Sous Vide Pork Chops ~ Our Complete Guide to Cooking Delicious Chops
Everything you need to know to cook plump, juicy, delicious pork chops sous vide
This sous vide pork chop recipe is one of our favorite ways to cook plump, juicy chops. What we love about cooking pork chops sous vide is how easy it is to do, the way our special spice rub infuses them with flavor, and how using sous vide cooks them perfectly from edge to edge.
In this piece, we explore what to look for in a pork chop, choosing the right time and temperature, and how to finish sous vide pork chops on the grill, in a pan, or with a torch.
In this Piece
What makes this recipe stand out is our special pork chop rub that mixes smoked paprika and brown sugar along with a touch of garlic and mustard powder. This combination of flavors gives the chops a robust flavor profile that creates delicious chops bite after bite.
Why Cook Pork Sous Vide
Sous vide is a cooking process that involves vacuum-sealing food in a plastic bag and cooking it in a hot water bath. The term itself is French for “under vacuum” and was developed for restaurants by chef Georges Pralus in the 1970s.
An advantage to cooking chops sous vide, compared to other cooking methods, is it’s almost impossible to overcook or dry the chops out. It is a very forgiving cooking method, with very little difference between chops cooked for an hour-and-a-half and those cooked for two-and-a-half hours, so once the chops get started there’s lots of time to get the rest of dinner ready.
As a cooking technique sous vide helps ingredients retain their moisture, which is why there’s no need to brine pork chops cooked this way.
Picking the Right Chop
This recipe has been tested and is delicious with bone-in, boneless, and loin chops. Sous vide works well for pork chops regardless of thickness. Our preference is for chops around an inch to an inch-and-a-half thick which make them ideal for feeding one person. Unless they have an excess amount of fat on them, we recommend leaving it on to keep the chops nice and juicy and to add flavor.
The advantage to cooking bone-in pork chops this way is that the flavors from the bone have time to infuse themselves into the chops. Bone-in chops have a small disadvantage when it comes to searing them, where the bone can make them a little harder to get a good sear.
Boneless chops, especially thicker ones, are ideal for cooking sous vide. Their uniform size and shape make them easy to finish and they can be sliced thick or thin to create a fantastic looking presentation.
Seasoning Delicious Tasting Pork Chops
There are countless ways to season pork chops. Pork in general excels at picking up flavors from herbs and other spices letting it act as a blank canvas for whatever you’re in the mood to eat.
This recipe uses one of our favorite spice rubs that combines smoked paprika and brown sugar with a touch of mustard and garlic powders. The smoked paprika adds depth and a touch of smokiness to the chops while the brown sugar compliments the natural sweetness in the pork. This rub can be used with any cut of pork whether it’s being grilled, roasted, or cooked sous vide.
A few other options include cooking the chops with fresh herbs like rosemary and thyme, covering them in a nice pesto, or using one of the amazing flavor combinations found in Vietnamese or Chinese cuisines.
The Right Time & Temperature for Cooking Pork Chops Sous Vide
To figure out the right time and temperature combination we ran a few tests. The first test involved cooking boneless chops at 140℉ for two hours, four hours, and eight hours. The second test involved cooking a set of chops at 130℉, 140℉, and 150℉ for two hours.
The sweet spot for perfectly cooked sous vide pork chops is between 135℉ and 140℉ for two hours. Set your cooker closer to 135℉ if you prefer your pork with a touch of pink and very juicy. Set it closer to 140℉ if you like chops cooked medium with a firmer texture.
Two Hour Chop
The 2 hour chop had a more supple appearance and texture, it both looked and tasted juicy. It’s much closer to the sublime mouthfeel that a good pork chop should have.
Four Hour Chop
The 4 hour chop was slightly drier than the 2 hour chop, but still nicely cooked with some juiciness and a decent texture.
Eight Hour Chop
The 8 hour chop was much drier than the other two chops, it had an almost jerky like appearance and tasted overdone, compared to the others. It wasn’t gummy, a descriptor that is often applied in sous vide to things that have been cooked too long, but it’s easy to see how it could get there.
To find the ideal temperature we cooked chops for two hours at 130℉, 140℉, and 150℉. What we found was a significant difference in doneness between the three different temperatures that ranged from mostly pink to almost overdone.
130℉ Chop – Medium Rare
The 130F chop was very juicy with lots of pink to it, very much like a steak cooked closer to rare than medium-rare. It was a bit underdone for our tasters, with a texture that was on the chewy side.
140℉ Chop – Medium
The 140F was nicely cooked, it remained juicy with a reasonably supple texture. It’s an ideal temp if you prefer a little more bite to your chop.
150℉ Chop – Well Done
A very well done pork chop and the way to cook them if you want your pork chops cooked the way grandma used to make them. Had an almost roast pork texture and flavor to it.
To cook frozen chops sous vide just add 30 to 60 minutes to the cooking time depending on thickness.
How to Finish Sous Vide Pork Chops
As good a cooking method as sous vide is, it doesn’t produce a crust on the outside of the chops or provide any of the additional flavors that come from the direct application of heat – i.e. browning. Something that is easy to remedy by finishing the chops after they’ve finished their bath.
The key to finishing anything sous vide is to keep in mind that it’s already finished cooking and all your doing is enhancing its flavor and appearance.
There are three great ways to finish these pork chops. They can be seared, grilled, or torched. A tip, regardless of method, is to pat the chops with a dry paper towel before finishing them. This helps reduce excess moisture and promotes browning.
The simplest way to finish the chops is to sear them in a heavy-bottomed pan with a little butter. We prefer to use a cast iron pan that can hold its heat when the chops are added. Using a little butter or olive oil helps the chops to brown evenly.
To sear the chops, heat the pan until it’s very hot, add a small pat of butter, and sear them for a minute to a minute and a half per side. The goal is to brown them on the outside without overcooking them on the inside.
On the Grill
We prefer finishing pork chops cooked sous vide on the grill because it gives them a little char and crispiness on the outside and for the way the grill brings out the flavors from the rub.
The chops should be grilled on a medium-high grill that has been preheated. They should be grilled for one to two minutes per side.
If you want to put on a show for your guests the chops can be finished with a propane torch. To finish them with a torch just use a pair of tongs to hold the chops and move the torch back and forth over them until they’ve browned.
It usually takes a minute or two per side to brown the chops using a torch. We generally use the same type of torch that you would for home plumbing projects that can be picked up at any hardware store because they have bigger flames and are much less expensive than most of the fancy sous vide torches on the market.
Obviously, be careful where you do this and make sure there’s nothing flammable around.
The best way we’ve found for reheating the chops is placing them in a 350℉ oven for 10 to 15 minutes in a covered baking dish.
The amount of time will vary depending on the thickness of the chops. It’s worth noting here that the chops only need to be reheated until they reach your preferred serving temperature and that they don’t need to be cooked again.
Serving Delicious Pork Chops
- 2 pork chops, bone in or boneless
Pork Chop Rub
- 3/4 tsp smoked paprika
- 1/2 tsp brown sugar
- 1/4 tsp garlic powder
- 1/4 tsp mustard powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- Start by setting up your sous vide cooking station and bringing the water to 135℉.
- Mix the salt, pepper, roasted garlic powder, smoked paprika, mustard powder, and brown sugar together. Rub the seasoning into both sides of the pork chops.
- Seal the pork chops in a plastic bag using a vacuum sealer and cook them for one to two hours. When the chops have finished cooking take them out of the bag and finish them on a grill, in a pan, or with a torch.
- To finish the chops on the stove add 1 tbsp of butter to a heavy bottomed saute pan and brown the chops for a minute or so on each side.
- The chops should be grilled on a medium-high grill that has been preheated. They should be grilled for one to two minutes per side.
WIth a Torch
- To finish them with a torch use a pair of tongs to hold the chops and move the torch back and forth over them until they’ve browned.Make sure there is nothing flammable near the torch.