- 2 bone-in pork rib chops (14- to 16-ounces each) or boneless pork rib chops (12- to 14-ounces each), 1½ inches thick*
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Optional for serving: Honey Mustard Sauce
BEFORE YOU BEGIN… For an easy, flavor-enhancing dry brine if you have time, salt the chops at least 1 hour or up to 24 hours before cooking: Sprinkle chops on both sides and edges (use 1 teaspoon salt per pound of meat) and then refrigerate them, uncovered. Pat the chops dry with paper towels before cooking. Note: If the pork is enhanced (injected with a salt solution), do not salt the chops ahead. The chops may be served plain or with Honey Mustard Sauce.
When ready to cook: For more even cooking, allow the chops to sit at room temperature for 20 minutes. (If time is tight, even 5-10 minutes is better than nothing.) Very lightly oil a 10- to 12-inch nonstick, cast iron, or carbon-steel skillet (bone-in chops will require the larger pan). I use a small piece of paper towel to spread a thin film over the surface. Too much oil will create smoke and spatter.
Just before placing in the cold pan, pat the pork chops dry with a paper towel and sprinkle both sides with pepper (and salt if you didn’t do the optional dry brine).
Place the chops 1 inch apart in the cold skillet. (Tip: If using bone-in, arrange so the narrow part of one chop is opposite the wider part of second.)
Place the skillet over high heat and cook the chops for 2 minutes. (Tip: I set a timer because the time goes quickly.) Flip the chops and cook on the second side for 2 minutes. (Neither side of chops will be browned at this point – that’s ok. If the chops stick a bit, give them an extra 30 seconds, and then very gently pry them away from the pan.)
Flip the chops again; reduce heat to medium; and continue to cook, flipping chops every 2 minutes, until exterior is well browned and meat registers 135-140℉, or about 10-15 minutes longer. (Helpful hints: Chops should be lightly sizzling; if not, increase the heat slightly. Conversely, reduce the heat to medium low if the skillet starts to smoke or if the chops start browning too much. When removed from the pan, carryover cooking will raise the internal temperature to the desired doneness of 145 -150℉.)
Transfer the chops to carving board and let rest for 5 minutes. Carve meat from bone and slice ½ inch thick. (When carving chops, meat at tapered end near bone may retain slightly pink hue despite being fully cooked.) Season the pork with additional sprinkle of coarse salt and/or pepper to taste.
*One and a half inches is the sweet spot, but for best results with this method, the chops should be no less than 1¼ inches thick and no more than 2 inches thick. This allows the chops time to develop a golden-brown exterior as the insides cook to tender, juicy perfection.
Flavor tip: When you remove the chops to a plate and let them rest, some juice will pool around them. Drizzle over the chops when serving, and if you have leftovers, drizzle any juice from the pan or serving plate over top before refrigerating. They are very flavorful!