How To Cook Pork Chops in the Slow Cooker
Makes 3 to 6 chops
What You Need
3 to 6 bone-in pork chops (3/4- to 1-inch thick, around 1/2 pound each) — preferably blade, shoulder, or sirloin chops; rib chops are second best
For the brine, optional:
1/2 cup kosher salt
8 cups water
Aromatics like bay leaf, whole peppercorns, and other spices
For the slow-cooker dish:
Chopped vegetables and fruits, enough to form a layer on the bottom of the slow cooker — like apples, Asian pears, onions, carrots, celery, fennel, potatoes, sauerkraut
1/4 cup cooking liquid, like broth, cider, hard cider, white wine, or water
Shallow dish, if brining
Skillet, if searing your chops
6-quart or larger slow cooker
- Brine your pork chops, optional: Brining seasons the meat throughout and provides some insurance against overcooking. Stir together the salt and the water until the salt dissolves. (You can also warm the water in the microwave to make this easier, but wait for the water to cool before continuing.) Place the chops in a shallow dish and pour the brine over them. The chops should be submerged; if not, make additional brine solution. Cover the dish and refrigerate for at least 15 minutes or up to 4 hours.
- Season with salt and pepper: If you brined your pork chops, rinse them under running water, then pat them dry with paper towels. If you didn’t, just remove from their package and pat dry. Either way, season both sides with salt and pepper.
- Sear your chops, optional: Searing adds good flavor to the overall dish, but if you’re in a rush, you can skip this step. If you do sear the meat, you can also quickly sauté the onions or other vegetables going into the dish and then deglaze the pan with the cooking liquid. Add an extra splash of the cooking liquid to the pot to compensate for the liquid that evaporated during deglazing.
- Add a layer of vegetables to the slow cooker: Scatter the vegetables or fruits you’ve chosen over the bottom of the slow cooker. They should form a single layer.
- Layer the chops on top: It’s OK to overlap the chops slightly, but don’t stack them on top of each other.
- Pour the cooking liquid over top: Pour the cooking liquid, or the liquid left from deglazing your pan, over the chops. If you sautéed any vegetables, tuck some of them below the chops and scatter the rest on top.
- Cook for 2 to 6 hours on LOW: At around 2 hours, your pork chops will be cooked through (145°F) and have a texture similar to chicken breast — tender, but firm. Between 3 to 6 hours, the chops will have a texture closer to pulled pork; it will be easy to cut with a fork and will pull easily from the bone. (The first time you make slow cooker pork chops, check the chops every so often to see how they’re cooking; after this first batch, you’ll know exactly how much cooking time to plan for going forward to make your ideal pork chops.)
- Serve with the vegetables and cooking liquid: Serve straight from the slow cooker or transfer everything to a serving dish. Spoon the cooking liquid over top of everything.
- Leftovers: These are not my favorite chops to reheat and serve the next day; I find that they’re just a bit too dry and tough at that point. If you do end up with leftovers, I recommend pulling them into shreds and using them in burritos, tacos, soups, and the like.
Recipe Cred: Emma Christensen at the Kitchn