People in the food world often say the measure of a good chef is how well he or she can roast a chicken. Others say it is how well he can cook an egg (because it can be a challenge to turn out a good egg consistently). In the world of Ochef – and yes, we have begun to think of it as a world – one of the hardest things to cook is a good pork chop.

In this country, the concern about illness from undercooked pork is essentially a thing of the past. But the hockey puck part, to change your sports analogy slightly, is almost inescapable.

you may know, pigs have been bred over the past 50 years to be so much leaner than previously. It’s hard to believe the pork breeders have done themselves any favors. Maybe people won’t buy pork if it has more than a certain amount of fat, but who will buy it again and again if it has no flavor and is always as dry as wood?

It is impossible to answer your many, many, many questions. Pork chops are not the same thickness, not the same shape, and our grocer relishes selling packages of mixed chops – so not only do they vary in size, they come from different parts of the pig, have different amounts of connective tissue, different muscle structure, etc. You pan or grill is not the same as ours, nor is it as hot today as it may be next week.

After being guilt-ridden for days over your comments, we have been looking through cookbooks and online for ways people are more specific in their pork chop instructions.

The National Pork Board gives these instructions for an inch-thick pork chop: Prepare a medium-hot fire in the grill. Pat pork chops dry. Grill chops, over direct heat, turning once, to medium doneness or until the internal temperature reaches 155°F (68°C), about 3 to 4 minutes per side.

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