Great recipes begin with premium ingredients.
You probably already know that salting meat in advance—also known as dry brining—yields juicier, tenderer, tastier results. But did you know that you should sugar meat in advance, too?
In this recipe, pork chops get the brown sugar treatment, which brings out their natural sweetness and helps them caramelize in the pan, creating a deep, dark, lacquered crust.
A thick, juicy pork chop can rival a good steak when cooked properly. The key is to get those meaty, 1 1/2-inch-thick, center-cut chops from your local butcher instead of the thin-cut, prepackaged ones from the grocery store. Oh, and though it may seem like a counterintuitive practice, extra flipping is the secret to the golden-brown crust on these pork chops.
4 bone-in pork chops (1 1/2-inches thick, about 2 pounds total)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons safflower oil
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- Add the pork chops to an airtight container, rub all over with the brown sugar, salt, and pepper. Cover and chill in the fridge at least 4 hours and up to 12.
- When you’re ready to eat, remove the pork chops from their brine and pat dry. Heat safflower oil in a large, preferably cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add pork chops and cook until the bottom side is golden brown, about 1 minute. Turn and cook on the other side about 1 minute before turning again. Repeat this process, turning about every minute, until chops are deep golden brown and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part registers 135°F, about 8-10 minutes.
- Remove the pan from heat and add the butter. Use a large spoon to spoon the melted butter over the pork chops. Flip the pork chops and baste again. Let the pork chops rest in the pan until they reach 145°F, at least 5 minutes.
- When they’re done, transfer to a plate and serve with mashed potatoes and/or sautéed peppers and onions.