A nice, juicy pork chop may be the most savory dinner ever. But do you know how to make one that actually tastes good? According to chef and food writer Laura Sampson of Little House Big Alaska, you need to "mix salt, garlic, and pepper together to make a great rub" for pork chops. And yes, it actually is that simple, at least in terms of flavoring. Those three classic spices accentuate the natural flavors of a great chop and complement anything you want to pair with pork, from applesauce to mashed potatoes to salad and more.
One thing to watch out for here, Sampson says: "Overcooking is the biggest mistake you can make with these pork chops. In the beginning, you just want to lightly sear them. They do the real cooking baking in the oven. Almost too simple really!"
So the spice rub here isn’t the secret sauce, so to speak: It’s all about the heat. With the perfect sear and a good, hot oven, these chops will be the "best ever" every time.
Gather your ingredients for your pork chops
As hinted at, this is not a complex recipe. In fact, there are all of five ingredients total, and that’s including the meat itself. What you’ll need are two pork chops, roughly one pound total weight, one tablespoon of oil, a half teaspoon of salt, a half teaspoon of garlic powder, and about a quarter teaspoon of black pepper, or a bit more if you like things on the more flavorful side.
Once you have all that wrangled, go ahead and start preheating your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and pour the oil into an oven-safe cast iron skillet, which you should set on a burner at medium-high heat.
Make and apply the rub, then sear your pork chops
While the oil is heating in the cast iron pan, go ahead and mix the salt, garlic, and pepper together in a small bowl, then rub the mixture generously and evenly over both sides of both of the pork chops. Make sure your hands are clean and dry for this step so minimal salt, pepper, and garlic sticks to you and instead clings to the meat.
When the oil is hot (liquid and shimmery and coating the pan), carefully place the pork chops down into the pan and cook them for two to three minutes on each side, ensuring they brown nicely.
Bake the seared pork chops
Once the pork chops are both lightly browned thanks to the hot oil sear, remove the pan from the hot burner and pop it right into the center rack of the hot oven, which you should have set to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Bake the chops for about ten to 15 minutes until they are fully cooked through (the internal minimum safe temperature for a pork chop is 145 degrees, for the record) and well browned, then get them out of the oven and plated ASAP.
Chops are best served hot and as quickly as possible after cooking so they maintain their juiciness and tenderness. And looking for a serving idea or two? "I like to serve these with a simple baked potato and green salad combo," says Laura Sampson. "The potatoes can be baked in the oven, and when they’re almost done, the chops can go in with them. A quick green salad, and you’re done."
She adds that "any leftovers are best stored covered in the refrigerator. We slice and reheat them as needed, [but] we don’t usually have leftovers."
- 2 pork chops, roughly 1 pound total weight
- 1 tablespoon oil
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon garlic granules
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit, and put a ten-inch cast iron skillet over medium-high heat, adding the oil and heating until it shimmers.
- While oil and oven are heating, mix the salt, garlic, and pepper together.
- Rub spice mixture over both sides of the pork chops.
- When the oil is hot, carefully put the pork chops in pan and cook for 2 to 3 minutes on each side to brown them.
- When chops are lightly seared, remove the pan from the stove and put it in the hot oven.
- Bake for an additional 10 to 15 minutes until cooked through and browned, then serve hot.