Best Pork Chops I've Ever Had

May 9, 2021

I don’t work the market often, but when I do, it’s a treat. I really love getting to know our amazing customers better, putting faces to the names I’ve come to recognize so well. On top of that, sometimes I luck out by walking away with a recipe worth its weight in gold. 

And that’s what brings me here today, to share with you the best pork chops I have ever made…or eaten. 

Before Saturday, May 1st, I really thought I had reached my peak when it came to preparing a pork chop. It was years ago that I had a white wine-marinated, bone-in chop at a farm dinner that left such an impression that I just HAD to replicate it. So, after a couple of tries, I did just that. It involved making a brine with wine and took an entire day, at minimum. It was delicious, and I was totally going to post that recipe on the Grand View Farm website. That is until John Ruffer walked into the market. 

It was an ideal, warm, bluebird day and as the market was slowing down, I began to work on a side project when up-pulls a motorcycle. A very friendly man walks in, with his backpack, and heads straight to a pork freezer…clearly knowing what he came for. Thick-cut, bone-in pork chops. We ended up having a nice conversation and John, or “Ruffer”, shared with me his secret to the best-ever chop. I'm listening intently, of course, trying to picture every step in my mind as he runs through it. Honestly, and I’m ashamed to admit it, I still thought I had already figured out “the best” chop. Boy, was I wrong.

Maybe a week later, in need of a quick dinner for the next day, I pulled a pack of bone-in chops from the freezer to give it a whirl. John’s technique was simple. Too simple? Clearly not. Beautifully, mind-blowingly simple. And fast. 

The morning of, I removed the refrigerated chops from their package and put them on a plate. Seasoned them with salt and pepper, onion, garlic and hot paprika, and stuck them back in the refrigerator, covered. That evening, I removed the chops and stuck them straight onto my biggest cast iron skillet on the stove over medium-low heat. This is the amazing part; extra time to bring the chops to room temp is not necessary, nor do you have to preheat the skillet. Cover the chops with a lid, for about 5 minutes over medium-low, flipping once. 

If the chops are much greater than 1" thick, increase the temperature to medium, still covered, for another 5 minutes, flipping once. If your chops are around 1" thick, simply skip this (medium heat) step. Increase the temperature again to medium-high and remove the lid, cooking for another 5 minutes or so, flipping often enough to avoid burning. I decided to toss in a pat of butter during the last step, continuously spooning it over-top of the chops. Remove from the heat and let rest for 5 minutes. 

It literally took me 20 minutes from pulling the chops out of the fridge to slicing into them. Not the 24-hours my wine-brined chops required. The best part? They were way better!

I just grabbed a few of my go-to seasonings from the pantry, and they were delicious. But the flavor-opportunities here are endless! What would you use? I would love to hear!

Amanda Norman

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