Pork is one of the most versatile meats, providing everything from soft pork medallions to crispy bacon and everything in between. It has a robust, slightly sweet flavor and is known for being cost-effective, with practically every part of the pig, from snout to tail, being edible in some fashion. With our handy guide, Pork Cuts Explained, you can learn more about the different cuts and how to cook them.
Pork may be prepared in various ways, making it ideal for large family gatherings and parties. There’s something for everyone: juicy pork chops for a weekday supper, a Sunday roast with crackling and all the fixings, or sweet, spicy pulled pork sandwiches. And if you have any leftover pork, you have the ideal excuse to attempt one of these delectable leftover pork recipes.
Best Leftover Pork Chops Recipes
Oven-Roasted Skillet Pork Chops
For these flexible oven-roasted pork chops, get out your cast iron skillet. Adding apples, pears, onions, or a combination of them adds a sweetness that complements the chops wonderfully. This recipe can be made with bone-in or boneless pork chops. Feel free to be inventive once you’ve mastered the process.
Tangy Braised Pork Chops
Braising the pork chops helps the marinade of vinegar, mustard, Worcestershire, and brown sugar tenderize the meat. While the chops take approximately an hour to simmer, these acidic braised pork chops only require a few minutes of active cook time, making them a quick weeknight supper.
Southwest Style Skillet Pork Chops
These Southwest-style skillet pork chops will transport you south of the border. These shoulder chops have a little kick from tomatoes and green chiles and don’t require turning on the oven. If you want it hotter, add a little more chili powder or lighten it for a milder version.
Skillet Barbecued Pork Chops
This gluten-free stovetop recipe produces soft, delicious pan-grilled pork chops that can be dressed with barbecue sauce for an easy, quick dinner. To keep it easy, use bottled sauce, or make your own for a handmade dish.
Simple Slow Cooker Pork Chops
With this easy slow cooker pork chops dish, you can set it and forget it until dinnertime. While everything cooks, the liquids mix to form a delightful sauce that you can thicken on the stovetop to your liking. Serve them with mashed potatoes, rice, and vegetables your family prefers.
Paprika Pork Chops
Paprika gives mild pork chops a smoky, slightly spicy flavor with little effort. Although you may associate paprika with the bright red powder in your spice closet, there are several varieties, ranging from mild to bittersweet, smoked, and more. Experiment with several types to see how versatile a single shaker can be. This paprika pork chops recipe is delightful with a sweet accompaniment like mango chutney or fruit salsa.
Maple Glazed Pork Chops
With the darkest maple syrup, you can obtain, these maple glazed pork chops are delicious. Stick to the real stuff—we’re not talking Mrs. Butterworth’s here. While Creole mustard is called for in the recipe, any whole-grain mustard would suffice.
Teriyaki Pork Chops
The secret to glazing pork chops on the grill is to keep an eye on them, so the sauce’s sugar doesn’t burn. A teriyaki sauce made with soy, rice vinegar, brown sugar, and garlic will have you coming back for more. These teriyaki pork chops can be cooked on the grill, but they also work great in a pan or the oven.
Why and How do you Use Milk to Tenderise Pork Chops?
Milk tenderizes meat more effectively than other marinades. The milk enzymes soften the fibers and make the meat more tender by breaking down the proteins. The milk-tenderized pork chops will also stay juicier longer, reducing the likelihood of their drying up during cooking.
Yogurt or buttermilk are two more milk products used to tenderize meat (not just pork, but chicken or beef). However, they will give the meat a tangier flavor, while milk will keep it tender and flavorful.
What is the Best Way to Cook in a Skillet?
To remove the marinade, give the meat a good shake and pat it dry with kitchen towels. The meat must be completely dry.
Combine flour, salt, pepper, and sweet paprika powder in a mixing bowl. Season the chops with this mixture, pressing lightly to ensure the flesh is well coated.
In a large cast-iron skillet, heat the oil. A non-stick pan will also suffice. A thin layer of oil should be applied to the bottom of the pan; around two teaspoons should suffice.
Cook the chops for 3 minutes on one side. Cook for another 2 minutes, or until golden.
Reduce the cooking time if the pork chops are thinner. If they are thicker, cook for a few minutes longer.
Don’t overcook the meat; it should still be pink in the center.
Allow it to rest for a few minutes on a warm dish before serving.
What is the Best Way to Serve Pork Chops?
After a brief rest period, serve immediately.
While the meat is resting, pour the fluids accumulated into the platter over the meat on the serving plate; they are excellent!
Serve with any rice, including the bonus rice recipe.
Potatoes, such as mashed, oven-baked, sauteed, and so on, are also good side dishes.
Sweet potato slices can also be pan-fried or baked.
Add Brussels sprouts or cauliflower in the winter and a fresh green salad with a yogurt dressing or vinaigrette in the summer.
How Long can Cooked Pork be Stored?
Cooked pork should be used within three to four days if kept refrigerated (40°F or less). Bacterial growth is slowed but not stopped by refrigeration. Cooked leftovers should be consumed within three to four days, according to the USDA.
Pathogenic bacteria, which cause foodborne illness, and spoilage bacteria, which cause foods to decay and produce disagreeable scents, tastes, and textures, belong to two families of bacteria.
Pathogenic bacteria can increase quickly in the “Danger Zone,” defined as the temperature range between 40 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit. A pathogen’s presence cannot be detected since it does not affect the meal’s flavor, smell, or appearance.
Spoilage bacteria can thrive in cold environments, such as the refrigerator, and they eventually cause food to develop foul flavors and odors. Most individuals would not choose to consume ruined food, but even if they did, they would most likely not become ill. Some dangerous bacteria, such as Listeria monocytogenes (Lm), thrive in cold temperatures and, if present, will multiply and cause disease in the refrigerator. Bacteria, molds, and yeast cause microbial deterioration.
Food rotting is mostly a quality concern but can also be a safety issue. Naturally, you should never taste items to assess their safety. The Danger Zone is a temperature range between 40 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit where bacteria can rapidly increase. Keep cold food cold, at or below 40 °F, and hot food hot, at or above 140 °F, to keep food out of the Danger Zone. To avoid food spoilage and lower your risk of foodborne illness, the USDA suggests following the FOUR steps to food safety (Clean, Separate, Cook, and Chill).
What is the Best Way to Freeze Cooked Pork Chops?
Cooked pork chops can be frozen just like any other food. Here’s what you need to do to get it right:
Place plastic wrap over a container with an airtight closure.
Before freezing, let it cool in the refrigerator.
Cooked pork chops should be frozen as soon as possible after cooling.
Label and date were frozen cooked pork chops to track how long they’ve been sitting in the freezer.
Cooked pork chops will only survive 3-4 days in the refrigerator if thawed, so eat them up quickly.
What is the Shelf Life of Cooked Pork Chops in the Freezer?
Cooked pork chops can be frozen for up to a month.
When you employ the correct storage procedures, you may freeze cooked pork chops for up to a month and still eat them safely.
Thaw cooked pork chops in the refrigerator to get the most flavor.
It’s preferable to give this process at least 24 hours to limit the danger of food poisoning.
Also, thawed pork chops should be cooked as soon as possible because they only survive 3-4 days in the fridge before needing to be used again.
Is it Better to Freeze Raw or Cooked Pork Chops?
It’s not as safe to freeze raw pork chops as frozen cooked pork chops. Before freezing the meat, it must be cooked.
Because cooking kills hazardous bacteria that can cause food poisoning, you can safely freeze pork chops after being cooked.
Cooking removes the majority of bacteria in the meat, making it safe to store.
Of course, if you’ve prepared too much or have leftovers and don’t want to waste anything, chill it down and store it in an airtight container with all labels and date tags intact.
No one will become ill from consuming undercooked or ruined food.
However, keep in mind that freezing cooked pork chops is not recommended.
When Freezing Cooked Pork Chops, What Should you Avoid?
When storing cooked pork chops in the freezer, keep the following measures in mind to extend their shelf life:
It’s not a good idea to freeze raw meat and cook it later, and it’s preferable if you can prepare an entire meal at once to avoid food contamination during handling or storage.
Even if the food is safe to eat, don’t refreeze it; this merely enhances the food’s shelf life, not the food’s quality.
Cooked pork chops should never be kept in the freezer for months.
Freezing cooked pork chops for prolonged periods does not extend their shelf life and may have other negative consequences.
So, when freezing food generally, keep in mind the recommended storage duration to avoid spoiling it.
Is it Possible to Freeze Breaded Pork Chops that have been Cooked?
Cooked breaded pork chops can be frozen.
Breaded pork chops can be frozen raw or cooked like any other meat.
The easiest way to extend their shelf life is to freeze them raw.
For longer storage, wrap the uncooked pork chops in plastic and set them in a freezer bag.
You can also cover your food in foil to prevent freezer burn on cooked breaded pork chops that have been kept.
To avoid this, remove as much air as possible from the bag or container before carefully sealing it.
Also, if you’re freezing cooked breaded pork chops, keep them at 0 degrees Fahrenheit to preserve the flavor and texture of the meat for longer.
How to Save your Toughened Pork Chops?
In a liquid, cook it.
Cooking it in a liquid is one way to save it. Pour about 1 cup broth into the same pan used to cook the already overdone meat. Bring the meat back to a boil in the pan. Reduce the heat to a gentle simmer and cover. Simmer the beef in the broth for about 3 minutes, then taste it to see whether it’s still moist. Before transferring from the pan and onto a plate, flip and cook for another minute, basting with the liquid. Reduce the stock until it has thickened somewhat, then pour it over the meat like a sauce.
Toss the meat in a sauce after shredding it.
Shredding the meat and tossing it in a delicious sauce is another option. Consider pulled pork or chicken, which you can serve sandwich-style or mix into adobo sauce leftovers. The sauce will permeate into the meat and help it retain its moisture.
Cook the beef in a stew or broth.
However, if the flesh is still too firm to consume after using these ways, you may need to overcook it until it is tender again, either as a stew or soup ingredient. You may even speed up the tenderizing process by using a pressure cooker.
We are huge fans of leftovers, which are the secret to quick, inexpensive dinners that take almost no time to prepare. Pork chops, on the other hand, can be tough to find in the back of your fridge. We’re not opposed to throwing a couple of slices on a piece of sandwich bread with some mayo and calling it a day… But don’t we think we can all do better than that?