Chicken, beef, and even fish seem to get all the glory when it comes to meal prep. But what about pork?!
Pork can be a great source of protein. And the variety of cuts offers so many versatile flavors to add to your favorite pork meal prep. So get ready to serve up that bacon, sausage, ham, pork chops, and pork tenderloin.
Not only can you find healthy pork recipes for your favorite cut of pork, but you can also find a variety of cooking methods. So there’s sure to be a pork recipe that will fit your taste and cooking style. Pork works great in a crock pot, on the grill, and in a sheet pan.
So if you’re on the lookout for the sweet, smokey, savory goodness of pork in your healthy meal prep, look no further!
We’ll walk you through tips on how to meal prep your top pork chops recipe and then we’ll load you up with our recipes to get you started with excellent pork chop meal prep.
Tips to Cook the Perfect Pork Chop for Meal Prep
Pork chops are relatively lean cuts of meat. They’re packed with beneficial vitamins and minerals including iron, zinc, selenium, and vitamins B1 (thiamin), B3 (niacin), B6, and B12. Here are a few tips to add to your pork meal prep recipes
- Season before cooking.
Give that meat a boost of flavor with salt and pepper and other seasonings before cooking. Waiting to add seasoning until after the meat is cooked doesn’t bring out the flavor as well as adding it before cooking.
- Brine before cooking.
Brining pork chops can help them stay juicy and flavorful during cooking. To brine, dissolve 1/4 cup of salt in 4 cups of water and add any desired seasonings. Soak the pork chops in the brine for at least 30 minutes (or up to 4 hours) before cooking.
- Set out before cooking.
Cooking a chilled chop will often lead to part of the chop overcooking. For an even cook, bring the pork chop out of the fridge for at least 30 minutes and up to 2 hours before cooking to give it time to rest and come to room temperature. After this resting period, blot the meat with a paper towel to remove any excess liquid.
- Select the right cut.
There are several different types of pork chops. When selecting a particular cut, look up which type of pork chop best pairs with your pork chop recipe. You can always ask the butcher at the meat counter for guidance. In general, look for pork chops that are about 1 inch thick with a good amount of marbling, which will keep the meat juicy and tender. Avoid chops that are too thin, as they can dry out easily.
- Use a thermometer.
Overcooking leads to tough meat and undercooking can make you sick. It’s best to avoid both by using an instant-read thermometer when cooking pork chops. They’re fairly cheap and easy to buy online. Pull your pork chop from the heat when the internal temperature reaches 145 degrees.
- Use a pan and an oven.
While many different cooking methods will get you a great pork chop, we recommend a sheet pan or grill pan and oven combo. Heat a large skillet or grill pan over high heat until hot. Add a little olive oil or just regular cooking oil to the pan. Pork chops go in once the oil is hot. Be careful not to overcrowd the pan. Sear the pork chops for about 3-4 minutes on each side, until a golden-brown crust forms. Flip the chops only once to prevent them from drying out. For thicker pork chops, transfer them to a preheated oven (at 400°F/200°C) and cook for an additional 6-8 minutes until the internal temperature reaches 145°F (63°C) for a safe and tender chop.
- Store individually to freeze.
If you’re batch-prepping pork chops to use over the next several weeks, wrap your seasoned pork chops individually. These are chops without sauces but have seasonings like a spice rub or ranch seasoning. For pork chops with sauce, use the smallest meal prep container possible to tightly package your pork chop and sauce.
With these tips, you’re sure to cook a tender and juicy chop that you can enjoy in your meal prep this week or from the freezer for weeks to come.
Grab your favorite pork chop recipe and follow the cooking instructions. Pork chops cook well in an oven, air fryer, frying pan, slow cooker, and on the barbecue.
Make sure to rest and cool the pork before transferring it to your meal prep container.
Then store in the fridge for 3-5 days or in the freezer for about 3 months.
Best Side Dishes for Meal Prep With Pork Chops
Many delicious side dishes go well with pork chops. Here are some ideas:
- Roasted vegetables: Roasted carrots, Brussels sprouts, or sweet potatoes complement the sweetness of pork chops.
- Mashed potato: Creamy mashed potatoes pair well with the savory flavor of pork chops.
- Sauteed spinach: Fresh spinach sauteed with garlic and olive oil is a light and flavorful side dish.
- Applesauce: The sweetness of applesauce is a classic pairing.
- Rice pilaf: A flavorful rice pilaf with herbs, spices, and vegetables is a great way to add some variety to your meal.
- Green beans: Lightly blanched green beans with garlic and lemon add a bright and fresh contrast to the richness of pork chops.
- Coleslaw: A crunchy and tangy coleslaw is a great way to add some texture and freshness to your meal.
- Baked beans: Sweet and savory baked beans pair well with the smoky flavor of pork chops.
Ultimately, the best side dishes to serve with pork chops depend on personal taste. Try experimenting with different flavors and textures to find the perfect match for your pork chops.
The Top 5 Pork Meal Prep Recipes On The Planet
Once you’ve mastered the perfect pork chop using the tips above, spice up your weekly menu with some of these flavorful pork recipes. You can also use pork instead of chicken in recipes you’re already comfortable cooking. Pork is not only delicious, but it can be pretty affordable as well. So the next time you find yourself checking out the pork on sale at the grocery store, go ahead and grab it. Pork might just be your new preferred source of protein.
If you’re in search of a super easy dinner recipe, get started with one of these pork meal prep recipes:
Looking for an easy recipe that will give you a variety of meal prep options? This pork tenderloin is in a preheated oven in minutes keeping your prep time to a minimum. And not only does it pair deliciously well with this slaw and sweet potato, but you can also double the pork recipe and serve it up with a side of brown rice and veggies.
This is the perfect recipe to batch cook for a week of lunches. Filling and flavorful, this pork and rice dish is easy to portion out into individual storage containers for a grab-and-go meal. Mix up the recipe with your favorite veggies.
Planning ahead for a slow cooker meal is the exact opposite of what your busy schedule may allow. But just imagine being able to pull juicy pork carnitas from your freezer on a crazy work night! This pulled pork freezes extremely well. Make a large batch on a Sunday and have pork ready to go in your freezer for months. Freeze it in single-meal-sized bags for an easy weeknight option. And if you’re short on ingredients for the carnitas, add a baggy of meat to a bowl of rice and build a delicious burrito bowl with whatever beans and veggies you have on hand.
If you don’t have an air fryer this recipe also works well in the oven. The crisp brussels sprouts pair perfectly with the salty, sweet bacon. If you’ve been eating the same veggie every night, it’s time to mix things up with this easy recipe.
Spice up your life with these tasty green beans. If you ever thought to pass on green beans because they lacked flavor, not this recipe! The bacon and jalapeño combo will make your mouth water and you’ll even forget you’re eating your vegetables.
Check out Fit Men Cook for more recipes and meal prep ideas.