The pork chop cooking temp you choose can make a difference in how tender and juicy the pork chops come out. In addition to cooking temp, you should pay attention to how you prepare the pork chops. When prepared well, baked pork chops can be a nutritious main course.
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When you bake pork chops, make sure you cook them at a moderate temperature between 375 and 425 degrees Fahrenheit, to help prevent them from drying out. You may want to consider trying different marinades to make a flavor that you enjoy.
Baked Pork Chops Nutrition
"Pork chops" is a generic term used to describe a cut of pork. A pork chop can come from anywhere along the length of the pig's back, from about the shoulders, to the rear, where the hip is located. The closer the pork chop is cut to the shoulders, the fattier the meat will be, and the closer it is cut to the rear of the pig, the leaner.
According to the USDA, if you choose a center cut, bone-in 4 ounce loin chop, you'll add 144 calories to your daily intake. Pork chops are also high in protein, and will provide nearly 25 grams of protein in that serving. Protein is a necessary nutrient, one which serves several functions in the body, including helping to build strong muscles. If you are watching your fat intake, there are less than 5 grams of total fat in this cut.
However, pork chops will vary in their protein, calorie, and fat levels, based on how close to the shoulder or hip the meat is cut. In general, if the cut comes from closer to shoulders, such as blade chops, the fat content will increase. Cuts like porterhouse pork chops, which have T-shaped bone, may have slightly less fat.
According to the National Pork Board, regardless of location of the cut, the baking times and internal temperature targets for pork remain the same. In all cases, the minimum safe temperature that the pork needs to reach is 145 F.
Bake Pork Chops 375 F
When you bake pork chops in the oven, you will often see 375 F as the recommended cooking temperature, for most bone-in pork chop recipes. Most cuts of pork chop will cook in about 20 minutes. However, cooking times can vary between different bone-in pork chop recipes. For example, the National Pork Board recommends cooking in the oven for about 6 to 8 minutes at 425 F. However, they also note that you can roast (which is very similar to baking) pork chops at 350 F until an internal temperature of 145 F is reached.
The National Pork Board has these tips for baking the perfect pork chops:
- When you use a meat thermometer to check the temperature, avoid touching the bone, as it can cause a false reading
- When flipping the chops, don't use sharp utensils that can puncture the meat. Holes can cause the meat to lose its juices.
- Pork chops with bones in them will cook faster than those without the bone, so you may need to adjust the cooking time.
- You can use the drippings from the chops to create a tasty gravy
- To get a crispy surface, make sure the oven is fully-heated before placing the chops in the oven. Also, don't cover the chops when cooking.
Before you bake the pork chops, you may want to consider searing the meat. When you sear the meat, you create a crispy outer edge. For best results, you should sear room-temperature pork chops, for a couple of minutes per side, in a small amount of oil.
A cast iron skillet, or other oven-safe pan, works best for searing, because you can place it directly in the oven. If you don't have an oven-safe pan, you can transfer the chops to a baking dish after you sear them, to finish baking them in the oven.
If you are watching your fat intake, you may want to consider not searing the pork chops first. Searing them in oil or butter adds a bit of fat to the pork chops. To get extra flavor and moisture, you can try non-fat marinades, or to use a brine. A brine is a salty solution that helps keep the pork chops moist when baking.