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Skillet-BBQ Pork Chops

(recipe, rich boyett)


America’s Test Kitchen


  1. Pork Chops
  2. ½ cup table salt
  3. 4 bone-in pork rib chops , ¾ to 1 inch thick (8 to 10 ounces each), trimmed of excess fat, sides slit according to illustration below (see note above)
  4. 4 tsp. vegetable oil
  5. Spice Rub
  6. 1 Tbsp. paprika
  7. 1 Tbsp. brown sugar
  8. 2 tsp. ground coriander
  9. 1 tsp. ground cumin
  10. 1 tsp. ground black pepper
  11. Sauce
  12. ½ cup ketchup
  13. 3 Tbsp. light molasses
  14. 2 Tbsp. grated onion
  15. 2 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
  16. 2 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
  17. 1 Tbsp. cider vinegar
  18. 1 Tbsp. brown sugar
  19. 1 tsp. liquid smoke


  1. 1. FOR THE PORK CHOPS: Dissolve salt in 2 quarts water in large bowl or container. Submerge chops in brine, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  2. 2. FOR THE SPICE RUB: Combine ingredients in small bowl. Measure 2 teaspoons mixture into medium bowl and set aside for sauce. Transfer remaining spice rub to pie plate or large plate.
  3. 3. FOR THE SAUCE: Whisk ingredients in bowl with reserved spice mixture; set aside.
  4. 4. TO COOK CHOPS: Remove chops from brine and pat dry with paper towels. Coat both sides of chops with spice rub, pressing gently so rub adheres. Pat chops to remove excess rub; discard excess rub.
  5. 5. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in 12-inch heavy-bottomed nonstick skillet over medium heat until just smoking. Following illustration below, place chops in skillet in pinwheel formation; cook until charred in spots, 5 to 8 minutes. Flip chops and continue to cook until second side is browned and charred and center of chop registers 130 degrees on instant-read thermometer, 4 to 8 minutes. Remove skillet from heat and transfer chops to clean plate or baking sheet. Lightly brush top side of each chop with 2 teaspoons sauce.
  6. 6. Wipe out pan with paper towels and return to medium heat. Add remaining teaspoon oil and heat until just smoking. Add chops to pan, sauce-side down, and cook without moving until sauce has caramelized and charred in spots, about 1 minute. While cooking, lightly brush top side of each chop with 2 teaspoons sauce. Turn chops and cook until second side is charred and caramelized and center of chops registers 140 degrees on instant-read thermometer, 1 to 1½ minutes.
  7. 7. Transfer chops back to plate or baking sheet, tent with foil, and let rest 5 minutes. Internal temperature should rise to about 145 degrees. Meanwhile, add remaining sauce to pan and cook, scraping pan bottom, until thickened to ketchup-like consistency and reduced to ⅔ cup, about 3 minutes. Brush each chop with 1 tablespoon reduced sauce and serve immediately, passing remaining sauce at table.