Smothered pork chops are a staple of comfort food throughout the South. Almost every home cook in the South, no matter if they’re in South Carolina, Mississippi, or East Texas, will have a recipe for this low-cost, rib-sticking recipe.
The Key To Tasty Onion Gravy
Although each ingredient you add to the gravy in this recipe will add another flavor and another level of complexity, the real key to a big flavor is salt.
More specifically, salting each ingredient separately. Putting salt on the pork chops but not the gravy or the onions will result in a bland gravy.
Instead of adding the salt all at once, you’ll add small amounts to each element as you go along. This will balance out all the ingredients and add a zing to the recipe that you wouldn’t get by adding the same amount of salt all at one time.
Just don’t overdo it. You can’t unsalt a meal. Where I say to add a pinch of salt, just use two fingers and a thumb to pick it up and no more.
Cooking a Large Batch of Smothered Pork Chops
If you want to cook more smothered pork chops than what’s provided in this recipe, you can use a sizeable pot like a large dutch oven instead of a skillet. Just double the amount of gravy you make, add an additional onion or two, and you can cook as many as eight pork chops at a time.
When you add them to the dutch oven, add four to the bottom of the pot, cover with some of the onion gravy, add four more in a staggered layer, and then cover those with gravy.
Bring to a simmer, cover, and cook for 10 minutes.
Be sure to check the internal temperature of the pork chops with an instant-read thermometer. Each pork chop should read more than 145 degrees but less than 165 degrees.
Smothered Pork Chops
- 3 tbsp. pork lard - divided (you can substitute vegetable oil)
- 2-3 tsp. Kosher salt
- 1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tbsp. all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 cups chicken stock
- 1/4 cup buttermilk - full fat
- 4 bone-in pork chops - each about 3/4-inch thick
- 1 large yellow onion - peeled, halved, then sliced into thin rings
- 1/4 cup water
- 2 large garlic cloves - minced
- 2 tsp. fresh thyme
- 1 tbsp. fresh parsley
- Lightly season your pork chops on both sides with salt and pepper. Set out on the counter to come to room temperature. This step is best done a half-hour to an hour before you begin cooking.
- Heat 2 tablespoons of lard in a small saucepan over medium heat until shimmering.
- Whisk flour into hot oil until smooth. Cook, whisking constantly until it begins to turn light brown. About 5 minutes.
- Increase heat to medium-high and add the chicken stock in a thin stream, whisking constantly, until smooth. Whisk in the buttermilk and a small pinch of salt. Bring to a boil then remove from heat.
- Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of lard in a 12-inch saute pan over medium-high heat until smoking. Add the seasoned pork chops and brown for 3 minutes on each side. Remove to a plate.
- Add the sliced onions and a pinch of salt to your saute pan and cook until soft and beginning to brown. About 10 minutes.
- After your onions are browned, stir in the garlic, thyme, parsley, and 1/4 cup of water. Cook for about 30 seconds, scraping up any cooked-on bits with a wooden spatula.
- Return the pork chops to the skillet. Cover with onions then pour in the warm sauce. Turn the heat to low and simmer covered for 10 minutes, or until an instant-read thermometer shows the internal temperature of your pork chops to be more than 145 degrees, but less than 165 degrees.
- Remove the pork chops to a plate and cover them loosely with a strip of tinfoil. Turn the heat to high and cook the sauce until it's reduced to a gravy consistency. About 5 minutes. Taste for salt and adjust, if necessary. Remove from heat. Move the pork chops to serving plates and pour the sauce and onions over the top.