Pork chops are one of the most popular cuts of meat. Depending on your preferences, they can be more tender milder tasting, thinner and needing less preparation and cooking time or thicker and requiring exactly the opposite – more time to prepare and cook.
Pork chops all come from the loin and there are four major sections of meat that we consider to be a part of the loin – the shoulder or blade chops, rib chops, loin chops, and sirloin chops. They all vary in sizes and as we mentioned above, this can affect the taste, thickness and feel of the meat. But we are talking about fresh pork chops here, how about frozen ones?
If thawed correctly, frozen pork chops can make a delicious meal nonetheless. The key here is to understand what the freezing and defrosting processes do to the meat. Picking up the best way to thaw pork chops is easy once you have the answer to these questions and if you do not know it yet, you have found the right place – we will show you not only how to defrost pork chops, but how to do it in the best way possible!
Pork Chops can be defrosted in many ways
Generally speaking, pork chops can be defrosted in many ways, but we will show you the top 4 most-used methods of doing so and we will make sure to rank them from our most favourable to the least preferable one: in the fridge; under cold water; in a pot with warm water or in the microwave.
Stay with us to learn more on how to defrost pork chops, but before that in order to understand how to do it, let us see first what does the freezing process do to the meat.
As we all know, all flora and fauna are created partially by water and when water is forced to pass from liquid form into a solid form, the water molecules expand and this causes the cells of the meat to change, or in other words – when you freeze and defrost meat, the muscle tissue can become more loose and mushy.
When cooking, we want to avoid that at all costs, as we do not want to lose any of the cut’s taste or feel, so it is crucial to find the right way to thaw each piece of meat in the best way possible, that will ensure the least amount of damage or change to the tissue.
Onto the ways of doing so.
4 Ways on How to defrost Pork Chops
1. In the fridge
This might be the slowest, but it is the safest method one can use because it will result in the least amount of tissue damage and moisture loss, compared to the other methods. That is why it marks number 1 on our “thawing list”.
Keeping the temperature of the fridge at around 35°F to 40°F or 0C to 4C, ensures that the meat will slowly adapt and relax and the water molecules will not convert rapidly from solid to liquid form, meaning that the cup is more likely to maintain its original taste and feel with minimum changes.
When the pork chops are wrapped in plastic and slowly defrosted in the fridge and a temperature around the zero, this also prevents the growth and spreading of any bacteria.
After thawing, you can save it in the refrigerator for 3 to 5 days if you do not plan to cook it immediately, which is quite convenient.
2. Under cold water
Definitely faster than thawing in the fridge, however, you will have to keep an eye on these pork chops, because while you can leave them for 2-3 hours in the fridge, when under the water, you have to be careful not to get any water on the meat and you will have have to change it at least twice on every thirty minutes.
If the meat is not in a leak-proof bag and thus gets exposed to water, this might not only spoil its qualities and taste, but also might provoke the growth of bacteria, which we definitely want to avoid.
3. In a pot with warm water
Start by heating some water in a pot to 140˚F or 60˚C. You can use a thermometer to check when it reaches 140˚ or you can just leave it for a few minutes on the stove – it should be slightly hotter to the touch than most home taps and you will not be able to put your finger in for more than 1-2 seconds. Be careful not to burn yourself!
When a few bubbles appear at the bottom of the pot, turn off the heat, get your frozen pork chops, which by that time should have been transferred in a sealed storage bag. Place them in the bath, but do not forget about them, we do not recommend leaving the pork chops for more than 15 minutes.
This method is fast enough so the meat will not start to cook and bacteria will not have the time to develop, although the quicker thawing might cause more tissue and muscle damage to the pork chops due to the rapid change of the water molecules and loss of moisture. This is why, although fast, the method ranks as top three in our list.
4. In the microwave
Another quick method to defrost pork chops, but we definitely cannot guarantee a great result. As we have previously mentioned, microwaves are famous for not being able to evenly distribute heat and because different manufacturers set different times for the selected programs, your appliance might need more or less time to defrost the meat, rather than the usual or the required.
It is a gamble and you might end up with frozen pork chops in the centre and mushy meat on the outside. Not ideal.
To sum this up
If you have plenty of time – defrost your pork chops in the fridge, if not under cold water will do the least amount of damage to the cup while a warm bath might be faster, but it will definitely deteriorate the cut and it might lose its taste qualities. Microwaves generally are a big “no-no” for this task, as they will not leave you with a satisfactory end product.