Sauce

how to make a pan sauce for pork chops | Family Cuisine

The pan sauce is a perfect complement to pork chops and can be made with a variety of ingredients. The most common combination includes chicken, beef broth or stock, white wine, and herbs like thyme and basil.
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Growing up, pork chops made it onto our menu on a fairly regular basis. My mom mastered the fried pork chop in a way I have never managed. Aspiring to create something a tad bit different but just as delicious, this skillet pork chops recipe with its own simple pan gravy came to life. There are many recipes similar to this out there, but after some tweaking of ingredients and cook style, this has since become my favorite for deliciously flavored juicy pan-seared pork chops.

Pork chop in skillet

Skillet Pork Chops

I must confess. Pork is not my favorite cut of meat. Much like our friend Fanny commented in her garlic baked pork chops with sage butter recipe, I typically found it hard to cook and a bit on the dry side.

My mom would dredge her pork chops in a seasoned flour mixture and fry in good old fashioned shortening or vegetable oil when I was a kid. Hers always turned out perfectly cooked and moist. I was never able to duplicate that so for many years, I gave up on making pork chops all together.

Recently, I started seeing them on sale a lot and knew I needed to buckle down and tackle this kitchen mystery. After a few test runs of this recipe, I finally got the process down perfectly. My victory now gives you a perfect pork chop recipe for your meal plan.

Can I Use Bone-In Center-Cut Pork Chops?

One question I have seen on other pork chop recipes is if it matters if you use a bone-in pork chop or boneless. I’ve made this recipe now with both options, and while I find the boneless pork chops a bit easier for serving purposes, bone-in chops work just fine. In fact, they are actually the same cut of pork, only one just has the bone removed and a bit more fat trimmed.

The benefit of using a boneless chop comes in ease of serving, and typically being able to fit more in the pan. On the other hand, a bone-in chop will typically be a bit more flavorful due to the juices from the bone and often a bit more fat on the edges.

Pick the cut you prefer or find readily available. You can always trim the bone off the chop before you cook if necessary or desired.

Sliced pork chops in gravy

How do I Know My Pork Chops are Done Cooking?

Some people have a knack for knowing when the chop is done and ready to remove from the pan. I am not that person. In my experience, it’s best to use a meat thermometer and follow most recipe guidelines for cook times.

Many say to cook to 140°F and then remove from the pan and set aside to rest for 5 minutes before slicing to serve. In most instances, that will allow the pork chop to continue cooking just long enough to reach the minimum safe temperature.

The FDA states that a safe internal temperature for a pork chop is 145°F. This is often slightly pink in the center, and will always be very moist and flavorful.

If you prefer it a bit more done throughout, remove the chop when it has reached temperature and let it sit for 5 minutes before slicing and serving. This will give you a slightly more done chop without being overcooked or dry.

Note: For this recipe, you will remove the chops and then place them back in the pan to heat and cover in the pan gravy. Removing slightly under the recommended cook time will still result in ideal doneness with this method.

How Can I Make Pork Chops Tender?

Two things have become a must for me when trying to make tender pork chops. (1) Always use a brine of some kind to tenderize the pork chops before cooking. {2} Using the meat thermometer to make sure you remove from heat at 145°F so that the meat doesn’t overcook and become tough and dry.

Pork chop in gravy in skillet

What is the Recipe for Brining Pork Chops?

Brining pork chops can be done in two ways that, in my opinion, work well. The first is to submerge the pork in a bowl of salted water that is covered with a lid. Refrigerate this for 30-minutes to overnight then rinse and pat dry before seasoning.

The other method is to simply season generously with salt and allow to sit for 30-minutes before patting dry and cooking as normal. I find that an overnight brine is my favorite, but in a pinch, a quick 30-minute option is better than nothing.

Ingredients

  • Pork chops
  • Flour
  • Chili powder
  • Garlic powder
  • Onion powder
  • Smoked paprika
  • Sage
  • Marjoram
  • Black pepper
  • Salt
  • Olive oil
  • Chicken stock
  • Apple cider vinegar
  • Honey
  • Butter
  • Parsley

Ingredients for making pork chops in skillet

How to Cook Pork Chops in a Skillet

If you choose to brine your pork chops, submerge them in ice-cold water with a generous amount of salt then cover and refrigerate from 30-minutes to overnight.

The other option is to sprinkle each pork chop with salt and pepper on both sides, then set aside for 30-minutes.

Raw pork chops on cutting board

Once they have brined, you will rinse off the submerged chops and pat them dry, or pat dry the dry brined pork chops.

In a small bowl, combine the flour, chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, sage, marjoram, black pepper, and salt, and whisk until combined well.

Dredge the pork chops in the flour spice mixture until well coated on all sides. Don’t forget the edges!

Seasoned pork chops on cutting board

In a large skillet (I prefer cast iron), heat the oil on medium-high heat, covered with a lid, until hot and ready for cooking.

Place the pork chops into the skillet with at least 1″ between each and cook for 2-3 minutes or until they are starting to turn golden.

Seasoned pork chops in skillet with oil

Turn the pork chops over, and reduce the heat to low and cover with a lid. For thicker pork chops, cook for 8-10 minutes. If your pork chops are on the thin side, cook for 5-6 minutes (Use a meat thermometer for best results). The pork chops are cooked to temp at 145°F or when juices run clear when you cut into them.

Remove the pork chops and set aside while making the pan gravy.

How to Make a Simple Pan Gravy

Turn the skillet back to medium-high heat, and add the chicken stock and vinegar to the pan. Using a wooden spoon, break up any fond on the bottom of the pan and mix in with the liquid. The fond is the little bits of meat or cooked on food on the bottom of the skillet.

Mix in the honey and simmer stirring occasionally until the sauce has reduced by half. It will become shimmery on top and slightly thickened.

Wooden spoon stirring sauce in skillet

Add in the butter and stir while it melts then place the pork chops back into the sauce and remove from the heat.

Spoon the sauce over the pork chops and let sit for an additional 1-2 minutes to bring the pork chops back up to temperature before serving.

Spoon of sauce being poured over pork chop in skillet

Serve with a spoon of sauce and a sprinkle of fresh parsley over each chop.

Cooked pork chops in skillet with sauce

What Sides Pair Well With Pork Chops?

Thinking back to my childhood, pork chops were almost always served with mashed potatoes, gravy, and green beans or mixed vegetables. So very basic, but also very comforting and delicious. Of course, that may not be as sophisticated as other options, but I really think there are times in life when the classics are truly the perfect choice.

I love the idea of serving these pork chops with this homestyle scalloped potatoes recipe. Another easy option is this creamy baked mac and cheese recipe. These are fun spins on classics that pair beautifully with pork. A simple side that works well with the pork and gravy is my recent homemade egg noodles recipe. They easily fit into this menu.

This Instant Pot mashed cauliflower is great in place of potatoes and works well with the simple pan gravy. You could also make Instant Pot mashed sweet potatoes if you prefer. Of course, your favorite green vegetable is a must. I like roasted garlic parmesan asparagus spears or green beans, but you can make whatever your family prefers.

My mom typically made biscuits, but I love the idea of one of these homemade yeast free bread recipes. They are perfect warm from the oven with a bit of butter.

Skillet pork chop collage

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