Dear Test Kitchen

How to Cook Pork Chops Like You Know What You're Doing

May 16, 2019

If there’s nothing better than a perfectly cooked pork chop, then there’s nothing worse than an overcooked one. Since this cut of meat is relatively lean, the line between just-right and dried-out is a matter of minutes. Which is why, on this week’s Dear Test Kitchen, our test kitchen director Josh Cohen called in Isaac Toups to give us a crash course on Pork Chops 101. Isaac is the chef behind Toups Meatery and Toups South, both in New Orleans, as well as the author of Chasing the Gator. (If you’re like me, you also rooted for him on Top Chef, Season 14!) In this episode, Isaac and Josh talk about loin versus rib chops, brining versus marinating, Frenching versus not Frenching, eating with your hands versus not eating with your hands, and more.

Josh's Go-To Recipe

Want Josh’s recipe from the episode? Okay, you got it! Thin-cut pork chops are perfect for a quick dinner. (Get bone-in for bonus points.) After they marinate in olive oil, lime juice, fresh garlic, and lots of spices (smoked paprika! ground cumin! chile powder!), they take about 5 minutes to cook. The only question is: What’ll you serve them with?

Goes Great With Pork

Award-winning chef Sean Brock’s cornbread is famous for a reason. Just make sure you eat it right out of the skillet and don’t skimp on the butter for smearing on top.

Most potato salads start with boiled potatoes, but not this one. We love how the browned edges add more flavor.

Not your average Caesar, but probably your new favorite Caesar—thanks to ruffly kale, roasted onions, and creamy-crumbly ricotta salata.

Savory pork loves sweet fruit. Case in point: this juicy tomato and mozzarella salad starring sweet nectarines. If nectarines aren’t your thing, feel free to swap in any stone fruit, like peaches or plums.

You've Been Chopped

What’s your favorite way to cook pork chops? Tell us your go-to method (and tips and tricks!) in the comments below.

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  • Daniel Halley
    Daniel Halley
  • Emma Laperruque
    Emma Laperruque
Emma was the food editor at Food52. She created the award-winning column, Big Little Recipes, and turned it into a cookbook in 2021. These days, she's a senior editor at Bon Appétit, leading digital cooking coverage. Say hello on Instagram at @emmalaperruque.


Daniel H. May 21, 2019
Can you use maple syrup instead of brown sugar? Thanks for the cooking tips!
Emma L. May 22, 2019
Hey Daniel—that should work!