Why are my braised pork chops inconsistent?

  • Why are my braised pork chops inconsistent? user14697

    I have a recipe for long, slow, braised pork chops. I make them the same way every time. I buy 1 inch chops on the bone. Sometimes they come out incredibly tender and sometimes dry and stringy. I know it has to do with fat content as the dry ones have very little fat to skim from the sauce. But I can not discern from the raw meat, which is fattier. I buy center cut chops. The recipe calls for blade chops, but stores don't always have that. Help?

  • The resulting quality of a braise has to do with the connective tissue rather than the fat. Your recipe calls for the blade chop because it is close to the shoulder, which is tougher and contains more connective tissue. This tissue is tough to start, but braising breaks it down into a gelatin and makes the meat tender (and juicy). When you pick your chops, look for thin lines white connective tissue throughout. Or, just use a pork shoulder.

    Also, remember to let the meat cool in the braising liquid. (Not to room temperature, but to an edible temperature). As the meat cools, it draws in some of the liquid and prevents it from drying out.

  • I find that the texture of meat is often stringier and tougher if it's cooked straight from the fridge. It's always better if you give it a good few hours out of the fridge to come up to room temperature.

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