From America's Test Kitchen Season 1: Perfect Pork
Tender, juicy, double-thick pork chops make for a satisfying dinner, but most home cooks pass up thick chops at the market because they mistakenly assume the cooking time will be lengthy. However, roasting these chops in a blazing hot oven (their thickness prevents them from drying out) cuts down on cooking time and frees up stovetop real estate so you can make an easy pan sauce at the same time.
We chose extra-thick rib loin pork chops, which are cut from the rib section of the loin, and flavored them with a brown sugar and salt brine. We found that our thick chops couldn’t go straight into the oven—they had to be cooked in three stages. First, we seared them in a hot pan to give them a nicely browned crust, then we transferred them to a preheated pan in the oven to cook most of the way through, and finally we moved them to a platter and covered them with foil to gently come up to serving temperature (while the meat stayed moist and tender). This last step also gave us time to make a speedy lemon-caper sauce right in the pan using the fond (browned bits) left behind from searing the chops.
If you’re making one of our pan sauces to accompany the chops (see related recipes), you may opt to use only water, sugar, and salt in the brine and omit the other flavorings. If the chops aren’t being cooked immediately after brining, simply wipe off the excess brine, place the them on a wire rack set on top of a rimmed sheet pan, and keep them in the refrigerator, uncovered, to air dry for up to 3 hours. Should you choose to make one of the sauces, have all the ingredients ready before browning the chops, and begin the sauce while the chops are in the oven.