Pork chops are a versatile cut of meat, suitable for pretty much any cooking method you desire, including a long, slow session in a Crock-Pot. More than just a busy person's substitute for slaving over a stove, slow cooking is a choice method for cooking pork chops as it helps them retain their tasty liquids that develop as they cook, while allowing them to self-baste until unctuously tender. Few seasonings are necessary, but the basic technique is easy to adapt to incorporate your favorite ingredients and turn the chops into a full, one-pot meal.
- Paper towels
- Sauce or braising liquid (optional)
- Fruit and vegetables (optional)
The Crock-Pot cooking method is the same for boneless pork chops and pork chops on the bone. If you cook the pork for long enough that the meat falls off the bone, remove the bones before serving.
Thinner cut pork chops will not take as long to cook as thicker ones, but don't worry about them overcooking. With the Crock-Pot method, the meat will just become softer and fall apart, rather than getting tough.
Skip sugary or creamy store-bought sauces to avoid adding lots of calories to the meal. Stock, wine, lemon juice and homemade sauces add moisture without extra fat.
Remove pork chops from their packaging, and pat them dry with paper towels. If you are using frozen pork chops, thaw them in advance.
Season the pork chops on both sides with your choice of herbs and spices, like freshly ground black pepper, an Italian herb blend, dried parsley or, for a little heat, dried chili flakes. Don't add salt until you've tasted the cooked pork.
Lay thickly sliced vegetables, such as onions, bell peppers, carrots, potatoes or cabbage, in the bottom of the Crock-Pot, if you desire. Thick slices of a fruit that complements the flavor of pork, such as apples and pineapple, are another option.
Arrange the seasoned pork chops over the vegetable or fruit slices, if you included them, or in the bottom of the pot. Keep the chops in a single layer if possible.
Add a small amount -- no more than a few tablespoons -- of a sauce or braising liquid, if you wish. This will result in extra moist chops with a pulled pork-like consistency and their own sauce ready to serve. Consider adding a little barbecue sauce, prepared salsa, lemon juice, teriyaki sauce, hard cider, apple sauce or dry white wine.
Place the lid on the Crock-Pot and set it to cook on low for 7 to 8 hours, or on high for 4 to 6 hours. Leave the contents undisturbed until it's time to eat.
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A writer of diverse interests, Joanne Thomas has penned pieces about road trips for Hyundai, children's craft projects for Disney and wine cocktails for Robert Mondavi. She has lived on three continents and currently resides in Los Angeles, where she is co-owner and editor of a weekly newspaper. Thomas holds a BSc in politics from the University of Bristol, England.