If you think pork chops are delicious, honey-glazed pork chops are a simple, yet decadent, upgrade — and they’re pretty easy to boot.
All you need in good quality pork, ample salt and black pepper, that magically sweet pairing of brown sugar and honey — and a total time of about an hour in the kitchen. Perfect for a weeknight main dish, especially for anyone who likes a little sweet to go with their savory.
How to choose the best pork chops
Not all pork is created equal — and you can absolutely taste the difference. Like most meats, the way the pig is raised has a real impact on the final pork product. A farm- or pasture-raised heritage pork is almost a different beast from your typical fatty industrial pork, which takes the “other white meat” slogan to a rather bland result.
That said, bone-in pork chops, of whatever origin, are always going to taste better than boneless pork chops. (Closest to the bone/Sweeter is the meat, goes the Louis Prima song — and it’s true). The bone also offers the home cook a little forgiveness, when it comes to cooking time, and makes it fun for kids and adults alike to pick up the pork with their hands and nibble away at the tastiest bits. Also, thickness matters. Thin chops may cook quickly, but they overcook quickly as well. Chops that are at least ¾” to 1” thick are ideal — double-thick chops, even better.
More glorious glazes
There is nothing wrong with glazed pork chops made with good ol’ salt, black pepper, honey and brown sugar. But if you want to change it up from the sugar glaze, you’re in luck — there’s no shortage of options to create new pork chops recipe at home. Mustard is a must, at least in my household. Balsamic vinegar adds tangy flavor. Orange is a classic pairing. Ginger and dijon add layers of flavor. Chipotle, garlic powder and cayenne pepper add spice. Fish sauce makes it Southeast Asian. And maple syrup and soy sauce (alone or together) are no-brainers.
Pink is perfection
Especially if you purchase your pork chops wisely, there’s no need to overcook. The latest USDA guidelines say to cook pork to an internal temperature of 145 degrees to be safe, plus a few minutes to let the meat rest (which you should be doing with all your meats, regardless). That’s 15 degrees F less than the bad old days. So watch your cook time and use a meat thermometer if you have one. Whether you grill, or sear then bake, as this pork chop recipe instructs, the key is to start high, then finish over medium heat or medium-high heat, to seal in juices but also to make sure the meat reaches the right temp before it dries out and becomes whitish-gray.
What to pair with glazed pork chops
The real beauty of pork chops is that they’re great winter, spring, summer or fall, and can flex to accommodate almost endless flavor profiles. It’s your pairings that define the meal. Classic Southern sides dishes include collard greens, mac n’ cheese, mashed potatoes — or potato salad, if it’s hot out — plus cornbread and coleslaw. Sauteed apples and onions with rosemary potatoes and green beans is a classic side dish that feels like autumn, while spring onions, peas and new potatoes scream spring, and braised cabbage makes the pork chops feels wintry and Germanic. Polenta and broccoli rabe make it Italian. Add rice, cucumbers, pickled carrots and radish, mint, cilantro and red lettuce leaves to Vietnamese-inspired glazed pork chops, and you’re basically in Hanoi. Or pair the pork chops with a simple green salad and call it a nice summer day.
What wine goes with pork?
However you serve them, glazed pork chops certainly take to a crisp wine or beer — something that will cut through the sweetness of the glaze while also highlighting everything that’s savory. An Alsatian riesling or Gewürztraminer, pinot gris or Gruner Veltliner are all strong go-to choices, should you be enjoying wine tonight.
- 4 porterhouse (bone-in loin) pork chops (3/4 to 1-inch thick)
- salt (to taste)
- black pepper (to taste)
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar (packed)
- 2 tablespoons honey
- nonstick spray
- Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Sprinkle chops with salt and pepper.
- Coat large skillet with nonstick cooking spray. Heat skillet over medium heat. Add pork chops. Cook until brown, turning once. Remove chops.
- Place chops in 9x13-inch baking dish. Combine brown sugar and honey in small bowl. Microwave on HIGH (100%) for 20 seconds; stir to combine. Spoon half of the honey mixture over tops of chops, spreading evenly.
- Bake, uncovered, for 15 minutes. Turn chops; spoon remaining honey mixture over chops, spreading evenly.
- Bake until internal temperature is 160 degrees F, 15-20 minutes. To serve, spoon pan drippings over chops.
- Serves 4.