Cooking a pork chop and ensuring it remains nice and moist

There are many cuts of meat whereby the cooking process is little more than putting the meat in a oven proof tray and then putting it in a hot oven for a specific amount of time, during which you leave the meat untouched. Unfortunately, pork does not fit in to this category of meats and it requires a lot of care and attention to cook it nicely. A pork joint needs monitoring, however pork chops require even more care and attention. 

If cooked correctly, pork chops are succulent, juicy, tender and very tasty, however if the chops are cooked badly they will be dry, tough as old boots and difficult to eat and tasteless. When cooking a pork chop you are going to have to keep an eye on it, turn it and adjust temperature settings to ensure the chop remains nice and moist. 

There are several different ways of cooking a pork chop and the best method will depend on the type of cuisine you are making. You can cook pork chops in casseroles, stews and curries and all of these methods will result in a nice and juicy chop. Whilst the texture of the chop will be perfect and the meat will fall off the bone, these methods will leave a strong flavoured chop. A pork chop is tasty on its own and there is no need to cover it with other strong flavours. So, what is the best way of cooking a pork chop without having to resort to casseroling or currying it? 

Pork chops work very well on a barbecue and this is my preferred way of cooing them, providing the weather is ok that is. Grilling a pork chop on a barbecue can be very difficult as it is common for the outside of the pork chop to burn to a crisp and dry out leaving the inside un-touched and raw. It is ok to eat steak with a raw centre but this does not apply to any cut of pork, even a pork chop. Eating a raw pork chop is likely to give you a stomach upset and can lead to even worse ailments. You need to thoroughly cook a pork chop and ensure it is piping hot all the way through before you consume it. 

Pork chops on the grill.

Raw pork chops cooking on a BBQ

When grilling a pork chop on the barbecue you need to cook it slowly to ensure it cooks all the way through. Instead of putting the pork chop over the hottest part of the coals, place it to the side of the barbecue where the heat is less intense. Whilst the pork chop is on the barbecue you need to regularly douse it with water from a plant sprayer as this will prevent the outside of the pork chop from burning. When grilling a pork chop on the barbecue you need to regularly turn it over, again to make sure it cooks all the way through and to stop the outside burning and drying out. 

To ensure the pork chop remains succulent and juicy, and to stop it burning you can marinate the chop prior to grilling on the barbecue. The marinade doesn’t need to be made out of powerful ingredients, so you can leave the pork chop tasting exactly as it should. However, if you want to flavour the pork chop you simply need to use a stronger flavoured marinade. There are many different marinades for pork chops and my favourite ones include sweet and sour marinade, BBQ marinade and honey and mustard marinade. All major supermarkets sell a large number of different marinades so you will find something for everyone. Alternatively, you may wish to make you own pork chop marinade in which to soak your pork chop before grilling it on the barbecue.

 Unfortunately, it is not always possible to spark up the barbecue, however this does not mean you cannot enjoy a succulent and juicy pork chop. Just like a pork joint, you can cook a pork chop in a conventional oven. If left to its own devices a conventional oven will dry out a pork chop, therefore there are certain things you need to do to stop this happening. 

A raw pork chop that has been lightly seasoned. The next step is to wrap it in tin foil and put in a warm oven and cook for forty minutes or so.

A raw and seasoned pork chop

To keep the pork chop moist and juicy during the cooking process you can marinade it over night prior to oven baking. This is fine if you want a flavoured chop, but what if you want a plain pork chop? When grilling a chop on the barbecue you can regularly douse the chop in water to ensure it doesn’t dry out but this is not possible when oven baking the chop. The solution is to ensure the pork chop is totally covered and not directly exposed to the heat. You can use a chicken roasting dish, however I have always found wrapping the pork chop in tin foil works much better. I also like to put some garlic butter in the tin foil with the pork chop as this makes it juicier and more moist as well as giving it a bit more flavour. If you don’t like garlic, adding just the butter will also make the pork chop nice and juicy.

 When oven baking a pork chop you need to keep the oven low and cook the pork chop for a long time. Patience is the key here so don’t rush it and never be tempted to crank the oven to a high temperature in order to speed the cooking process up. Doing this will simply ruin the pork chop as it will dry out and become tough. 

As previously mentioned, marinating a pork chop prior to oven baking will help keep it nice and moist, however you still need to bake a marinated pork chop on a low temperature for a long time and keep it full covered during the cooking process. If you have marinated your pork chop you can take the pork chop out of the oven and apply more marinade during the cooking process. However, you do need to remember to cover the pork chop up before putting it back in to the oven. 

A sure fire way to keep your pork chop nice and moist is to put it in a curry, however if you do this you will not be able to taste the pork. What a waste of good quality meat.

Pork chop curry

As you can see, cooking the perfect pork chop requires some input from you to stop it drying out and spoiling. Even though cooking a chop is hard work the time and effort is well worth it as a the pork chop is such a tasty cut of meat. If you don’t have the time available to gill or oven bake a pork chop but still want that pork chop goodness I would suggest casseroling the chop or putting it in a stew. Failing that you could always curry the chop, but a curry sauce is a strong flavour and the chop will be providing a ‘substance’ only, which to me seems to be a waste of a very tasty cut of meat.