How To Tell If Pork Chops Are Done

If you’re unsure that your pork chops are cooked, here’s a quick and simple way to guarantee that your pork chops are juicy, soft, and cooked to perfection.

When prepared properly, pork chops are the highlight of the meal. Pork that is overcooked or undercooked, however, has the potential to ruin the entire dinner.

How do you determine when pork is done, then? How do you tell if they are still raw inside? Cooking until done is a common instruction in recipes, although it’s not always helpful.

In this article, we’ll share our fail-safe technique for cooking delicious, tender pork that is done perfectly. 

How to Tell If Pork Chops Are Done

Using A Thermometer To Check Pork Chops

There’s nothing worse than a dry, tough pork chop. We all know that they are best when they’re rich with flavor and juiciness. 

The best way to check the doneness of your pork chops is to use a meat thermometer. And this is how you use it:

  1. Stick the meat thermometer into the thickest part of the pork without hitting any bones.
  2. The USDA states that the recommended internal temperature for pork is a minimum of 145 degrees Fahrenheit. Cooking your pork to this temperature means you will have medium rare chops, and it is the lowest temperature that the meat is safe to eat.
  3. You are free to cook it for longer if you prefer your pork to be more well done, but medium rare to medium pork chops tend to be the most juicy.
  4. 150-155F will be medium, 155-160F will be medium well, and 160F will be well done. A temperature higher than 160 means that your pork chops are overdone.
  5. You should rest your pork chops for 3-5 minutes in between taking them off the heat and serving them. This helps the middle of the meat to keep cooking a little longer and lets the meat relax and absorb all of its juices. You can also cover them with tin foil while they rest.

Without A Thermometer

If you don’t have a meat thermometer, you can still test the doneness of your pork chops by testing the firmness of the meat.

If it’s soft, it’s still raw in the middle; if it’s really firm, it’s very well done.

You want your chops to be firm but not so much that they resemble leather. Pork that is too firm is rough and dry, which is not very appetizing.

Here is a simple trick to test the firmness of your pork:

  1. Hold up your left hand and feel the meaty part of it just under your thumb. This feels like raw meat.
  2. Pinch your thumb and your first finger together. You’ll find that the pad underneath gets a little firmer. For each finger, the meat is more cooked:
    1. First finger – Rare
    2. Middle finger – Medium rare 
    3. Ring finger – Medium well
    4. Pinky – Well done
  3. Touch your hand, then touch your meat and compare them.

The juices will leak if you cut into the meat to check for doneness, so use a thermometer or this firmness test to gauge it instead.

What Should The Color Of The Pork Chops Be?

The color of the outside of pork chops doesn’t significantly change throughout cooking. Thus, it may be challenging to determine when the meat is fully cooked.

Check your pork chops when the exterior color is a little more golden brown if you’re cooking them in a skillet or the oven on broil.

When you cut up grilled pork chops, they may appear to be done and have a nice white color on the outside, but they are actually a brilliant pink color within.

Pork can be eaten when it is slightly pink inside, although it should ideally be more grayish white with very little pink.

Meat that is bright pink is probably still raw. However, some methods of cooking pork retain this color even when exposed to high temperatures, due to pH and “color reversion.”

Just keep in mind that pork is different from beef, so use a thermometer or the firmness test to be safe.

How to Tell If Pork Chops Are Done

Top Tips For Making The Best Pork Chops

When preparing pork chops, there are a few tips to keep in mind in addition to cooking them to the ideal temperature.

The Cut

First and foremost, it’s important to know what type of pork you’re buying. Pork chops vary greatly from one another.

There are cuts that are leaner and more tender and cook more quickly, and there are cuts that are rougher and cook more slowly.

The loin, which also contains the shoulder region, ribs, loin, and sirloin, is where all pork chops originate. Even though it’s all theoretically from the same part of the pig, there is a lot of diversity.

Check the label or inquire about the cuts with the butcher.

Seasoning

The second piece of advice is to season your meat properly. Since pork can often be a bit bland, seasoning it with salt, black pepper, smoked paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, and sugar is a must.

Most recipes call for at least a brief 30-minute brine to bring out the meat’s inherent characteristics. This is a step you must not skip, whether you salt it or brine it (for up to 4 hours).

The process of seasoning pork is key to achieving the ideal pork chop since it enhances both the flavor and the texture of the chop.

Room Temperature

Thirdly, take the meat out of the fridge and give it 15 minutes to come to room temperature.

A certain way to end up with meat that is both overcooked on the outside and undercooked on the inside is to cook it while it is still cold.

Your chops will be juicy, tender, and will make your mouth water if they are cooked uniformly from the outside in while at room temperature.

The Best Pork Chops Recipes For You To Try

Now that you know how to check that your pork chops are done, you can start cooking up a storm! Try one of these delicious pork chop recipes and get started!

1. Sweet and Spicy Glazed Pork Chops 

Is there a flavor combination that is better than sweet and spicy? Many will agree that it is the only way to serve Chinese pork.

This dish combines the two wonderful flavors with luscious pork chops coated in a sweet-salty sauce.

These chops cook quickly, are juicy, and are tender. The sauce holds the key; a smokey sugar glaze used to cover the meat helps retain moisture.

2. Baked Pork Chops with Dijon Cream Sauce 

Who doesn’t enjoy a bit of dijon? Any dish is elevated to a whole new level by this simple ingredient.

The dijon mustard in this recipe for pork chops gives the cream sauce an irresistible flavor that balances out the blandness of the meat.

You’ll be hankering for more because every pork chop is superbly flavored. For a lunch that will never be forgotten, serve it with your favorite side dish.

3. Grilled Hawaiian Pork Chops

The perfect combination of sweet and salty aromas can be found in these grilled Hawaiian pork chops.

Your taste buds will sing as you enjoy the wonderful combination of grilled pork chops and charred pineapple.

The best part is that preparation only takes 30 minutes! The ideal accompaniment is a dish of flavorful fried rice.

4. Cuban Pork Chops

Cuban food is always a hit, and if you’ve never tried it before, this dish is a terrific place to start.

These pork chops only need to be seasoned with cumin, oregano, garlic powder, and a squeeze of lime juice.

The chops take on an exquisite flavor and make the ideal main course for both weeknight meals and dinner gatherings.

5. Boneless Pork Chops Skillet with Honey Garlic Sauce

What a fantastic way to enjoy honey garlic sauce than with tender, meaty pork chops?

You can prepare this dish in less than 30 minutes with only five ingredients!

Each delicious bite will melt in your mouth thanks to the glossy finish that comes from cooking them in a skillet.

Don’t forget the toasted sourdough for soaking up the remaining sauce!

6. Lemon Garlic Pork Chop

How appetizing does this dish sound? T hick, boneless pork chops that have been perfectly seared after being marinated in lemon and garlic

The flavors in this dish are delectable despite its simplicity. You’ll go crazy for the earthy garlic and tangy citrus.

Together, they create a wonderful dish that only needs a bed of orzo rice to be served beside it.

Final Word

There you have it! You’ll now be able to cook pork chops that are cooked to absolute perfection and incorporate this technique into one of these delicious pork dishes. You’ll be a pork chop master in no time!

Jenna
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