I have to admit, this baked pork chops recipe has saved me a couple of times. For instance, every once in a while, I would invite some friends over for a cozy dinner party with some good food, a bit of booze, possibly a movie, and some popcorn. But then sometimes I would get sucked into work and forget that I had set a date with my friends. What would I do? How could I pull off a last-minute dinner party?
Well, I would go straight to the butcher’s right after work to get some pork chops and some veggies like carrots, potatoes, and maybe asparagus to serve as a side dish. And so, once again, the dinner is saved. All thanks to these simple baked pork chops.
What Is The Best Cut Of Pork Chops?
For many people, pork chops is simply just a cut of meat, but that is a very big misconception.
All pork chops come from the loin- the part of meat that runs from the shoulder to the hip of the pig. This is the leanest and most tender part of the pig. The pork loin is divided into these major sections:
- Tenderloin: This boneless cut is the leanest and most delicate piece of meat; and it is the most expensive cut, too. Just like beef tenderloin, pork tenderloin has very little marbling. However, under no circumstances should it be overcooked.
- Loin chop: Also known as the center-cut chop or the porterhouse, the lean chop with little fat content is suitable for searing or roasting.
- Sirloin chop: This particular cut of meat comes from the hip area of the pig. It contains bones and different kinds of meat, thus making it hard to cook. The sirloin chop is best suited for braising or stewing.
- Blade chop: With alternative names as the shoulder chop or pork shoulder steak, the blade chop is cut from the shoulder end of the pig’s loin. The dark-colored meat has lots of fat and connective tissues, which can sometimes be tough if not handled properly. This cut is relatively hard to find in the market.
- Rib chop: As the name suggested, this cut comes from the rib area of the loin. The chop is high in fat content; this will keep them from drying out during cooking. Rib chops are also sold boneless, which is what we are going to use today.
Now if you’re thinking this is too much information to remember, I suggest you get friendly with your butcher and have them help you out with choosing your meat. All you need to do is to tell them what dish you’re making and they will pick out the right cut for you.
How Long Do You Cook Pork Chops In The Oven?
This is a tricky question, I must say.
The cooking will vary, depending on a number of factors: which cut of pork it is, the thickness of your chops, bone-in or boneless, the fat content, and most importantly, your oven.
Every oven is different from one another. It’s true. I bet everyone has a time when you thought you had the exact same ingredients and did everything according to the recipe, but the dish didn’t turn out as you expected it to be. Something was always not right; it might be overcooked on the bottom or burnt on the top, or it dried out and you thought you set the timer too long. For that, you blamed yourself.
Well, my friend, it wasn’t your fault. It was the oven that ruined your meal. However , don’t let it ruin another meal from now on. How? By getting a food thermometer, of course. Back then, I always thought I’d never need it, but ever since I read an article about why the USDA recommends using a food thermometer, I was convinced and got one for myself. And man, it was a wise investment! The thermometer makes it a lot easier for me to check the doneness of the meat; and it should be the same for you, too.
Long story short: Buy a food thermometer and follow the recipe. Try to get all the pieces of meat of the same thickness, check your oven setting (I set mine to ‘bake’, not ‘broil’), and set the time and temperature right. Keep in mind that the position of the pan or the baking sheet in the oven will affect the result, too. Personally, I recommend placing the pan or the sheet in the middle rack.
As you bake the pork chops, check for doneness 2 minutes before the timer rings. Put the thermometer right in the center of the meat to get the accurate internal temperature. If the inside of the meat has reached 145oF, it’s safe to remove from the oven. If not, let it bake a little more.
One last thing: If you want a quick one-tray dinner, I suggest throwing some veggies in the baking tray along with your pork chops. I have this roasted asparagus recipe that would go amazingly well with these pork chops. You can add potato and carrots to the menu, too, if you want. The cooking time for the veggies is relatively the same as the meat so you can cook them in the same tray at the same time. 🙂
Okay, all that talking made me hungry. Let’s cook.
Easy Baked Pork Chops Recipe
- 4 boneless pork chops 1-inch thick
- 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 2 tsp kosher salt
- 1 tsp black pepper
- Lightly grease a baking sheet with a bit of olive oil or nonstick spray. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Drizzle olive oil over the pork chops and rub to coat evenly.
- In a small bowl, combine paprika, onion powder, salt and black pepper. Stir to mix everything together. Season the pork chops on all sides with the seasonings.
- Place the pork chops on the greased baking sheet. Put the tray in the middle of the oven and bake for 15-20 minutes or until the pork chops are cooked and reach an internal temperature of 145 degrees Fahrenheit. Take the pork chops out of the oven and let them rest for 5 minutes before serving.