Apple Cider Pork Chops

October 4, 2018 By Cathy — 6 Comments
Juicy bone-in pork chops are served in a slightly sweet and tangy apple cider glaze with caramelized onions and apples.  It’s pure fall comfort food, pretty enough for guests, but easy enough for a weeknight meal.

Apple Cider Pork Chops

When I think of fall, I think root vegetables, cozy pots of stew simmering on the stove, and apples. Loads and loads of apples. It’s a no-brainer to pop those apples into pies or tarts, but I like to coax the tart sweetness from them in savory preparations as well.

Pork and apples is a traditional paring, and with good reason. The slight acidity and crisp sweetness of the apples marries well with the flavor of a juicy, savory chop. Today we’re amping up both of those flavors with an apple cider brine (for juicy, flavorful chops), an apple cider mustard glaze, and caramelized apples and onions.

This dish is firing on all fall flavor cylinders and tastes like pure cozy comfort. So set a few apples aside before you make that pie and let’s get cooking.

Ingredients are gathered on a tray to make apple cider pork chops.

Let’s make Apple Cider Pork ChopsStep by step photos on how to brine apple cider pork chops. Combine ingredients and bring to a boil (1), add ice to cool (2), add the chops to the brine (3), remove from the brine and pat dry (4).

  1. Combine the ingredients for the apple cider brine in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil and stir until the salt and sugar are completely dissolved. Remove from heat.
  2. Add ice to the brine and stir to cool the brine.
  3. Once the brine is completely cool, add the pork chops. Be sure the pork is fully submerged. Refrigerate for at least and hour and up to overnight.
  4. Remove from the brine and pat dry.Step by step photos on how to make apple cider pork chops. Sear the pork chops (1), caramelize the apples and onions, (apples 2 & 3), make the apple cider glaze (4 & 5), combine and serve! (6)
  5. Heat a cast iron or heavy skillet until hot, add the oil and the pork chops. Brown on each side, about 3 mins. Remove the chops to a plate and keep warm.
  6. Add the onions and apples to the pan (leave the drippings in the pan) and cook over medium heat.
  7. Once the apples and onions are caramelized, remove to a plate and keep warm.
  8. Deglaze with white wine, add the cider and seasonings and reduce.
  9. Swirl in the cold butter to thicken the sauce.
  10. Return the pork chops, apples, onions, and any accumulated juices to the pan and cook until just heated through.

Apple cider pork chop plated with butternut squash mash surrounded by apples and sage.

Tips for success

  • For maximum flavor and tenderness, use 1 inch, bone-in pork chops to prevent drying out while cooking.
  • Why brine? The apple cider brine not only imparts flavor, but the salt solution is absorbed into the pork resulting in an extra tender chop. And no need to season those chops before cooking with additional salt, they’re good to go.
  • Don’t forget to dry off those brined chops before they hit the pan. We’re looking for a caramelized crust and excess liquid is the enemy of a good sear.
  • While a brined chop will be a little more forgiving, watch your time and temperature to prevent a dried out chop. Not sure of when they’re fully cooked? Use an instant read thermometer to read between 120-125 degrees
  • I swear by my cast iron pan for this dish. It holds the heat, gives a beautiful sear, cooks evenly, and cleans up like a dream.

I recommend serving these atop creamy mashed potatoes or pureed squash or sweet potatoes to soak in all of that goodness. And I know you may be tempted to skip the brine in the interest of saving time, but don’t!  It’s worth the time and a little planning. Your tastebuds will thank you.

Apple Cider Pork Chops

5 from 1 vote
Close up of apple cider pork chops cooked with caramelized apples, onions and sage.
Apple Cider Pork Chops
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
30 mins
Brining Time
1 hr
Total Time
1 hr 30 mins
 

Juicy bone-in pork chops are served in a slightly sweet and tangy apple cider glaze with caramelized onions and apples.  It's pure fall comfort food, pretty enough for guests, but easy enough for a weeknight meal.

Course: Main Dish
Cuisine: American
Keyword: apple cider pork chops, brined pork chops
Servings: 4 servings
Calories: 599 kcal
Ingredients
Apple Cider Brine
  • 2 cups apple cider
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup kosher salt
  • 4 fresh sage leaves, rough chopped or torn
  • 2 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 2 cups ice
Apple Cider Pork Chops
  • 2 Tbsp canola oil
  • 4 bone-in pork chops, 1 inch thick
  • 1 medium onion, peeled, halved, and sliced thinly into half moons
  • 1 apple, cored, halved, and sliced thinly into half moons
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1 cup apple cider
  • 2 Tbsp light brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 Tbsp stone ground or whole grain mustard
  • 1 tsp fresh sage leaves, minced
  • 1 Tbsp unsalted butter, cold
  • kosher salt and pepper to taste
Instructions
Apple Cider Brine
  1. Combine the cider, sugar, salt, sage, and garlic in a small saucepan. Heat over medium heat just until the sugar and salt are dissolved, stirring frequently.

  2. Remove from the heat and immediately stir in the ice. Allow the ice to melt and be sure the brine is fully cooled before pouring it over the chops.
Apple Cider Pork Chops
  1. Place the chops in a baking dish. Pour the cooled brine over the chops, being sure they are fully submerged. Cover and chill in the refrigerator for at least one hour (or up to 24 hours).

  2. Remove the chops from the brine and pat dry.
  3. Heat the oil in a cast iron or large skillet until very hot, but not smoking. Carefully lay the chops in an even layer and sear on each side until browned, about 3 mins per side. Remove the chops to a plate and cover.
  4. Reduce the heat to med/high and add the onions and apple slices. Season with salt and pepper. Cook until the onions and apples are browned and beginning to caramelize, about 8 mins. Remove the onions and apples to a plate and cover to keep warm.
  5. Deglaze the pan with the white wine and cook until reduced by half. Add the cider, brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce, mustard and sage. Cook until thickened and glossy and mixture is reduced to 1/4, about 8-10 mins, Swirl in the butter and season to taste with salt and pepper.
  6. Turn the heat to low and return the chops and any accumulated juices to the pan. Turn the chops to coat. Add the apples and onions and cook over low heat until the chops are cooked through, about 5 mins more (internal temperature of 120 - 125 degrees F).
  7. Serve the pork chops with the apples and onions and additional sauce spooned over the top.
Recipe Notes
  • For maximum flavor and tenderness, use 1 inch, bone-in pork chops to prevent drying out while cooking.
  • Why brine? The apple cider brine not only imparts flavor, but the salt solution is absorbed into the pork resulting in an extra tender chop. And no need to season those chops before cooking with additional salt, they're good to go.
  • Don't forget to dry off those brined chops before they hit the pan. We're looking for a caramelized crust and excess liquid is the enemy of a good sear.
  • While a brined chop will be a little more forgiving, watch your time and temperature to prevent a dried out chop. Not sure of when they're fully cooked? Use an instant read thermometer to read between 120-125 degrees
  • I swear by my cast iron pan for this dish. It holds the heat, gives a beautiful sear, cooks evenly, and cleans up like a dream.
Nutrition Facts
Apple Cider Pork Chops
Amount Per Serving
Calories 599 Calories from Fat 225
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 25g 38%
Saturated Fat 7g 35%
Cholesterol 124mg 41%
Sodium 7267mg 303%
Potassium 922mg 26%
Total Carbohydrates 50g 17%
Dietary Fiber 2g 8%
Sugars 42g
Protein 36g 72%
Vitamin A 2.3%
Vitamin C 8.2%
Calcium 8.6%
Iron 10.6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Update Notes: This post was originally published in November 2017 but was republished with step by step photos and tips in October 2018.

A little recipe inspiration…

Pork chops and applesauce. Growing up, my brothers and I watched every episode of the Brady Bunch over and over (up until Cousin Oliver arrived on the scene 👎), but Peter Brady’s delivery of this iconic phrase was legendary in my house. This episode was easily our favorite, followed closely by the one featuring Peter’s volcano science project and the episode when Mike and Carol install a payphone in the den to teach the kids a lesson about cost of their excessive phone use.

The Brady Bunch was hokey and saccharine and silly and we were as devoted to making fun of it as we were to watching the reruns everyday. We would recite all of our favorite lines right along with Marcia or Greg and many of these sayings and references still turn up in our conversations today. So much so that I can almost never make pork chops without thinking of Peter Brady (doing his best Humphrey Bogart impersonation) telling his dad that they are having pork chops and applesauce for dinner. So if this recipe is up your alley, you can thank the Brady’s for the inspiration! Enjoy!

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Filed Under: Main Dishes, Recipe

Comments

6 responses to “Apple Cider Pork Chops”

  1. Cindy says:

    Oh my these look amazing. I am so happy to cook with apple cider as I never quite know how to use it. Thanks for sharing Cathy my mouth is watering!

  2. These pork chops will be a total hit with my husband Tom Cathy. I love that cider sauce!

  3. Albert Bevia says:

    This dish is truly amazing, so many great ingredients that you added and an incredible combination of flavors, this will be a winner in my house!

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