Smothered pork chops are an American classic and easy to throw together at the campsite. This rich, rib-sticking meal is guaranteed to make everybody happy at the end of an active day.
We’ve rated this recipe as EASY due to having relatively few steps, only a few ingredients, and no special techniques to master. It is also extremely forgiving if you make a mistake.
The Key To Tasty Onion Gravy
Although each ingredient you add to the gravy in this recipe will add another flavor and another level of complexity, the real key to big flavor is salt.
More specifically, salting each ingredient separately. Putting salt on the pork chops but not the gravy or the onions will just result in a bland gravy.
Instead of adding the salt all at once, you’ll add small amounts to each element as you go along. This will balance out all the ingredients and add a zing to the recipe that you wouldn’t get by adding the same amount of salt all at one time.
Just don’t overdo it. You can’t unsalt a meal. Where we say add a pinch of salt, just use two fingers and a thumb to pick it up and no more.
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Cooking More Than Three Pork Chops
We found that it was difficult to cook more than three pork chops at a time in a twelve-inch skillet. We had pretty decent sized pork chops, so if you end up with small ones, you might be able to swing it.
If you want to cook more smothered pork chops than that, you can use a sizeable pot like a 9-quart cast iron dutch oven instead of a skillet. Just double the amount of gravy you make, add an additional onion or two, and you can cook as many as eight pork chops at a time.
When you add them to the dutch oven, add four to the bottom of the pot, cover with some onions, add four more in a staggered layer, and then cover those with additional onions.
Bring to a simmer, cover, and cook for 10 minutes.
Be sure to check the internal temperature of the pork chops with your instant-read thermometer. Each pork chop should read more than 145 degrees, but less than 165 degrees.
Smothered Pork Chops
- Small saucepan
- Wire whisk
- 4 tbs. vegetable oil – divided
- 2 tbs. all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 cups chicken stock
- 1/4 cup buttermilk
- 2 tbs. vegetable oil
- 2-3 bone-in pork chops – about 3/4 inch thick
- 1 large yellow onion – sliced thin
- 1/2 cup water – divided
- 2 garlic cloves – minced
- 1/2 tsp. dried thyme
- 1/2 tsp. dried parsley
- 2-3 tsp. Morton's Kosher Salt
- Season your pork chops on both sides with salt and pepper. This step is best done at least an hour before you begin cooking.
- Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a small saucepan over medium heat until hot.
- Whisk flour into hot oil until smooth. Cook, whisking constantly until light brown. About 5 minutes.
- Increase heat to medium-high and add the chicken stock in a thin stream, whisking constantly. Add the buttermilk and a small pinch of salt, whisking constantly. Bring to a boil then remove from heat.
- Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat until smoking. Add the seasoned pork chops and brown for 3 minutes on each side. Remove to a plate.
- Add sliced onions and a pinch of salt to your cast iron skillet and cook for about 10 minutes, until soft with brown edges. Halfway through cooking your onions stir in 1/4 cup of water while scraping all of the browned bits off the bottom of a pan with a wooden spatula.
- After your onions are browned, stir in garlic, thyme, and another 1/4 cup of water. Cook about 30 seconds, scraping up any cooked on bits with a wooden spatula.
- Return the pork chops to the skillet. Cover with onions then pour in the warm sauce. Put the heat diffuser under the pan and turn heat to low. Simmer covered for 10 minutes, or until an instant read thermometer shows the internal temperature of your pork chops to be more than 145 degrees, but less than 165 degrees.
- Remove the pork chops to serving plates. Turn heat to high and cook sauce until it is reduced to a gravy consistency. Pour sauce and onions over pork chops.