How to Keep Your Pork Chops From Curling

It's actually a very simple technique.

Food & Wine culinary director at large Justin Chapple’s biggest pet peeve with pork chops is likely your biggest pet peeve, too: They curl up in the pan. That, in turn, prevents even cooking and browning. No one wants to serve a curled, unevenly cooked piece of meat to dinner guests. Fortunately, there is an easy fix to ensure that your chops never curl again. And in this video, Justin is letting you in on the secret.

The root cause of the problem, says Justin, is also one of the things that makes the chops so delicious — the layer of fat that runs along the outside. “When that fat gets hot and it starts to render, it pulls taut and causes the pork chop to curl,” he says. To prevent this, all you have to do is take a small, sharp knife — a paring knife will work well — and score the fat, cutting through it about every half inch or so all the way down the chop.

And that’s really all you have to do. Scoring the fat allows the pork chop to relax, says Justin. Now, when the fat renders, instead of a single band that forces the pork chop into an unnatural, curled position, it can stay flat. And as Justin demonstrates in the video up above, it results in a perfect, golden crust all the way across.

And this little trick doesn’t just work on pork chops. If you have a steak, or any other cut of meat with a thick layer of fat on the outside, like a nice rib eye, for example, the scoring technique will help there, too.

Now that your chops are curl-proof, explore these recipes for a few ideas on how best to cook and serve them.

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