grilling thin pork chops on flame

If you have thin-cut pork chops, they're presumably boneless, as bone-in cuts are usually over an inch thick. Whether you have butterflied blade chops, thin center cuts or another slender cut, you'll need to be careful not to overcook the meat. That's easier to do with thin pieces, plus the cuts you most likely have are on the lean side, making them more prone to turning out a little dry and tough.

Baked thin pork chops are simple to prepare. They're relatively light on flavor, so they're receptive to an enormous array of seasonings and sauces. Serving them breaded is a popular option too. All in all, there are countless pork chop recipes to choose from, so once you master the basic process of making thin pork chops in the oven, there are plenty of directions you can go with them.

Brining Thin-Cut Pork Chops

While not necessary, brining thin pork chops is a good idea if you have the time and inclination. This process of soaking raw meat in salt water imparts flavor and moisture, and it protects against the effects of overcooking. In other words, you get tastier, juicier pork chops.

Put enough water in a glass or other nonreactive baking dish to fully immerse the pork chops. Stir in 3 tablespoons of kosher salt per 4 cups of water and an equal amount of white or brown sugar; the latter contains molasses and imparts more flavor.

Technically, that's all you need for a brine, but you're missing out on a flavoring opportunity if you stop there. Add any herbs, spices or aromatics you want, but preferably the same ones you intend to use when you cook the pork chops (or complementary ones).

Lay the pork chops in the dish, cover it with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 30 minutes to 2 hours. The longer you brine, the more moisture and flavor you impart, but don't soak thin cuts longer than this or they can end up mushy.

Preparing Thin Pork Chops

If you brined them, remove the pork chops from the baking dish, discard the brine and pat the meat dry. Brush the chops with cooking oil or melted butter, and then season them to taste with herbs, spices and aromatics of your choosing. Skip the salt or use it minimally if you brined, though. Add things like cracked pepper, thyme, oregano, marjoram, sage, rosemary, dry or regular mustard, garlic or onion powder, citrus zest, or a seasoning mix like Italian seasoning, poultry seasoning (don't be fooled by the name – it works on pork too!) or herbes de Provence.

To make breaded pork chops, beat an egg or two and stir in 1 tablespoon of water per egg in a large bowl. You just need enough to lightly coat all the pork chops. In a second bowl, combine breadcrumbs with desired seasonings. Submerge the pork chops in the egg, lift them up and let the excess drip off, and then dredge them in the breadcrumbs, covering them completely.

Baking Thin-Cut Pork Chops

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Place the pork chops on a greased baking tray and put them in the center of the oven. Bake them for about 7 to 8 minutes, and then flip them over. Continue baking for approximately another 7 to 8 minutes.

Cooking time varies depending on the exact oven temperature and its consistency, the thickness of the pork chops, the darkness of your baking tray and other factors. So, don't rely on cooking time to know when to take the pork chops out of the oven. Instead, use a meat thermometer to read their internal temperature.

For the juiciest, most tender, but safe results, stop cooking the pork chops at medium rare, 145 F. If you prefer them more well done, they'll be drier and tougher, but cook them up to 160 F. Let the pork chops rest for 3 or 4 minutes before cutting into them to prevent excessive moisture loss.