Skillet BBQ Pork Chops

The weather is starting to come around and I'm yearning to use my grill! It's still in storage but we plan on picking it up soon - I can't wait. So in the meantime, I have to make do with preparing grilled favorites indoors and on the stovertop or oven. These Skillet BBQ Pork Chops are a delicious alternative to the seasonal grilled version. What I love most is the sweet and smoky homemade bbq sauce that this is glazed with! It really enhances the pork chops and makes this truly finger lickin' good...

The chops are first placed in a simple brine for 30 minutes before being coated in a nice mix of spices. I used a cast iron skillet and seared the chops on both sides. Meanwhile, some of the spices used are added to a homemade bbq sauce. The sauce itself is awesome - I loved how sweet, smoky and a tab spicy it was. The chops are removed and then glazed with the sauce before adding back to the skillet. All the sugars in the bbq sauce begins to caramelize onto the chops and it results in a delicious char. Just before serving, brush on some more of the sauce for good measure!

Skillet BBQ Pork Chops
recipe from America's Test Kitchen

Pork chops:
1/2 cup table salt
4 bone-in pork rib chops, thick cut (about 1 inch thick)
4 teaspoons vegetable oil

Spice rub:
1 tablespoon paprika
1 tablespoon light brown sugar
2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground black pepper

BBQ sauce:
1/2 cup ketchup
3 tablespoons light molasses
2 tablespoons grated onion
2 tablespoons Worcestershire suace
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
1 tablespoon light brown sugar
1 teaspoon liquid smoke

FOR THE PORK CHOPS: Dissolve salt in 2 quarts water in large bowl or container. Submerge chops in brine, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

FOR THE SPICE RUB: Combine ingredients in small bowl. Measure 2 teaspoons mixture into medium bowl and set aside for sauce. Transfer remaining spice rub to pie plate or large plate.

FOR THE SAUCE: Whisk ingredients in bowl with reserved spice mixture; set aside.

TO COOK CHOPS: Remove chops from brine and pat dry with paper towels. Coat both sides of chops with spice rub, pressing gently so rub adheres. Pat chops to remove excess rub; discard excess rub.

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in 12-inch heavy-bottomed nonstick skillet over medium heat until just smoking. Following illustration below, place chops in skillet in pinwheel formation; cook until charred in spots, 5 to 8 minutes. Flip chops and continue to cook until second side is browned and charred and center of chop registers 130 degrees on instant-read thermometer, 4 to 8 minutes. Remove skillet from heat and transfer chops to clean plate or baking sheet. Lightly brush top side of each chop with 2 teaspoons sauce.

Wipe out pan with paper towels and return to medium heat. Add remaining teaspoon oil and heat until just smoking. Add chops to pan, sauce-side down, and cook without moving until sauce has caramelized and charred in spots, about 1 minute. While cooking, lightly brush top side of each chop with 2 teaspoons sauce. Turn chops and cook until second side is charred and caramelized and center of chops registers 140 degrees on instant-read thermometer, 1 to 1 1/2 minutes.

Transfer chops back to plate or baking sheet, tent with foil, and let rest 5 minutes. Internal temperature should rise to about 145 degrees. Meanwhile, add remaining sauce to pan and cook, scraping pan bottom, until thickened to ketchup-like consistency and reduced to 2/3 cup, about 3 minutes. Brush each chop with 1 tablespoon reduced sauce and serve immediately, passing remaining sauce at table.

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