When the January 2013 issue of Bon Appetit arrived I was instantly obsessed with making the cover recipe. A pan-roasted brined pork chop that is based with thyme-flavored butter right before serving. If you are haunted by dry and flavorless pork dishes be afraid no more – brining is the key to a juicy pork loin or chop. I first made this a few weeks ago when I had a friend over for dinner. Whole Foods had thick (2 rib) pork chops for a good price so I scooped up two and rushed home super excited about a culinary adventure in the world of pig.
I brined both chops in what can only be described as garlic and thyme iced tea but only cooked one that night. The other one I patted dry, wrapped tightly in plastic wrap, placed in a airtight container, and froze. I wasn’t sure how a brined pork chop would fair in the freezer but when I thawed it two days ago and cooked it up it was absolute perfection. The first time I served it with green beans and mac & cheese and most recently with roasted potatoes and salad. No matter what the accompaniment, this is a sure-to-please dish that everyone will enjoy!
Butter-Basted Pan-Roasted Pork Chop (serves 4)- based on Bon Appetit’s recipe in the January 2013 issue
- 1/3 cup kosher salt
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1/2 tsp whole black peppercorns
- 1 head of garlic halved crosswise plus 2 unpeeled cloves
- 2 large sprigs of fresh thyme
- 2 2″-thick bone-in pork chops (about 2.5 lbs)
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil
- 5 tbsp butter
- Bring 4 cups of water to a boil. Add kosher salt, sugar, peppercorns, head of garlic (halved), and 1 sprig of thyme. Stir and pour into a bowl large enough for the liquid + the pork chops (do not add them yet).
- Once the brine is cool add the pork chops. Cover and refrigerate for 4-5 hours. – the original recipe suggests 8-12 hours, comments have stated that this results in absurdly salty pork
- Preheat oven to 450F. Set a cooling rack over a pan next to the oven. Remove chops from brine and pat dry – if you would like to freeze one or both chops this is the time to do it.
- Heat oil in a large cast-iron skillet. When hot place chop(s) in and turn every 2-3 minutes until they are golden brown on both sides (about 8 minutes)
- Carefully place skillet in the oven. Continue to roast chop, turning every 2 minutes, until it is a deep brown with darker bits (about 8 minutes)
- Remove from oven and drain fat from skillet. Place back over medium heat and put 1/2 of butter into pan. Add remaining thyme sprig and unpeeled cloves of garlic.
- When butter begins to bubble tilt the pan toward you and spoon the butter onto the top of the chop, pouring it over the meat. Flip and repeat on the other side.
- Transfer chop to rack and let rest for at least 10 minutes. Serve sliced and toped with remaining butter and coarse sea salt.