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Pork chops are a staple around my house and I almost always cook them sous vide. There are several different types of pork chops and most are tender cuts that just have to be heated through and pasteurized, about 2 to 4 hours depending on the thickness. They can be cooked at many different temperatures, with the normal range from 135°F to 149°F (57.2°C to 65°C), with 140°F (60°C) being my favorite.
Sous vide pork chops are some of my favorite dishes to make. Using sous vide allows me to heat them at a lower temperature than using traditional methods, resulting in a moist and tender chop, something that is so hard to do using traditional methods.
How long to cook pork chops depends on the thickness of them. To be ready to eat, they just need to be heated through, which means that you can use the charts from Sous Vide Cooking Times by Thickness or our Sous Vide Timing Ruler. However, I often like to use sous vide to pasteurize my pork chops, which typically just entails an extra 15 to 30 minutes, which is usually a tradeoff I'm willing to make to ensure my food is completely safe to eat. This is usually 2 to 4 hours to fully cook the pork chops.
Beyond safety, there are several different cuts of pork chops. For the ones that are less tender, like sous vide blade chops or sous vide rib chops, a longer cooking time can be used to tenderize them with sous vide.
Cooking pork chops with sous vide is a pretty forgiving process, so an extra few hours won't make much of a difference in the taste of the final dish.
Not surprisingly, sous vide pork chops do best at the standard chop-like sous vide temperatures. The normal range is from 135°F to 149°F (57.2°C to 65°C) and ranges from medium rare to well done.
They will turn out great anywhere in that range, depending on your preference. I usually cook mine at 140°F (60°C), it's still very tender but most of the pink is now gone.
Even though most people think of a "pork chop" as being a single cut of pork, there are actually several different types of chops, all cut from various sections of the pork loin. They are similar to a t-bone or porterhouse steak from a cow.
Some pork chops are very tender and others start to become tough. Even most of the tough ones are usually pretty good just heated through, though they definitely benefit from longer times to tenderize them. To me, the rib chop and the boneless loin chops look like "regular" pork chops.
The main types of pork chops are: loin chops, rib chops, shoulder chops and blade chops, and sirloin chops.
These chops come from the back of the loin and the meat is split between the tenderloin and the loin, though top loin chops will not have any tenderloin. Because of the large amount of loin, they are generally very mild and only need to be heated through or pasteurized, usually sous vide pork loin chops are great after 2 to 4 hours.
Pork loin chops come either bone in, or boneless. The boneless is usually mostly loin with a small tail of tenderloin, while the bone-in can have more of a mix.
Coming from the rib section of loin, these ribs often are bone-in with baby back ribs attached to them. They often have a large portion of loin meat, with almost no tenderloin. The fat cap is also usually attached on one side.
They are fattier and have more connective tissue than some chops and can benefit from longer sous vide times. I usually prefer sous vide rib chops tenderized for 5 to 8 hours, though they are ok just heated through.
Not surprisingly, these come from the shoulder of the pig. They are normally fatty, with connective tissue and often bone in them. Sous vide blade chops are full of flavor, but are tough and are best when tenderized for at least 8 to 12 hours. They are also the only chops that are often braised, so you can use braise-like temperatures on them as well.
Sirloin chops come from the hip area of the loin and have more bone than most chops. The meat is from various areas including loin, tenderloin and sirloin and is best when tenderized for a while, usually sous vide sirloin chops are best after 6 to 12 hours depending on the ratios of meat.
As I said, I love sous vide pork chops because of how moist and flavorful they are, but they are also SUPER convenient. This recipe highlights just how easy they are to put together. It works best with loin chops, but you can increase the time to account for tougher chops like blade or sirloin.
Preheat the water bath to 140°F (60°C) or your desired temperature.
Salt the pork chop and, if desired, rub with the spice rub. Place the pork chops in a sous vide bag then seal. Place the bag in the water bath and cook the pork for 2 to 4 hours, until heated through and ideally pasteurized.
Take the sous vide bag out of the water and remove the cooked pork chops. Dry the chops thoroughly using paper towels or a dish cloth. If desired, lightly salt the pork then quickly sear it for 1 to 2 minutes per side, until just browned, then remove from the heat and serve.
Yup! I often season, seal and freeze my pork chops and just toss them directly into the sous vide. It generally adds about 50% to the cooking time, and I have values in my sous vide time and temperature charts.
One word of caution, you may need to weigh down the bags more than usual because frozen pork can float.
In general, the point of a brine is to add moisture to the meat (and maybe some flavor) so that the end result will be juicier. However, with sous vide pork chops, the lower temperatures from the sous vide process means that a whole lot less water is lost during the cooking process. This means that adding water through brining the pork just makes it taste a little more watery.
Because of this, I never brine my sous vide pork chops. I will salt them before putting them in the bag, but I always skip the brining process.
That said, some people still swear by using a brine, and if that is the case for you then go right ahead! I'm a big believer in doing what makes you happy!
I often cook both bone in and bone out pork chops sous vide and they both have worked out great for me. The bone-in are a little harder to sear afterwards if you use a pan sear, but not TOO much harder.
If the bone looks sharp, you can wrap it in a little bit of aluminum foil, or even a paper towel, to make sure it doesn't puncture the bag.
I usually use bone-in pork chops because they look much nicer at my butcher. But I haven't found any real flavor difference between bone-in and bone-out chops, but some people swear by one or the other, so feel free to use whatever you prefer.
Pre-searing pork chops does add some flavor, and makes the post-sear go faster. That said, I almost never do it due to the extra time it takes. Some people always pre-sear before sous vide, but the results are very similar to each other.
I also go into a lot more detail in my article about pre-sear vs post-sear in sous vide.
Like most proteins, searing pork chops after sous vide adds a ton of flavor. Sometimes I'm lazy and don't sear them, but whenever I want to maximize my results I definitely do.
Almost any of the best sous vide searing methods will work great with pork chops. My favorite is to sear them in a cast iron pan or on a grill, but a torch or other searing method will work great.
To get a great sear on sous vide pork chops, be sure to dry them off really well, and then sear them over high heat.
I eat a lot of pork chops throughout the week as part of my food prep. I will usually put 1 to 2 in a sous vide bag (a standard portion for either me, or me and my wife). I will cook them all at once, then once done I will remove them from the sous vide machine and do the 3-step chilling process.
They will then last in the refrigerator for a week or so, and in the freezer for months.
When I want to eat them, I will either reheat the pork chops in the sous vide machine at a temperature about 10°F to 15°F below my cooking temperature. This allows me to sear them for a little longer without over cooking them. Sometimes I will even just re-heat them by tossing them on the grill when they are still cold.
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