As with any meat or fish, selecting high quality, free-range pork chops is always going to give you the tastiest result. Look out for specialist breeds such as Tamworth or Saddleback for something really special. Choose a bone-in chop – this will help prevent the pork from drying out, which is a common problem with pork chops. Cooking on the bone will also infuse the chop with more delicious porky flavour.

You’ll often find paltry 1cm-thin chops in supermarkets – avoid these, and don’t settle for anything less than 1-inch thick chops – centre-cut is best. This is because the fat needs time to render down to get that lovely golden crust, otherwise you get a mouthful of hard, flabby, tasteless fat (which is often left on the plate). If the chop is too thin, the meat will overcook and dry out whilst the fat is rendering (which can take up to 20 minutes). If you tend to avoid eating the fat anyway, then take a look at the video above, which demonstrates a quicker method of cooking pork chops.

The brining in the video above is also optional, but if you have the time, a quick brine ensures a juicy, tender chop with even seasoning throughout. Half an hour will do the trick, but feel free to leave them brining for a couple of hours for maximum effectiveness. You can also add aromatics at this stage if you’re looking for a particular flavour. Our rosemary and sage brine or Sichuan peppercorn brine are both recommended with pork.

If you want to really cook a pork chop to perfection, however, the basic recipe below will produce perfect results every time.

1
Preheat an oven to 200°C/gas mark 6 and place a heavy-bottomed frying pan (cast-iron is ideal) over a medium-low heat
2
Rub olive oil onto both sides of the chop and heavily season with salt and pepper (if you have brined the meat beforehand, however, it won't need seasoning)
3
Place the chops in the pan so they're sitting on their fatty edge. You can use a spoon or pair of tongs here to keep the chops upright. It is important the flesh isn't touching the pan and starting to cook at this stage
4
Cook slowly over a low heat until the fat has melted right down and is a deep amber colour (about 15–20 minutes). Drain the pan of fat periodically into a bowl
5
Once the fat has rendered down and the fatty side has turned golden brown, turn up the heat and cook the chops for a minute on each side to get a nice deep colour, then add the butter and herbs to the pan and baste for a few seconds
6
Transfer the pan to the preheated oven and cook for 3–4 minutes
7
Leave the chops in a warm place for 5 minutes to rest before carving or serving. This is an important step to let the muscles in the meat relax, meaning the delicious juices won't spill out onto the chopping board and your chops remain as juicy and flavourful as possible

What to serve with pork chops

Apple is one of the most common pairings with pork, and for good reason. The sweet sharpness of a Bramley apple cuts through the fat of pork wonderfully, as demonstrated in our pork chop, cider cream sauce and caramelised apples recipe. Marcus Waring, on the other hand, barbecues his pork chops for a smoky finish, glazes in homemade barbecue sauce and serves with a silky smooth apple purée.

Pork chop is a common cut used to make the popular Japanese Katsu sando as well as the classic German schnitzel and the Italian dish pork chop Milanesa. Adam Gray takes British inspiration from a traditional roast dinner with his Saddleback pork chop with black pudding dish, which includes all the trimmings of roast potatoes, carrots and gravy.

Take inspiration from Mexico with our Pork chop with rhubarb and ancho chilli salsa, France with our Pork and flageolet beans recipe or Vietnam with our fish sauce caramel pork chop.

As you can see, the pork chop is such a versatile piece of meat, and surprisingly affordable too. Go out and buy some today!