Pork is one of those animals we should never eat from a factory farm. Hogs love living outside where they spend their day playing in intricate social groups and grazing from the pasture.
They also literally soak up the sun where, like us, they convert the sun’s energy into vitamin D. Vitamin D is critical for our health, and nearly every American is deficient in it. That is unless you eat pork that was raised outdoors where their fat has high levels of this essential nutrient.
I’d rather get my vitamins from the sun and some bacon than some laboratory, how about you?
We taste test a lot of pork chops and steaks -- we take one small steak off of every steer to get a sense of the natural variation in taste and texture. When we taste test to compare, we only season with a good quality sea salt. If you want to do to a taste test with our pork, I recommend the same.
I also enjoy some thyme or rosemary with pork chops if I am not doing a taste test.
If you want to get fancy, some burnt cream and capers are pretty nice. Check out all of our pork recipes in our online cookbook.
The USDA recently changed their safety recommendations on cooking pork to be more in line with top chefs. The current recommendation is to cook pork chops the same as beef steaks. We always have previously frozen pork chops and thus like to take ours off at 130 degrees and allow a 5-10 minute covered rest for a nice medium finish. This will keep the sweet delicate flavor and tender texture of the pork. Cooking pasture raised heritage chops to ‘well done’ will still result in a superior meal when comparing to the shoe leather passed off as pork chops in the store, but you’ll miss out on something quite special if you over cook these.
I think pork chops, more than steaks, benefit from sous vide cooking. Sous vide is where the meat is sealed in a plastic bag with any seasoning and cooked in a water bath. The sous vide appliance keeps the water at the desired temp so that the entire pork chop comes out perfectly cooked. I usually set my sous vide to 136 degrees for pork chops and then sear on a really hot cast iron pan.
The government recommends 145 degrees, apparently because this provides a buffer in case your thermometer is in accurate or you measured the wrong part of the chops. This website says a lower temperature is safe, but you of course should follow the government guidelines. If your pork chops were deep frozen, that also renders the meat safe from trichinosis.
Be sure to try the fat on pasture raised organic fed pork chops, it is spectacular and chock full of vitamins not found in confinement pork. If you still don’t like the idea of eating this heart protecting fat at dinner, at least save it to cook on low heat in a skillet until it renders out as a liquid and fry your eggs in it!
The butcher was so impressed with the marbling on our chops, they took a photo – they rarely see pork chops with any marbling in it – We hope you enjoy this example of how hard work pays off!
Mar 16, 2016 at 09:40 PM
Of all the wonderful products that you guys sell, the pork chops are absolutely the best. Historically pork has always been my favorite meat, but until I tried your pork chops I had no idea just how good they could be. I typically use the words "life altering" when describing the chops, and the fat in particular!
We typically follow the same cooking instructions as above - grill to 135 F, then let them set for 5 minutes (if I can hold the kids off with a sharp stick that long!). We typically marinate all chops in the fridge for a couple days in an apple cider brine solution ... 24 hrs is fine, 48 hrs is even better ... and they are outstanding!
Keep it up -
Mar 20, 2016 at 12:39 PM
Thanks for the feedback, love it! I really appreciate the kind words...
Mar 28, 2016 at 03:27 PM
I made some of the chops from my last box Sous Vide style but I think I had the temp a bit high and I had a few things going on so I also over-seared a bit. They were still excellent even with my screw-ups. I'm going to give it another go at your recommended temp and keep a better eye on the sear. Great stuff. I love that you have some sous vide recipes here and I've thoroughly enjoyed the first couple boxes. I also forgot to bring your egg cartons back last time so I'll have a ton of them to bring back this time. I appreciate everything you are doing, this is a wonderful thing to be a member of.
Mar 28, 2016 at 08:25 PM
Yeah, getting the sear right is sometimes a challenge --- I have found having a heavy pre-heated cast iron pan over a really hot burner works well... If I forget that the chops are already fully cooked by the time they go onto the pan, I have found I overcook them sometimes... getting a super hot heavy pan is the trick! Thanks for the comment, let me know how it goes!
PS -- anytime on the egg cartons!
Mar 30, 2016 at 02:58 PM
They turned out excellent using your recommended temp and it helps when I pay attention to the sear. Good stuff! I didn't realize there were multiple different cuts of pork chops in my box either so that was a pleasant surprise. I made 2 of the Ribeye chops and 2 of the Porterhouse chops and all of them turned out great! Thanks for the awesome food and recipes.
Aug 15, 2018 at 10:53 AM
After a year of being disappointed by temperature suggestions, I now sous vide all my pork at 130F. I know it's a bit low, but by the time you sear it, it's still perfectly pink. I sear on a Big Green Egg at about 700F, and it works out perfectly. I even sous vide pork shoulder at that temp for a beautiful, fatty roast that gets charred on the outside on the BGE.
Unrelated, I have an entire pork butt in my freezer from TC that is going to be prepared with this recipe on my daughter's birthday in September: https://www.gq.com/story/david-chang-rental
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