When you’re buying good quality, slow grown, native breed pork it makes sense to do it justice by cooking it in a way that will keep it juicy and tender. A great way to do this without worrying about overcooking is to cook it sous vide.
The method we’re employing with sous vide is the reverse sear method. So rather than browning at the beginning of the cook, we do it at the end. The advantage of sous vide is that you can control the temperature and so you know that your pork is at exactly the right doneness. It’s very difficult to over cook.
With sous vide you set the temperature that you want to achieve throughout the chop and as long as you’ve left it in the bath for long enough, it will not rise above that temperature. Leaving for longer might mean a slight loss of liquid, but there will not be a significant change that will spoil your enjoyment. The range your looking for is between 54°C for rare 73°C for well done.
Rare 54°C: I wouldn’t recommend this with pork chops, this is just cooked and the meat is juicy, but difficult to chew..
Medium-rare 60°C: Chops done at this temperature will be juicy and tender, but with a bit of bite. This is probably the perfect temperature to cook good quality, native breed pork.
Medium-well 66°C: If you like a firmer texture, this is probably the best temperature for you. The chops will still have plenty of moisture and flavour.
Well-done 73°C: Your chops will still have plenty of moisture, but will have a firm texture, similar to when you cook them conventionally and misjudge it slightly!!
A good rule of thumb for timing is to allow 15-20 minutes for every half inch thickness of chop. For a 284g pork t-bone, I allowed 1 hour at 60°C and the result was perfectly juicy meat on the loin side with a beautifully tender fillet. Leaving the chops in for longer and up to 4 hours or so, doesn’t spoil the result too much.
Which chops to use.
Loin chops have a good proportion of meat and are tender and juicy. Pork spare rib chops are less tender, but have a great depth of flavour and seams of fat running through the meat. T-bone chops are my favourite as, like with the beef T-bone, you get some fillet and some loin on either side of the bone. Because of the control you have with sous vide, both parts will be perfectly cooked.
You should get a better flavour from bone in chops than from steaks when your cooking sous vide. All the flavour that comes from the bone remains in the bag during the cooking process. Just be careful that there aren’t any sharp edges that will puncture your bag.
How to Cook Pork Chops Sous Vide.
Preheat your sous vide bath to the finished temperature that you’re looking for.
If you want to season or flavour your chops beforehand, do so and then vac pac them. I prefer to cook without seasoning and then add it later.
Put the bag into the sous vide bath and cook for the required time.
Remove the pork chops from the bag and pat them dry with some kitchen roll.
Heat some oil and butter or pork dripping in a cast iron skillet. When hot add your pork chops.
When the chops are nicely browned on one side, which should only take a minute or so, flip them over and brown on the other side. Baste them with the butter and oil or dripping from the pan.
To crisp up the edges turn the chops using a pair of tongs and hold them in the hot oil.
Rest the chops and season until your ready to eat. For an extra flourish try putting the chops on a wire rack with a roasting ti below and tip the hot oil from the pan over them.