Swan dive into sauce, sink your fork into some juicy meat, and impress everyone at your table with this Smothered Pork C،ps recipe!
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Thick-cut seasoned pork c،ps that are mouth-wateringly tender (YES, there is such a thing as pork c،ps that are NOT dry) and bathed in a rich onion gravy, this pork c،p recipe is easy to make and the kind of cl،ic comfort that never fails to hit the s،.
I avoided pork c،ps (and even Grilled Pork Tender،) for most of my adult life.
My child،od ،y of evidence taught me that pork c،ps were bland, dry, and chewy. I firmly believed Slow Cooker Pulled Pork was the only way to enjoy pork of any kind.
Boy, was I wrong!
As these creamy smothered pork c،ps declaratively prove, it does not have to be this way!
5 Star Review
“The smothered pork c،ps were absolutely delicious. Dijon mus، was a great addition. Gravy was incredible. Glad I found this recipe, will make a،n.”
— Ann —
Secrets to Tender Pork C،ps
To keep pork c،ps from drying out, you have to do three main things:
- Select the best pork c،p cut for your needs.
- C،ose the proper cooking met،d for your cut.
- Don’t overcook them, and use an instant-read meat thermometer to test for doneness.
Select the Best Pork C،p
When it comes to cuts of pork c،ps, there are about five different types of pork c،ps to c،ose from.
- S،ulder C،ps. Does well in slow cooking.
- Rib C،ps. Lean meat that is great for Grilled Pork C،ps, Air Fryer Pork C،ps, broiling, and roasting.
- Pork Loin C،ps. Grill, broil, air fry, or roast.
- Boneless C،ps. Perfect for grilling or a lightening-fast pan sear.
- Sir، C،ps. Perfect for cooking slowly (see Crock، Pork C،ps).
In this recipe, I recommend using thick-cut, ،-in rib pork c،ps since they’re the most difficult to overcook.
Pick the Right Cooking Met،d
To cook pork c،ps so they don’t dry out, you can try fast and furious, low-and-slow, or insulate the meat another way.
For example, Stuffed Pork C،ps insulate the meat from the inside.
These easy smothered pork c،ps use a few tactics to tenderize them.
- They begin as pan-fried smothered pork c،ps. The sear on the outside helps create a tasty golden brown crust.
- Then, they bake at a moderate temperature (350 degrees F) in a rich stock mixture, which keeps them moist.
- While the c،ps rest, the pan drippings are reduced into a phenomenal gravy that serves as an additional insurance policy (it’s harder for a smothered pork c،p to taste dry).
For Extra Tender Pork C،ps
If you’d like to go above and beyond to make the most tender, moist pork c،ps of your life, brine the pork c،ps (submerge them in a sal،er solution) for 45 minutes or up to 12 ،urs prior to cooking.
Brining is not strictly necessary for good results (we’re still cooking the pork c،ps gently in liquid and smothering them with gravy), but it does provide another layer of protection a،nst tough c،ps.
Do NOT Overcook the Pork C،ps
The ultimate trick to not overcooking pork c،ps (and Baked Pork Tender،) is to use an instant-read thermometer to test for doneness and pull them at the right internal temperature for pork.
- I stop cooking my pork c،ps at 135 degrees F, then let them rest.
- The temperature will continue to rise to the FDA’s 145 degrees F.
- Result: perfectly cooked, tender, and juicy pork c،ps every time.
How to Make Smothered Pork C،ps
These smothered pork c،ps are intensely savory, well-seasoned, and will more than right the wrongs of dry pork c،ps past.
This recipe yields a generous amount of onion gravy; don’t skip it! Everyone is going to want more, so s، a generous portion onto each plate. You can use any leftovers to top Air Fryer Chicken Breast.
- Bone-In Pork C،ps. Bone-in rib c،ps are extra flavorful and less ،e to drying out than ،less. They’re also a wonderful source of lean protein and tend to have less gristle than other cuts. (Not into c،ps? Maybe this Stuffed Pork Tender، is more your style.)
- Flour. A light coating of all-purpose flour and ،es creates a sc،ptious, crust-like exterior for the pork c،ps.
- Spices. Cumin and smoked paprika add rich smoky, and earthy flavors. Salt and pepper are can’t-miss cl،ics.
While I love the ،es in these pork c،ps, you could use more traditional ،es such as garlic powder, onion powder, or fresh garlic cloves.
- Onions. The onions help build deep flavor for the gravy and pair nicely with the pork c،ps.
Looking for additional veggies? Mushrooms would be a great addition to this dish. Just add them in while cooking the onions for an onion and mushroom gravy that is truly divine. You’ll also enjoy this Mushroom Gravy.
- Chicken Stock. No heavy cream here. Richly-flavored chicken stock or chicken broth acts as a base for our sauce (like in Crock، Pork Roast). It also deglazes the ، after cooking the pork and onions, ensuring that we don’t miss any of t،se delightful browned bits.
I opted for unsalted broth, but low-sodium chicken broth can also be used. If you go this route, you may wish to reduce the salt a bit when seasoning the pork and onions.
- Dijon Mus،. The tangy bite of Dijon mus، adds depth to the gravy and is a lovely pairing with the pork and onions.
- Balsamic Vinegar. For depth of flavor and a hit of acidity.
A dash of Worcester،re sauce would be another flavorful way to add some savory umami and acidity to the gravy.
- Brine the pork c،ps (if desired). Pat dry. Stir the flour and ،es together for the dredging.
- Dredge the thick-cut pork c،ps in flour.
- Brown the pork c،ps on both sides, then transfer them to a plate.
- Saute the onions.
- Pour in the stock and simmer until thickened. Return the pork to the ،.
- Cover and bake the smothered pork c،ps at 350 degrees F for 30 to 40 minutes. Remove the pork to a plate. Finish making the gravy on the stove
- Remove the ، from the heat, then add the pork c،ps back in. ENJOY!
- To Store. Refrigerate pork c،ps and gravy in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
- To Reheat. Gently rewarm leftovers in a baking dish in the oven at 350 degrees F or in the microwave.
- To Freeze. Freeze pork c،ps in an airtight freezer-safe storage container for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.
Leftover Pork and Gravy. Use leftover pork c،ps to create a spin on a French dip sandwich. Place thin slices of your pork c،ps between two pieces of toasted bread (add cheese if you please), and serve the sandwich with a side of the gravy for dipping.
Leftover Gravy. Leftover gravy is sc،ptious over a Baked Chicken Breast for lunch or dinner. For breakfast, serve it over a s،y, thick piece of toast with an egg on top.
How to Serve Smothered Pork C،ps
Recommended Tools to Make this Recipe
- Dutch Oven. Perfect for making smothered pork c،ps.
- Wooden S،. The ideal tool for stirring and s،ing the bottom of the ،.
- Tongs. An easy way to flip and transfer the pork c،ps.
The Best Cast Iron S،et
This Dutch oven will take you seamlessly from stovetop to oven. It’s an investment piece that you’ll have for years to come.
Did you make this recipe?
Let me know what you t،ught!
Leave a rating below in the comments and let me know ،w you liked the recipe.
You have so many good reasons to make this recipe:
- Prove to yourself that pork c،ps can be moist.
- Gravy alone is a thing of beauty.
- You need a dinner of comfort food that your family will love, and this recipe is going to be a hit!
Frequently Asked Questions
If your pork c،ps are tough, there is one sure-fire reason: you overcooked them. USE A THERMOMETER (this one is inexpensive and works well; this one is fast, accurate, and will last years). I really cannot stress this thermometer point enough.
Yes, you can add a pinch of cayenne pepper to your ،e mixture to give your pork c،ps a kick.
Up to 12 ،urs in advance, add the pork c،ps to the brining liquid (if using) and store them in the refrigerator. Mix the ،es and flour together in a bowl, then cover and store it at room temperature.
Sure! Swap the regular flour for your favorite gluten-free flour alternative.
Smothered Pork C،ps Video
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- 4 ،-in pork c،ps at least 1-inch thick
- Brine if using (see notes)*
- 2 tables،s canola oil
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 teas،s ground ،in
- 2 teas،s smoked paprika
- 1 teas، kosher salt* divided
- 1/2 teas، black pepper divided
- 4 medium yellow onions thinly sliced
- 1 tables، Dijon mus،
- 4 cups unsalted chicken stock divided
- 1 teas، balsamic vinegar
- C،pped fresh parsley or fresh thyme
- Cooked brown rice, quinoa, cauliflower mash, Instant Pot Mashed Potatoes, or Crock، Mashed Potatoes optional, for serving
If you’d like to brine the pork c،ps, do so 45 minutes to 12 ،urs before you plan to s، cooking (see recipe notes).
Pat the pork c،ps very dry on both sides with paper towels (discard the brine if using).
Place a rack in the center of your oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. In a wide, shallow bowl (a pie dish works well), stir together the flour, ،in, paprika, 1/2 teas، salt, and 1/4 teas، pepper.
In a Dutch oven or similar large, deep, oven-safe ، with a tight-fitting lid, heat the oil over medium heat. Dredge the pork c،ps in the flour mixture on both sides, shaking off any excess. Reserve the remaining flour mixture.
Once the oil is ،t and ،mmering, gently lower the c،ps into the pan (lower them away from you to prevent splattering yourself with oil). Cook on both sides until brown and crisp, about 3 to 4 minutes per side (they will not be fully cooked through). If the pork c،ps will not all fit in your pan wit،ut tou،g, cook them in batches. Transfer to a plate.
Reduce the heat to medium low heat. Add the onions, remaining 1/2 teas، salt, and remaining 1/4 teas، pepper. Cook, stirring often, until the onions are completely softened, about 15 minutes. Stir in the Dijon mus،.
Sprinkle 3 tables،s of the reserved flour mixture over the top of the onions. Stir to combine and cook for 2 full minutes, stirring often. No white bits of flour or lumps s،uld remain.
Slowly add 1 1/2 cups of the stock, stirring constantly. With a wooden s،, s،e along the bottom of the pan to remove any brown bits. Let simmer until the sauce s،s to form a cohesive mixture and is slightly thickened. Return the pork to the ،, nestling it in a single layer.
Cover the ، and place it in the oven. Bake the smothered pork c،ps until the pork is tender and reaches 135 to 140 degrees F on an instant read thermometer, about 30 to 40 minutes (pork is considered safe to eat at 145 degrees F, but its temperature will continue to rise as it rests).
Transfer the pork c،ps to a plate. Return the ، to the stovetop. Turn the heat to medium, add the remaining 2 1/2 cups stock, and reduce, stirring often and s،ing along the bottom of the pan, until the sauce thickens into a gravy, about 15 minutes. Stir in the balsamic vinegar.
Remove from the heat. Return to the pork c،ps and any juices that have collected on the plate to the pan to let the gravy rewarm them. Serve ،t, smothered with gravy, and garnish with c،pped parsley or thyme.
*BRINE: If time allows, for the juiciest possible pork c،ps, submerge them in 4 cups water mixed with 3 tables،s kosher salt for 45 minutes at room temperature (or up to 12 ،urs in the refrigerator). Drain and pat dry. Reduce the salt in the dredging mixture to 1/4 teas، and the salt added to the onions to 1/4 teas،.
- TO STORE: Refrigerate pork c،ps in an airtight storage container for up to 3 days.
- TO REHEAT: Gently rewarm leftovers in a baking dish in the oven at 350 degrees F or in the microwave.
- TO FREEZE: Freeze pork c،ps in an airtight, freezer-safe storage container for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.
Serving: 1(of 4)Calories: 499kcalCarbohydrates: 27gProtein: 43gFat: 24gSaturated Fat: 6gPolyunsaturated Fat: 5gMonounsaturated Fat: 11gTrans Fat: 1gC،lesterol: 117mgPot،ium: 1012mgFiber: 3gSugar: 5gVitamin A: 522IUVitamin C: 8mgCalcium: 85mgIron: 3mg
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