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Sous Vide Is the Chef’s Secret for the Juiciest Pork Chops — So Easy to Do at Home

Doing this *make-ahead* step cuts the prep time in half during weeknights!

If you ask us, pork chops deserve so much credit for being an affordable and versatile dinner option. That’s why we’re always on the lookout for delicious new ways to cook them. One of our favorites: a unique method called sous vide. This technique takes seasoned meat like pork chops, places them inside sealed plastic bags and slowly cooks them in heated water. Because this method uses gentle heat, your pork chops are less likely to end up dry and overcooked. Instead, the meat becomes succulent and flavorful — giving you the most bang for your buck. Since there are a few different ways to sous vide at home, we’ve got all of the chef’s tips and insights you need for a delicious dinner. Keep reading to learn more about the technique and how to make mouthwatering sous vide pork chops!

What is sous vide?

Sous vide (pronounced “soo-vee”) involves placing a small amount of meat, fish or vegetables in a heat-resistant plastic bag with seasonings. The bag is then tightly-sealed before it’s cooked in a low-temperature water bath. The main goal of sous vide is slowly cooking the food so the fibers break down and become tender. This does wonders for a cut of meat like pork chops, which are notoriously prone to drying out.

How sous vide helps create juicy pork chops

Pork chops come from a part of the pig called the loin. Since this area is lean, there’s not enough fat to naturally keep the pork chops moist during cooking. That’s why a cooking method like sous vide is worth trying as it helps lock in the meat’s juices and flavor. “As your meat will be cooked in a sealed bag, no juices will escape during the cooking time,” says Kai Borghesan, a butcher at Walden Local’s Butcher Shop. “Any flavors you pack in with your meats [in the sealed pouch] will be uniformly picked up by your meal as it cooks, evenly seasoning the entire piece.” To ensure a tight seal on the plastic bags, use a vacuum sealer or press the air out and zip.

The juices staying within the bag also prevents the protein from shrinking too much — resulting in meaty pork chops. Once cooked, you can remove the pork chops, pat them dry and quickly sear them to achieve a browned crust that complements the succulent interior. Ultimately, the sous vide method produces delicious pork chops that turns your weeknight dinner from ordinary to exciting!

3 ways to sous vide pork chops at home

While each sous vide method has its benefits for your wallet, counter space or convenience, they all create juicy pork chops. Here’s a quick breakdown of all of the common ways to sous vide at home.

1. Budget-friendly method: stovetop sous vide

An easy way to try this cooking method by creating a DIY sous vide station on the stove. To do this, you’ll need a large heavy pot to hold the pork chops, an instant-read thermometer to precisely heat the water and a timer to track the cooking time. This method does require keeping a close eye on the pot to avoid any mishaps while it’s on the burner. But, the ChefSteps YouTube Channel showcases a straightforward guide on how to sous vide food on the stove without hassle.

2. Portable temperature control method: immersion circulator sous vide

For more hands-free temperature control, you can invest in an immersion circulator like one from Wancle (Buy from Amazon, $49.99). The device is meant to be placed in a water-filled pot, where it circulates and brings the water to the correct temperature — no stovetop heat needed. In the National Pork Board‘s video below, watch how an immersion circulator creates an optional temperature water bath with the click of a button.

3. Restaurant-style method: sous vide machine

A sous vide machine like the Typher Sous Vide Station (Available at Typhur.com) consists of a tank with a built-in circulator. The circulator heats the water and maintains a steady temperature so meat like pork chops cook evenly. Also, using the appliance’s app, you can schedule, pause or stop the process even while you’re away from the kitchen. See how this process of cooking pork chops in a sous vide machine works in this video from Typher Culinary.

How long it takes to sous vide pork chops

Sous viding pork chops until they reach an internal temperature of 145°F takes a minimum of 1 to 2 hours. Whether you use bone-in or boneless pork chops, Borghesan suggests using meat that’s more than 1 inch thick. “The thinner your meat is, the greater chance you have of overcooking it as you brown the outside,” he adds. Now, let’s dig into a tasty sous vide pork chops recipe!

A delicious sous vide pork chops recipe

This recipe comes from the America’s Test Kitchen cookbook titled Sous Vide for Everybody (Buy from Amazon, $14.99) — and delivers on savory, pungent and fresh flavors. Even better, you can assemble the pork chop pouch and store it in the fridge for a day or two. When you’re ready to cook the meat, allow the plastic bag to sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes before cooking.

Sous Vide Boneless Thick-Cut Pork Chops with Red Pepper and Almond Relish

A recipe for Sous Vide Boneless Thick-Cut Pork Chops with Red Pepper and Almond Relish
Courtesy of America's Test Kitchen

Ingredients:

Pork chops:

  • 2 boneless center-cut pork chops, about 1½ inches thick, trimmed
  • ½ tsp. table salt
  • ¼ tsp. pepper
  • 3 Tbs. vegetable oil, divided

Red pepper and almond relish:

  • ½ cup finely chopped jarred roasted red peppers
  • ¼ cup slivered almonds, toasted and chopped coarse
  • 2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 Tbs. minced fresh parsley
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh oregano
  • ¼ teaspoon table salt

Directions:

  • Total time: 2½ to 3½ hours
  • Yield: 2 servings
  1. In medium bowl, combine relish ingredients. Cover with plastic wrap and chill in fridge until ready to serve.
  2. Using sous vide circulator, bring water to 140°F in 7-quart container or pot. (Note: Aim to use same temperature for stovetop or sous vide machine methods.)
  3. Sprinkle chops on both sides with salt and pepper. Arrange chops in single layer in 1-gallon zipper-lock freezer bag. Add 2 Tbs. oil and seal bag, pressing out as much air as possible.
  4. Gently lower bag into prepared water bath until chops are fully submerged, and then clip top corner of bag to side of water bath container, allowing remaining air bubbles to rise to top of bag. Reopen 1 corner of zipper, release remaining air bubbles, and reseal bag. Cover and cook for at least 2 hours or up to 3 hours.
  5. Transfer chops to paper towel–lined plate and let rest for 5 to 10 minutes. Pat chops dry with paper towels.
  6. Heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil in 10-inch skillet over medium-high heat until just smoking. Place chops in skillet and cook until well browned on first side, 1 to 2 minutes, lifting halfway through cooking to redistribute fat underneath each chop. Flip chops and continue to cook until well browned on second side, 1 to 2 minutes longer.
  7. Serve, passing relish separately.

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