Every once in a while, I invite friends over for a cozy dinner, usually a movie night. But sometimes I get sucked into work and run out of time to pick a decent meal to make. At times like that, I often turn to this baked pork chop recipe.
It’s a real life-saver, I’m telling you. It has both meat and veggies all cooked on the same baking sheet. While they’re baking, I even make watermelon smoothie and Greek salad to pair. Super convenient and time-saving!
What Is The Best Cut Of Pork Chops?
For many people, a pork chop is simply an ordinary cut of meat, but that is a misconception. Choosing the right pork chop is important as it decides how well your dish turns out.
All pork chops come from the loin- the part 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:
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. Therefore, under no circumstances should it be overcooked.
Loin chop/ center-cut loin
Also known as the porterhouse, this cut is very suitable for searing or roasting. The chops can come with a piece of fat or they may be completely lean. You can also choose between bone-in or without bone, depending on your preference.
This particular cut of meat comes from the hip area of the pig. It has bones and several types of muscles, making it hard to cook. The sirloin chop is best suited for braising or stewing.
Or “the shoulder chop”, “pork shoulder steak”. It is cut from the shoulder end, near the pig’s loin. The dark-colored meat has lots of fat and connective tissues, which requires proper care or it will get tough. This cut is relatively hard to find in the market.
In this recipe, we’re choosing frenched center-cut loin, the part with a rib sticking out. We’ve trimmed all the fat because our chops were kinda large. You can keep the fat on if you prefer.
If you want to go into detail, Bon Appetit has done a great job in explaining pork cuts. If this is too much for you, I suggest you get friendly with your butcher and have them help you out. Tell them what dish you’re making and they will pick out the right cut for you.
Should I Cover Pork Chops while Baking?
It depends on which cut of pork it is, the thickness of your chops, bone-in or boneless, fat content, and your oven. But most of the time, you should cover your pork chops with foil. Here’s why.
I bet you’ve had that time when you’ve done exactly what the recipe told you, and still ended up with something unexpected— overcooked meat, burnt top or bottom, or even worse, dried out meat. And you blamed yourself for that when it happened simply because there were too many factors to consider, things you couldn’t control.
That’s why in this baked pork chop recipe, we put our pork chops into a baking dish, and covered them with foil before baking. The foil will trap any moisture that tries to escape, and your meat will not be dried out or burnt. If you need a golden surface on your chops, simply remove the foil when they’re done, and broil them for about 2-3 minutes. Keep in mind that by doing this, you will have “meat juice”, so prepare to make an amazing sauce!
This trick, however, only works when it comes to thin pork chops. If yours are about 1-inch thick or even thicker, we suggest you inject the meat with a simple brine of 4 parts water and 1 part salt. This will make your meat juicier and more tender.
What to Serve with Baked Pork Chops
Although the pork chops have vegetables baked with them, there just isn’t enough fiber and obviously, calories to make a full meal. As mentioned, here’s what our previous suggestions yield:
Baked Pork Chops Recipe
- 28 oz center loin bone-in, lean only pork chop
- 12 oz baby potato halved
- 8 oz carrot cut into chunks
- 8 oz broccoli cut into chunks
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp ground pepper divided into halves
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tbsp garlic minced
- 4 tbsp homemade tomato sauce
- 1.5 tbsp unsalted butter room temp
- 2 tbsp Italian seasoning
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1 tbsp all-purpose flour
- Make the sauce by mixing salt, 1/2 tsp pepper, Italian seasoning, paprika, tomato sauce in a small bowl.
- In a baking dish, marinade the pork (both sides) with the sauce for 15 minutes. Cover the baking dish with foil.
- Spread carrot, potato and broccoli onto a baking sheet. Drizzle in olive oil and sprinkle on 1/2 tsp pepper. Toss to coat evenly and wait until the pork is ready.
- Take out the broccoli and leave it aside. Move the veg around to make space for the baking dish, and put the foiled baking dish onto the tray. Bake at 400°F for 30 minutes.
- Remove the foil, spread room-temp butter onto the pork, add broccoli onto the tray. Broil for 15 minutes.
- Take out the pork and veg and present on separate dishes. Pour the pork juice into a saucepan and cook with 1 tbsp all-purpose flour on medium-high heat for 1 minute to make the meat sauce.
- Drizzle the sauce evenly onto each dish and serve.