Pork chops, especially smoked ones, have a deep and rich flavor to them and they can be quite expensive. Cooking them can be tricky for some, and you don’t want to accidentally ruin the great dinner you’re making for your family or friends.
Well, today we will cover a few effective methods and teach you how to cook smoked pork chops. There will be methods for those that are in a hurry and for those that have plenty of time.
But, before we can get to that, let’s talk a bit more about pork chops themselves since the information might help you avoid making a blunder before you even start cooking.
Different Types Of Pork Chops
You might be under the false impression that most pork chops are just the same. A pork chop is a pork chop! Well, you see, that’s not quite true, though a lot of people believe that it is.
Pork chops can be cut from almost any part of the pig’s body, resulting in vastly different types of pork chops that need to be cooked differently and have a different taste to them. They are quite similar to steaks in this way.
For starters, almost all pork chops are all cut from the loin of the pig, which is the side of the back, running from the shoulders to the hip. However, this is a large area, and depending on where the pork chop is cut from, its texture and taste can differ greatly.
There are four major areas of the loin that pork chops can come from. The shoulder (called shoulder chops or blade chops), the rib (known as rib cut chops or rib end cuts), the center part of the loin (called center loin chops or porterhouse chops) and the sirloin (usually called sirloin chops, they come from the back of the loin).
So, aside from the location, what’s the major difference between these pork chops?
Well, the shoulder chops are extremely flavorful and contain quite a lot of bone and gristle, but also a lot of fat. The meat is rather tough, so you have to tenderize it before cooking. It’s recommended that you cook it over high heat if tenderized, but otherwise they can be cooked slowly on low heat to break down the connective tissues.
Rib chops can be quite lean, usually with one large bone running through them and some fat on the surface. They have a mild flavor and are quite tender, with more fat than loin chops. They can be cooked quickly on high heat. Broiling, grilling or roasting are all good methods to prepare them. You might want to brine them first, though.
Loin chops are the leanest of the bunch, usually with a T-shaped bone running through them. They have a mild flavor and can contain some tenderloin. Tenderloin cooks at a different rate than loin meat, so you have to cook these chops differently depending on how much tenderloin they contain. It’s usually okay to cook them quickly, like rib chops, but be careful, or you might overcook them.
Lastly, sirloin chops are the cheapest type of pork chop because they have a lot of bone in them and the meat is quite tough. They are incredibly flavorful but must be cooked rather slowly over moist heat.
As a side note, if you ever encounter boneless chops in the store, don’t be confused – these are usually just loin chops with the bones removed. The benefit is that they are easier to cook and eat, but they might lack some flavor because of this.
Now that you know everything there is to know about different types of pork chops, you can choose the right one for you. As you can see, they are all cooked in different ways, so apply the cooking methods we’ll describe below accordingly.
But before we can get to that, there’s another question we must answer.
How Are Smoked Pork Chops Different?
Smoked pork chops aren’t different from regular ones just because they were exposed to some smoke – there’s more to it than that.
For a start, smoked pork chops have quite a strong flavor, much stronger than unsmoked ones. This is because a mixture of salt, sugar and other spices is added to them before the smoking process.
The smoking process can also be different – it can be cold, which results in raw-feeling pork chops, or it can be hot, which results in firm meat that doesn’t need to be cooked further and can be eaten straight away. They can still be cooked to bring out extra flavor.
Now that you know this, we can move on to the cooking methods themselves.
The 3 Best Methods For Cooking Pork Chops
There are many different ways for cooking pork chops, but we will cover some of the basic ones that anyone can master. Of course, these aren’t suitable for all pork chops so apply them to the correct type of pork chop, and there will be no problems.
Cooking Smoked Pork Chops In A Pan
Firstly, here’s a method for those that need to prepare some pork chops in a hurry. It’s quick, and it works well, even if you have limited resources and time.
To start with, put a pan on the stove over medium-high heat and pour one tablespoon of oil in it. Wait for the oil to start smoking and the place the pork chops in it.
Cook the pork chops for two minutes on each side, before lowering the heat and cooking them for one more minute. They need to be at around 145 degrees Fahrenheit to be ready. If they’re not, cook them for a few more minutes until they are.
You can now remove them, put them on a plate and serve them. At this point, you can also add any spices or garnish that you may like. It’s as easy as that.
Roasting Smoked Pork Chops
First, preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and move the rack to the middle.
Before putting them in the oven, brown the pork chops in a pan for 3 to 4 minutes, only on one side. Then transfer them to the baking pan, so the browned side is face up. You don’t need to put anything else in the baking pan.
Roast them in the oven for around 20 minutes. They should be done when the internal temperature is 145 degrees. Once they are, you can remove them, transfer them to a plate and eat them. You can also spice and garnish them at this point.
This method is better suited for tougher pork chops, and you still might need to tenderize them a bit beforehand.
Grilling Smoked Pork Chops
Lastly, there’s the most well-known method for preparing pork chops – grilling.
Set your grill to medium-high heat and brush the grill plates with some vegetable oil – if you don’t have it, olive oil is also quite good for this. This will prevent the pork chops from sticking to the grill.
Place the pork chops on the grill and cook them for 4 minutes, then turn them and cook the other side for another 2 minutes. Then check them with a meat thermometer – if they are at 145 degrees, you can remove them. Otherwise, cook them for a little while longer.
After this, you can remove them and let them cool for a bit before serving. You can also add spices or garnish at this point if you like.
And there you have it, three easy and simple ways to cook smoked pork chops. Do you have some other method that you prefer or might think is better? Sound off in the comments if that’s the case.
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