Nervous about overcooking pork chops? Try sous vide! Cooking pork chops sous vide keeps them moist and tender, and finishing them on the grill brings on the char and flavor!
Pork chops—bone in or boneless—are so delicious and easy to cook. But that also means they are easy to overcook. And there’s nothing worse than a dry pork chop that is too tough to swallow.
Enter sous vide. It’s a cooking style that is known for its ability to keep cuts of meat, such as pork chops, moist and tender. It’s also a failsafe way to cook pork and guarantee it’s going to turn out spectacular. Every single time. Promise.
HOW DOES SOUS VIDE WORK?
How does this work, exactly? Well, sous vide cooking uses an immersion circulator to create a consistent temperature environment for cooking, and therefore, consistent cooking results. It basically acts like a slow, gentle poach, one that helps food retain its moisture, too.
The low, slow method of cooking sous vide is well suited to proteins, like pork chops and steak. It makes for an incredibly tender cut that remains juicy and flavorful with no question of doneness.
There’s a little bit of a learning curve with using this style of cooking, but it’s nothing to be too wary of. It’s mostly a hands-off process, not unlike cooking in a slow cooker.
New to sous vide cooking? Start here!
HOW LONG TO COOK PORK CHOPS SOUS VIDE
Bone-in pork chops take about 1 hour to 1 hour 15 minutes, depending on how thick they are.
The first time I made this recipe, I cooked four chops that were about 3/4 inches thick and weighed about 1 1/2 pounds total. They took about an hour sous vide, and then I seared them on the grill (a few minutes on each side) to develop an outer crust.
The ones I used in the photos here were larger—a little over an inch thick and about 2 1/2 pounds total. Because of their size, I cooked them a little longer, for an hour and 10 minutes. I checked them with a thermometer and they weren’t quite done, but they quickly finished cooking on the grill.
If you are cooking boneless pork chops, about a pound of boneless pork chops should take about an hour at the same temperature (140°F), but much less time when you finish them on the grill or stovetop—2 to 3 minutes each side, if that.
FREEZER PORK CHOPS FOR EASY MEALS
The beauty of cooking sous vide is that you can cook food from frozen, without thawing, and it’s perfectly safe—just add an extra 30 minutes to the cooking time.
With this recipe, package the raw pork chops in plastic bags just as if you were about to sous vide them, but then place them in the freezer and store for up to three months.
Whenever you want pork chops for dinner, just pull the bag out of the freezer and place it right in the sous vide water bath. Yes, you can cook it from frozen! (Just remember to add another half hour onto the cooking time.)
The other option? You can cook the whole thing ahead of time, refrigerate for 3 to 4 days, and then pull the pork chops out and either grill or pan-sear just to get some color and warm them back up.
MAKE THIS RECIPE YOUR OWN WITH SEASONINGS!
This recipe is deliberately basic—this way you can really taste the flavor of the meat, which becomes incredibly tender and moist when cooked sous vide. When you’re learning a new cooking method, I’m an advocate of keeping it simple in order to really learn how it works—and how the method impacts the ingredient at hand.
You don’t need to do very much to make a pork chop tender when cooking it this way; it preserves so much moisture. You might not need, for example, to overload it with sauces or other elaborate rubs—all you’re doing is giving it a slow poach, and the simplicity of that approach will enable you to taste the meat.
But once you’ve mastered the basic technique, feel free to use your favorite herbs and spices for pork, or experiment with sauces and marinades. I’m honestly so wowed by the simplicity of the pork chops with herbs that I’m going to be stuck on this combo for a while.
FINISH ON THE GRILL OR STOVETOP
Proteins cooked sous vide don’t brown nicely or look “cooked” in a traditional sense, the way a pan-seared chicken breast or grilled steak will. Sometimes sous vide food looks grey or beige when you first pull it out of the bag, which isn’t very appealing. After all, we eat with our eyes first, right?
For this reason, it’s often recommended to finish meats cooked sous vide either on the grill or on the stovetop. This sears the outside and is also another opportunity to impart a little more flavor.
In the case of these pork chops, we finish them off on the grill, thereby granting them the best of sous vide (exceedingly moist and tender meat) and the grill (nice char and flavor from the direct heat).
MORE SOUS VIDE RECIPES TO TRY!