Overview

Slow-roasting in the oven at a low temperature before a final, quick sear in the skillet keeps these boneless chops juicy. The reverse-sear method promoted by cookbook author J. Kenji López-Alt of Serious Eats means you’ll evenly cook the interior while drying the exterior so that when the chops hit the pan, you quickly get a lovely, browned crust.

López-Alt’s recipe originally called for thick, bone-in chops, but we found the method worked just as well with thick boneless cuts, which were easier to find. Feel free to use bone-in chops (we tried both blade and center-cut) if you prefer, though the timing may be slightly different. Thinner chops are more likely to overcook in this strategy, so see the related recipe for an alternate method that uses the same addictive pan sauce.

You’ll need an instant-read thermometer for monitoring the meat. About that — the 160-degree mark may stick in your mind. That was previously the recommended safe internal temperature by the government (it still applies to ground pork), but most chefs and even home cooks can attest to the temperature causing many a sad, overcooked piece of pork. In recent years, the Food and Drug Administration lowered the safe minimum cooking temperature for pork to 145 degrees, so for medium, cook the meat to 140 to 145 degrees, knowing that the temperature will rise to 145 to 150 degrees as the meat rests.

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Ingredients

FOR THE PORK

Four 6- to 8-ounce boneless pork chops, about 1 inch thick

Kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

1 medium shallot, thinly sliced

1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme

FOR THE SAUCE

1/2 cup apple cider vinegar

1/2 cup unsweetened apple cider

1/2 cup packed light or dark brown sugar

Pinch ground cinnamon

Pinch ground cloves

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored and cut into 1/2-inch cubes (about 1 cup)

Kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper


Steps

Step 1

For the pork: Preheat the oven to 250 degrees and set a wire rack inside a rimmed baking sheet.

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Step 2

Pat the pork chops dry with paper towels, then season them lightly with salt and pepper on both sides; place them on the wire rack. Slow-roast (middle oven rack) for about 25 to 30 minutes, until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center of the chops registers 100 to 110 degrees (medium-rare) or 110 to 120 degrees (medium). To prevent overcooking, start checking temperature 5 to 10 minutes before the suggested time.

Step 3

Heat the oil in a large skillet (stainless-steel or cast-iron) over medium-high heat. Add the pork chops and sear for 2 to 3 minutes, turning occasionally, until they start to brown.

Step 4

Add the butter, shallot and thyme; continue cooking, spooning shallots and thyme on top of the chops and basting the meat with butter until golden brown on both sides. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes; an instant-read thermometer inserted in the center should register 135 degrees (for medium doneness). Use tongs to hold the pork chops on their sides so those get seared as well, and their fat caps crisp up a bit; this should take about 1 minute. (If your chops are very thick, you may need to do this on other sides as well to finish cooking the edges.) Remove the pan from heat. Transfer the chops to a cutting board and let them rest for 5 minutes.

Step 5

For the sauce: Whisk together the cider vinegar, apple cider, brown sugar, cinnamon and cloves in a bowl.

Step 6

Return the skillet to the stove top, over medium heat; add the butter and diced apples. Cook for about 3 minutes, stirring constantly, until the apples are browned and softened. Add the vinegar mixture; cook for about 4 minutes, to form a syrupy sauce. Taste, and season with salt and pepper, as needed.

Step 7

Cut the pork chops into slices (as thick or thin as you wish) and transfer to a platter. Pour the apples and sauce over them, and serve warm.

Adapted from a recipe by López-Alt posted on FoodandWine.com.

Tested by Becky Krystal; email questions to voraciously@washpost.com.

Scale and get a printer-friendly version of the recipe here.

Did you make this recipe? Take a photo and tag us on Instagram with #eatvoraciously.

Nutrition

Calories: 450; Total Fat: 18 g; Saturated Fat: 8 g; Cholesterol: 110 mg; Sodium: 510 mg; Carbohydrates: 31 g; Dietary Fiber: 0 g; Sugars: 30 g; Protein: 42 g.