Spiced Butter-Basted Pork Chops
These pork chops are juicy inside, crusty outside and draped in a smoky butter sauce, but they won’t set off your fire alarm. They’re cooked low and slow with a few key ingredients. First, thick chops are coated with salt and sugar, which promotes browning, then they’re cooked over moderate heat. Smoked paprika and fennel seeds season the butter that’s added, but feel free to swap in dried herbs or other ground or whole spices. Basting the chops with this infused butter creates a rich crust quickly so that the interior stays tender. The key is to watch the temperature of your skillet: Lower the heat if things are moving along too quickly, and the chops will achieve what you’re after in time.
- Serves: 2 persons
- 2(1- to 1½-inch-thick) bone-in pork rib chops (10 to 12 ounces each)
- 2teaspoons light brown sugar
- Kosher salt (Diamond Crystal)
- 1tablespoon neutral oil (such as canola or grapeseed)
- 2tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 ½teaspoons smoked paprika
- 1teaspoon fennel, cumin or coriander seeds, crushed
- Black pepper
Step 1Pat the pork dry and season all over with the sugar and 1 teaspoon salt. In a large (12-inch) cast-iron skillet, heat the oil over medium. Add the pork chops, cover with a lid or baking sheet, and cook until browned on the outside and the internal temperature is between 110 and 120 degrees, 4 to 5 minutes per side. Reduce the heat if burning or sizzling wildly.
Step 2Using tongs, stack both chops on top of one another, then grab both chops together and hold upright to sear the fat caps until crisp, about 1 minute. Lay the chops back down in one layer and add the butter, paprika and fennel seeds. Season the butter with salt and pepper. Tilt the skillet and baste the pork by spooning the melting butter and drippings over the pork until the internal temperature registers 130 degrees, 1 to 2 minutes per side.
Step 3Transfer the pork chops to a lipped plate and pour the butter over top. Let rest for 5 minutes before slicing and serving with a spoonful of the butter.