Heritage Pork Chops with Bourbon Apples

Heritage Pork Chops with Bourbon Apples

  • Prep time

    15 minutes

  • Cook time

    30 minutes

  • Course

    Main

  • Skill level

    Intermediate

  • Season

    All Seasons

  • Serves

    2 to 4
Chef’s notes

The first time I tasted heritage-breed pork chops, I never went back to standard store-bought. The texture, flavor, and juiciness of a Berkshire, red wattle, or Mangalitsa pork chop is unparalleled. These pigs have bloodlines that might be hundreds of years old and the quality of the meat is evident both visually and gustatorily.

When I have the pleasure of cooking heritage pork, I treat it like a good steak: medium to medium-rare and simply seasoned. No brining and marinating necessary. Also, don’t trim off too much of that fat, it’s part of what you’re paying for and tastes amazing. Sweet, nutty, and melt-in-your-mouth, you’ll want a little piece of fat with every bite.

You won’t find heritage pork in regular grocery stores, and to source it, you might have to do some research. I’m fortunate to live in eastern Nebraska, where there are still small farms dedicated to producing great meat. For this recipe, I used Berkshire pork from TD Niche Pork, owned and operated by Travis Dunekacke who started his pig farm as a part-time hobby in 2008. His Berkshire, Mangalitsa, and red wattle pigs live outside in the sunshine and aren’t treated with antibiotics.

Heritage pork chop

Ingredients

  • 2 (1 lb.) heritage-breed pork chops, about 1½-inch thick
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly cracked pepper
  • Olive oil
  • 2 tart apples
  • Splash of bourbon
  • ¼ tsp. cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp. garlic powder
  • Dash of cayenne pepper
  • ½ cup apple juice or cider
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 2 tbsp. brown sugar
  • Pat of butter
  • Squeeze of lemon juice

Preparation

  1. Take pork chops out of the refrigerator 2 hours prior to cooking to come to room temperature. When ready, preheat the oven to 250°F. Pat pork chops completely dry with paper towels and season liberally with kosher salt.

  2. In a large skillet, add oil to coat the bottom and heat over medium-high heat. When oil begins to smoke, pat pork chops dry again before placing them in the skillet. Cook until golden brown and then flip to brown the other side, about 3 minutes on each side.

  3. Then, transfer pork chops to a rimmed cookie sheet. Season both sides with freshly cracked pepper. Place cookie sheet in a 250°F oven and bake for 7 to 10 minutes, or until internal temperature reaches 135 to 140°F. When done, take pork chops out of the oven and loosely tent with foil to rest for at least 5 to 10 minutes before serving.

  4. While the pork chops are finishing in the oven, core apples and cut in ½-inch slices. Pour off the remaining fat in the skillet, leaving only 1 tablespoon behind. Over medium to medium-high heat, brown the apple slices and thyme. Then lower the heat and add a splash of whisky to deglaze the pan, cooking until evaporated. Next add cinnamon, garlic powder, cayenne, apple juice, and brown sugar. Simmer until thickened. Take the apples off the heat and season to taste with salt, pepper, more sugar (if needed), a squeeze of lemon juice, and finish with a pat of butter. Serve rested pork chops with finishing salt, apples, and your favorite sides, such as mashed potatoes and greens.

Chef’s notes

The first time I tasted heritage-breed pork chops, I never went back to standard store-bought. The texture, flavor, and juiciness of a Berkshire, red wattle, or Mangalitsa pork chop is unparalleled. These pigs have bloodlines that might be hundreds of years old and the quality of the meat is evident both visually and gustatorily.

When I have the pleasure of cooking heritage pork, I treat it like a good steak: medium to medium-rare and simply seasoned. No brining and marinating necessary. Also, don’t trim off too much of that fat, it’s part of what you’re paying for and tastes amazing. Sweet, nutty, and melt-in-your-mouth, you’ll want a little piece of fat with every bite.

You won’t find heritage pork in regular grocery stores, and to source it, you might have to do some research. I’m fortunate to live in eastern Nebraska, where there are still small farms dedicated to producing great meat. For this recipe, I used Berkshire pork from TD Niche Pork, owned and operated by Travis Dunekacke who started his pig farm as a part-time hobby in 2008. His Berkshire, Mangalitsa, and red wattle pigs live outside in the sunshine and aren’t treated with antibiotics.

Heritage pork chop

Ingredients

  • 2 (1 lb.) heritage-breed pork chops, about 1½-inch thick
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly cracked pepper
  • Olive oil
  • 2 tart apples
  • Splash of bourbon
  • ¼ tsp. cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp. garlic powder
  • Dash of cayenne pepper
  • ½ cup apple juice or cider
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 2 tbsp. brown sugar
  • Pat of butter
  • Squeeze of lemon juice

Preparation

  1. Take pork chops out of the refrigerator 2 hours prior to cooking to come to room temperature. When ready, preheat the oven to 250°F. Pat pork chops completely dry with paper towels and season liberally with kosher salt.

  2. In a large skillet, add oil to coat the bottom and heat over medium-high heat. When oil begins to smoke, pat pork chops dry again before placing them in the skillet. Cook until golden brown and then flip to brown the other side, about 3 minutes on each side.

  3. Then, transfer pork chops to a rimmed cookie sheet. Season both sides with freshly cracked pepper. Place cookie sheet in a 250°F oven and bake for 7 to 10 minutes, or until internal temperature reaches 135 to 140°F. When done, take pork chops out of the oven and loosely tent with foil to rest for at least 5 to 10 minutes before serving.

  4. While the pork chops are finishing in the oven, core apples and cut in ½-inch slices. Pour off the remaining fat in the skillet, leaving only 1 tablespoon behind. Over medium to medium-high heat, brown the apple slices and thyme. Then lower the heat and add a splash of whisky to deglaze the pan, cooking until evaporated. Next add cinnamon, garlic powder, cayenne, apple juice, and brown sugar. Simmer until thickened. Take the apples off the heat and season to taste with salt, pepper, more sugar (if needed), a squeeze of lemon juice, and finish with a pat of butter. Serve rested pork chops with finishing salt, apples, and your favorite sides, such as mashed potatoes and greens.

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Save this recipe

Heritage Pork Chops with Bourbon Apples

Recipe by: Jenny Nguyen-Wheatley
Heritage Pork Chops with Bourbon Apples
  • Prep time

    15 minutes

  • Cook time

    30 minutes

  • Course

    Main

  • Skill level

    Intermediate

  • Season

    All Seasons

  • Serves

    2 to 4
Chef’s notes

The first time I tasted heritage-breed pork chops, I never went back to standard store-bought. The texture, flavor, and juiciness of a Berkshire, red wattle, or Mangalitsa pork chop is unparalleled. These pigs have bloodlines that might be hundreds of years old and the quality of the meat is evident both visually and gustatorily.

When I have the pleasure of cooking heritage pork, I treat it like a good steak: medium to medium-rare and simply seasoned. No brining and marinating necessary. Also, don’t trim off too much of that fat, it’s part of what you’re paying for and tastes amazing. Sweet, nutty, and melt-in-your-mouth, you’ll want a little piece of fat with every bite.

You won’t find heritage pork in regular grocery stores, and to source it, you might have to do some research. I’m fortunate to live in eastern Nebraska, where there are still small farms dedicated to producing great meat. For this recipe, I used Berkshire pork from TD Niche Pork, owned and operated by Travis Dunekacke who started his pig farm as a part-time hobby in 2008. His Berkshire, Mangalitsa, and red wattle pigs live outside in the sunshine and aren’t treated with antibiotics.

Heritage pork chop

Ingredients

  • 2 (1 lb.) heritage-breed pork chops, about 1½-inch thick
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly cracked pepper
  • Olive oil
  • 2 tart apples
  • Splash of bourbon
  • ¼ tsp. cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp. garlic powder
  • Dash of cayenne pepper
  • ½ cup apple juice or cider
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 2 tbsp. brown sugar
  • Pat of butter
  • Squeeze of lemon juice

Preparation

  1. Take pork chops out of the refrigerator 2 hours prior to cooking to come to room temperature. When ready, preheat the oven to 250°F. Pat pork chops completely dry with paper towels and season liberally with kosher salt.

  2. In a large skillet, add oil to coat the bottom and heat over medium-high heat. When oil begins to smoke, pat pork chops dry again before placing them in the skillet. Cook until golden brown and then flip to brown the other side, about 3 minutes on each side.

  3. Then, transfer pork chops to a rimmed cookie sheet. Season both sides with freshly cracked pepper. Place cookie sheet in a 250°F oven and bake for 7 to 10 minutes, or until internal temperature reaches 135 to 140°F. When done, take pork chops out of the oven and loosely tent with foil to rest for at least 5 to 10 minutes before serving.

  4. While the pork chops are finishing in the oven, core apples and cut in ½-inch slices. Pour off the remaining fat in the skillet, leaving only 1 tablespoon behind. Over medium to medium-high heat, brown the apple slices and thyme. Then lower the heat and add a splash of whisky to deglaze the pan, cooking until evaporated. Next add cinnamon, garlic powder, cayenne, apple juice, and brown sugar. Simmer until thickened. Take the apples off the heat and season to taste with salt, pepper, more sugar (if needed), a squeeze of lemon juice, and finish with a pat of butter. Serve rested pork chops with finishing salt, apples, and your favorite sides, such as mashed potatoes and greens.