The Absolute Best Pork Chop Seasonings, According to Chefs
Just like with all meat dishes, there are a variety of ways to cook up pork chops. You can grill them, bake them, pan-sear them, or even pop them in an instant pot or slow cooker, depending on how soon you want to eat. It doesn't matter how you prepare the dish to make sure it's a delicious meal, but one thing that always matters is ensuring that the pork chops are flavorful with the best pork chop seasoning.
With all of the options for seasonings out there, it can be a little tricky to determine what actually tastes the best with the chops. When you do find a flavor you like, how much should you put on? What's the best way to season the meat?
Sometimes you can go with your gut, or you can always turn to expert sources, like these professional chefs who dish on their favorite pork chop seasoning recipes. For more meat cooking tips, check out 9 Secrets for Cooking the Best Steak.
Brown sugar, paprika, and sage
Sometimes when you're picking the best possible seasoning for a dish, you can't just choose one. Instead, Tony Sudak, a professional chef at Walden Local Meat, recommends combining brown sugar, paprika, and sage to season pork chops, along with some salt and pepper.
"The brown sugar in the rub will cut that richness of the fat, and the sage complements the pork with its seasonal flavors," Sudak says. "You don't need a rub with 15 ingredients to make something taste good, because ingredients that are intentionally used to highlight the protein are going to elevate the flavor of the protein instead of masking it."
Salt and pepper
Sure, it's nice to feel fancy every once in a while and really go crazy on a good spice mix for your food. But more often than not, it's best to stay simple, especially when you're cooking something like pork chops. With that in mind, one of the best seasonings for pork chops is a simple salt and pepper combination.
"Good quality meat rarely needs to be heavily seasoned to be flavorful and delicious," says Tony Finnestad, the executive chef for food service at Hormel Foods Corporation. "A simple salt and pepper seasoning will always do the trick."
When you don't want to complicate your pork chop recipe too much, but want to step it up a bit with the flavor, try adding some garlic powder to the meat.
"If you want to add a little extra flavor, a touch of garlic powder is always nice," says Rusty Hansen, a professional chef at Hunters Feast. "However, you should be careful not to overdo it with the seasonings, as too much can overwhelm the natural flavor of the pork."
Rosemary and garlic
Rosemary and garlic is a classic combination and one that is sure to bring a lot of delicious flavor to your pork chop, but you should keep in mind how you put these seasonings on the meat. Gabriel Glasier, a former executive chef and founder of Chef Travel Guide, says that the best way to go about imparting the seasoning's flavor into the meat is by placing the pork chop in a brine.
"These classic seasonings complement the flavor of the meat and provide flavors that resonate on a deeper level," Glasier says. "The best option is to brine a whole or half pork rack with the spices and aromatics that you want to put on the pork. Through the process of osmosis, the flavoring will permeate the pork and season it all the way through."
In addition to the seasonings that Glasier puts on the pork chop before it cooks, he recommends finishing it with a tomato bacon jam for an extra kick of flavor.