I feel like pork chops don’t get the love they deserve. The pork chops of our youth were either thin cut and cooked until they were way overdone, fried or dare I mention Shake & Bake? (<— AHH! I swear I could taste that seasoning as I typed the words!)
Luckily, I had parents who were pork chop evangelists. I seriously think that a good pork chop would be in one of my mom’s top three favorite foods. I have learned to love them too…especially when they’re thick-cut and bone-in. I cannot stress enough the difference that cooking bone-in meat makes in flavor. We do bone-in chicken and pork whenever possible.
These days, I prefer to buy my pork chops from my favorite farmers at the Charlotte Regional Famers Market. Windy Hill never steers me wrong and I can always count on their chops to be melt in your mouth good. If you can find heritage pork in your area, I highly recommend the extra spend.
My favorite way to prepare them is with a Dizzy Pig rub and cooked in cast iron, although I recently started brining them before cooking at the suggestion of my dad. (Who is my culinary ROCK!) I finish them in the oven, much like I do my Perfect Chicken Breasts.
A quick brine does wonders for pork chops…anywhere from 30 minutes to 4 hours. It yields a super juicy chop. The key is not to over-brine. My dad says that if you go too long on chops they start to taste hammy (which doesn’t sound appetizing at all). My last brining and cooking experiment turned out so well that I had to share the recipe with you.
I got creative by adding smashed garlic, dried ancho chiles and a cinnamon stick to my usual brine mixture.
When I served these chops for dinner Tanner claimed they were the best pork chops he’d ever had in his life. He’s super sweet to always compliment my cooking but I agree that these pork chops are special.
Here’s the recipe. Super simple!
Ancho Chile and Cinnamon Brined Bone-In Pork Chops
A recipe for Ancho Chile & Cinnamon Brined Bone-In Pork Chops and how to make bone-in pork chops that are juicy and delicious.
- 2 to 4 bone-in pork chops, at least 1-inch thick
- 3 cups water
- 1/4 cup kosher salt
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 3 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
- 2 ancho chiles, stems removed and torn in half
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Olive oil
- Rub of choice, if using
- Mix together water, salt, sugar, cinnamon stick, garlic and chiles in a large baking dish or bowl and then add pork chops. Place in fridge and allow to sit for 30 minutes to 4 hours.
- When you're ready to cook the chops, remove from brine and rinse well. Pat completely dry. Season with salt and pepper or the Dizzy Pig Rub of your choice. I love Raging River for pork.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Heat a cast iron skillet over medium high heat. Add enough olive oil to swirl around and coat the pan. Make sure pan is nice and hot before you add the chops. Sear 3 minutes, or until browned on the underside. Flip and transfer your skillet to the preheated oven. Cook until chops read 140 (medium rare) to 145 degrees (medium) internal temp. This can take anywhere from 5-10 minutes depending on the size of your chops. I SERIOUSLY don't recommend cooking your pork past 145. It's really okay to have a little pink in your pork.
- Let rest for 5 minutes and serve.