, leaving plenty of space between them, and sear them on all sides until they are a medium brown, about two to three minutes at each turn. Prick the sausages lightly to release some of the fat during cooking.

Step 2


Photo Credit Kris Robertson/Demand Media

Add about 2 cups water, beer or hard cider, or a combination of 1 part water to 1 part beer or cider, so the liquid comes about halfway up the sides of the sausages.

Step 3


Photo Credit Kris Robertson/Demand Media

Bring the liquid to a simmer but not a full boil, as this could cause the sausage to split. Cook them for about 15 minutes, turning often to expose all sides to the cooking liquid. Cook until the liquid has been reduced and the bratwurst starts to stick to the pan. Remove the sausage to a platter and cook any seasoning vegetables in the hot drippings until tender and slightly browned.

Step 4


Photo Credit Kris Robertson/Demand Media

Return the sausages to the pan and heat for one to two minutes longer, or until lightly browned and crispy. Use a meat thermometer to confirm that the brats are cooked completely through to a safe temperature. Remove the pan from the heat and serve the sausages immediately.


  • Reduce the amount by eliminating the initial searing and omitting the beer; simply add water to the pan to start the cooking process. Simmer the sausages for about 10 minutes, pricking them with a knife to release the fat into the liquid. Drain the liquid and place the sausages on paper towels to drain. Coat the pan with cooking spray, and sauté any seasoning vegetables until just tender. Return the brats to the pan and cook them about 10 more minutes or until brown. Serve immediately.
  • Serve bratwurst on sub rolls topped with the seared vegetables and sauerkraut, if desired. Or serve bratwurst with boiled cabbage and steamed new baby potatoes seasoned with melted butter, chopped fresh parsley and salt and pepper. For a fall treat, sauté peeled apple slices in the pan drippings and serve the sausage and apples over hot egg noodles.

Things You’ll Need

  • Large, heavy flat-bottomed skillet
  • Vegetable oil, olive oil, butter or pan spray
  • Sharp knife
  • Tongs
  • Water, beer or cider
  • Fork
  • Vegetables of your choice


Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Meat: 28 Tips & Tutorials

Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Meat: 28 Tips & Tutorials


Here are some great tips on the meats you eat everyday. There are also recipes within the tips as well. Nice bonus!

How do you cook and shred a pork shoulder? How do you carve a roast chicken? How do you check the temperature on a turkey? What’s the secret to crispy skin? What’s the best way to package meat before freezing? The answers to all these, plus many, many more in our definitive tips, tricks, and techniques guide to MEAT.

Cooking Tutorials, Techniques, and Tips

• How to cook a turkey.
• How to cook moist and tender chicken breasts every time.
• How to cook and shred a pork shoulder.
• How to grind your own meat in the food processor.
• How to make meatballs.
• How to cook steak in the oven.
• How to cook and brown ground beef.
• How to sear meat.
• How to cook great ribs in the oven.
• How to roast a chicken (and then how to carve it)
• How to grind your own sausage.
• How to choose the best meat for beef stew.
• How to tell when your steak is done.
• How to brine meat.
• How to determine how much meat you should have per person.
• How to check the temperature on a turkey.
• The difference between braising and stewing.

Flavoring, Freezing, and Thawing Tips

• For the best flavor, grill meat before braising.
• For the perfect steak, first freeze it solid, then cook for an hour.
• For crispy skin, season meat under the skin.
• How to package meat for freezing.
• How to freeze and thaw meat.
• The best way to reheat meat? Do it in a cast iron skillet.

Shopping and Prep

• A shopping guide to cheap cuts of beef.
• What to do if you don’t have a roasting rack.
• Find cheaper chicken at the meat counter.
• What to look for when shopping for beef.