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Can you Recook pork chops to make them tender?

Quick Answer

Yes, you can recook pork chops to make them more tender. There are a few different methods you can use:

  • Simmer the pork chops in liquid like broth, wine, or apple juice. The moisture will help break down the proteins.
  • Braise the pork chops in the oven. Braising involves browning the chops first, then cooking them in a covered dish with a small amount of liquid at a low temperature for a long time.
  • Use a meat tenderizer. A tenderizer breaks down tough connective tissues. You can use a tenderizing marinade or an actual meat mallet/tenderizer tool before cooking.
  • Marinate the chops. An acidic marinade like one with wine, vinegar, citrus, or yogurt will tenderize the meat.
  • Cook the chops to a higher internal temperature. For maximum tenderness, cook pork chops to an internal temperature of 145°F and allow the temperature to rise to around 150°F as it rests.

The key is to use moist gentle heat methods and cook the pork thoroughly to tenderize the muscle fibers. Things like grilling, broiling, or roasting at high heat will make pork chops tougher.


Pork chops can go from tender and juicy to dry and chewy very easily. Here’s a more detailed explanation of why pork chops turn out tough and how you can rescue them:

Why Pork Chops Get Tough

There are a few reasons pork chops can turn out tough:

  • Overcooking – Cooking the pork chops above the recommended safe internal temperature of 145°F will cause the proteins to tighten and squeeze out moisture.
  • Not enough marbling – Pork from younger pigs will be more tender because they have thinner muscle fibers and more intra-muscular fat or “marbling” throughout.
  • Cut of meat – Chops from the loin end tend to be loin chops while chops from the shoulder or leg end are shoulder chops. Loin chops are leaner and prone to dryness.
  • Cooking method – Dry heat methods like grilling, broiling, pan frying without oil can make pork chops tough.
  • No acid marinade – Marinades with acidic ingredients like vinegar, citrus, wine, and yogurt will tenderize pork.

How to Make Pork Chops Tender Again

You can rescue less than tender pork chops with any of these methods:

1. Simmer in Liquid

Gently cooking the pork chops in moisture helps break down the muscle fibers. Opt for bone broth, stock, wine, apple juice, or water. Bring the liquid to a gentle simmer, add chops, cover and cook for 15-20 minutes until fully cooked through.

2. Braise the Chops

Braising is ideal for less tender meats. Brown the chops first to build flavor. Then transfer to a baking dish, add a small amount of liquid like broth, cover and cook at 300°F for 45 mins to 1 hour until fork tender.

3. Use a Tenderizer

A meat mallet or tenderizer breaks up tough connective tissues. Use a mallet or tool with forked blades to poke the chops before cooking. Also consider marinating in a tenderizing marinade that contains enzymes like pineapple, papaya, figs or kiwi.

4. Marinate the Pork

An acidic marinade will naturally tenderize the pork chops. Opt for ingredients like vinegar, wine, yogurt, citrus juice/zest, tomatoes, stone fruits, and ginger. Let the chops marinate for 30 mins up to overnight.

5. Cook to a Higher Internal Temp

Cooking pork chops to 145°F makes them safe to eat but they can still be tough. Let them cook to between 145-150°F before resting. The higher temp ensures the collagen melts for tenderness.

Tips for Avoiding Tough Pork Chops

You can avoid dry, chewy pork chops by:

  • Buying thicker chops at least 1-inch thick. Thinner chops overcook too quickly.
  • Brining the chops in salty water before cooking infuses moisture into the meat.
  • Pat drying chops before cooking so they brown and not steam.
  • Prevent overcooking by using a meat thermometer to monitor doneness. Cook to 145°F.
  • Allow chops to rest for 5-10 minutes after cooking so juices redistribute.
  • Sear or grill chops over direct high heat just until browned, then finish cooking in oven.
  • Cook chops in a pan with olive oil or butter at medium/low heat.

Proper preparation and cooking methods will help prevent dry, tough pork chops every time.

Types of Pork Chops

There are a few different cuts of pork chops, some of which are more prone to dryness:

Loin Chops – From the pork loin, these chops are leaner with less fat marbling. The most popular types of loin chops are:

  • Center cut – Bone-in or boneless from the center of the loin.
  • Rib chops – Bone-in chops from the rib end with a round bone.
  • Sirloin chops – Boneless chops from the rear end near the hip.
  • Porterhouse chops – Large bone-in chops from the rear end with both the tenderloin and top loin.

Shoulder/Blade Chops – From the pork shoulder/butt, these chops have more fat and connective tissue. Types include:

  • Blade chops – Bone-in chops from the shoulder blade.
  • Country-style ribs – Boneless chops cut from the rib end of the shoulder.

As a general rule, bone-in chops contain more moisture than boneless chops. Chops from the loin end tend to cook faster and are more prone to drying out than shoulder chops.

Best Cooking Methods for Tender Pork Chops

Here are the best cooking methods for producing tender, juicy pork chops:

Pan Searing

– Pat chops dry so they brown rather than steam. Season with salt and pepper.
– Heat olive oil or butter over medium-high heat.
– Cook chops 2-3 mins per side until browned.
– Finish chops in a 375°F oven until internal temp reaches 145°F.


– Use indirect heat to prevent burning. Build a medium fire with the coals on either side of the grill, leave the center empty.
– Cook chops over indirect heat for 8-12 mins, flipping once halfway through until 145°F.
– Optionally sear the chops directly over the coals at the end to caramelize exterior.


– Preheat oven to 375°F. Place chops on a baking sheet or pan.
– Roast for 15-25 mins until internal temperature reaches 145°F.


– Brown chops on both sides in a skillet with oil. Transfer to an oven-safe dish.
– Add a small amount of broth or liquid. Cover dish with foil or lid.
– Bake at 300°F for 45-60 mins until very tender.

Sous Vide

– Seal chops in a vacuum sealed bag with any spices or seasoning.
– Cook in a water bath at 140°F for 1 to 4 hours until tender.
– Remove chops from bag, pat dry, then sear briefly on hot skillet or grill to brown exterior.

Tender Pork Chop Recipe Ideas

Here are some excellent tender and juicy pork chop recipe ideas you can try:

Easy Baked Pork Chops

– 1/4 cup olive oil
– 1/4 cup lemon juice
– 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
– 1 tbsp mustard
– 1 tsp each salt, garlic powder, oregano
– 4 bone-in pork chops

1. Whisk together oil, lemon juice and seasonings. Reserve 2 tbsp of marinade.
2. Pour remaining marinade over chops in a zip top bag. Marinate 30 mins – 1 hour.
3. Heat oven to 375°F. Place chops on a baking sheet and roast 20-25 mins until 145°F.
4. Remove from oven, brush chops with reserved marinade and rest 5 minutes before serving.

Braised Pork Chops & Onions

– 1 tbsp olive oil
– 4 bone-in pork chops
– Salt and pepper
– 1 onion, sliced
– 1 cup chicken broth
– 1 sprig fresh thyme

1. Preheat oven to 300°F.
2. Heat oil in oven-safe skillet over medium high heat. Season chops with salt and pepper and brown 2-3 minutes per side. Transfer to plate.
3. Add onion to skillet and cook until softened, 5 minutes.
4. Return chops and any juices to skillet. Add broth and thyme.
5. Cover and transfer to oven. Braise 45-60 minutes until chops are very tender.

Brown Sugar Glazed Pork Chops

– 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
– 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
– 2 tsp Dijon mustard
– 1/8 tsp red pepper flakes
– 4 boneless pork chops

1. Combine sugar, vinegar, mustard and red pepper flakes in a small bowl.
2. Grill or pan sear pork chops over high heat 2-3 minutes per side until well browned.
3. Brush chops generously with glaze. Grill or broil 1-2 mins to caramelize glaze.
4. Flip chops and repeat glazing and broiling on second side.
5. Transfer chops to a plate and let rest 5 minutes before serving.


Pork chops that turn out dry and chewy can be rescued and made tender again. Gentle moist cooking methods like braising, simmering, or cooking in the oven will break down the tough muscle fibers. Marinating or brining also helps pork chops retain moisture. Cook pork thoroughly but not beyond 145°F internal temperature. And be sure to allow the chops to rest before slicing for maximum juiciness. With the proper preparation and cooking techniques, you can recook pork chops so they turn out incredibly tender and delicious.