Pork chops and onion, sautéed in cast iron pan

American Pork Cuts

By Cat, October 30, 2017 (photo, right, from Wikimedia Commons)

I have always loved pork chops. When I was growing up, every year my parents bought a slaughtered hog from a local farmer. My mom butchered it at the local meat locker, putting all the wrapped cuts in our freezer but reserving 3 chops for us to have that night for dinner. I still prepare them the same way as my Mom – as captured in this recipe.

Another favorite way to prepare pork chops – especially good if having guests for dinner, is Oven-Braised Pork Chops in Sour Cream Sauce.

See also: 1. Lamb and Pork Menu; 2. Brining Pork

Pork chops and onion, sautéed in cast iron skillet

This recipe is for 1 chop but is easily adjusted for more than 1. However, the cooking time (after searing) is about the same as for 1 chop – just be sure to test the meat temperature.

Ingredients & Equipment

  • 1 small or ½ larger onion
  • 1 pork chop , ~6 oz (from a hog raised sustainably)
  • unrefined sea salt if you don’t brine the chop
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • garlic powder (optional)
  • ground turmeric (optional)
  • 1 Tbsp bacon fat, lard, or coconut oil
  • Equipment:
  • cast iron skillet


  1. Brine chop(s) about 2 hours (optional).
  2. Meanwhile, slice onion and set aside.
  3. Remove chop from brine and rinse. Season chop with unrefined sea salt, black pepper and  optional garlic powder and/or turmeric. NOTE: if you brined the chop, you won’t need to season with salt.
  4. Heat fat in skillet over medium heat. Add onion, season with a little unrefined sea salt, and cook, stirring occasionally until they soften and begin to turn golden, 6 – 8 min (depending on thickness of slices). Remove from skillet and set aside.
  5. Add more fat to skillet if needed, and raise heat to high.
  6. Sear pork chop about 2 minutes each side.
  7. Lower heat to medium, scatter reserved onion over chop; cover skillet, and cook until done, to 145 – 160°F, internal temp:
    • if chop less than ½″ thick, 2 – 5 min (after searing) – tested 3 min (⅜″ thick), 1/25/23;
    • if chop between ½″ – 1″ thick, 5 – 8 min (after searing) – tested 5½ min (¾″ thick), Dec ’22; min (⅞” – 1″ thick), Oct ’23;
    • if chop more than 1″ thick, 8 – 10 min (after searing). See “Testing” notes from 2/2/23, below.


I’ve made this many times over the years of my life, but I decided to report a test, as follows:

2/22/23: Sauteed ¼ of a large onion, sliced, then set aside to keep warm. Used half a pork chop (about 3.5 oz), 1″ thick near bone, and ¾″ thick opposite bone. Seasoned with unrefined sea salt, ground black pepper, and dried, ground garlic. I’d intended to cook as instructed above, but got confused. Instead of searing both sides of the chop (over medium-high heat) about 2 min/side, I cooked one side 7 min over medium-high heat, and then realized my mistake. Cut into the chop to check it; not quite done,  so seared other side about 1½ min, then lowered heat to simmer, added lid, and checked again after 2½ min: done. Removed from pan, to serve with sauteed onion.  Result: Delicious, done just right. But next time I’ll follow the recipe instructions.

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