Here’s how you make a pork chop that can truly rival a great steak at home: Brine it with brown sugar, pan-fry it, and then baste it with butter. If that sounds a lot like how you cook a steak at home, you’re right — this is basically pork chop steak!
2 bone-in pork chops, preferably rib chops (1 1/2 inches thick, 8 to 10 ounces each)
3 cups room-temperature water
1/2 cup kosher salt
1/4 cup packed light or dark brown sugar
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 sprigs fresh thyme
2 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
Tenderize the pork chops with a fork. Place the pork chops on a large plate or baking sheet. (Optional — place a wire rack on a baking sheet.) Prick the chops all over with a fork, about 1/8 inch deep. Flip the pork chops and repeat pricking the other side.
Brine the pork chops. Place the water, salt, and brown sugar in a gallon zip-top bag and stir to dissolve the salt and sugar.
Add the pork chops and seal the bag. Place the bag on a rimmed baking sheet and arrange so that the pork chops are sitting in a single layer. Refrigerate for 30 minutes and up to 8 hours.
Drain and pat the chops dry. Remove the pork chops from the brine and pat dry with paper towels.
Heat a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat and sear. Heat a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat until hot and just beginning to smoke. Add the pork chops and cook for 1 minute on each side — they should begin to brown and release some fat into the pan.
Continuing flipping and cooking for 8 to 10 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium. Continue to cook for 8 to 10 minutes more, flipping the chops every minute, until they register 135°F in the thickest part.
Butter baste off the heat. Remove the pan from the heat. Add the butter, thyme, and garlic. Use a large spoon to spoon the melted butter over the pork chops. Flip the pork chops and baste again. Let the pork chops rest in the pan until they reach 140 to 145°F, 5 to 7 minutes.
Slice and serve. Slice the pork chops across the grain and serve with the butter sauce.
Storage: Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.