Slow Cooked Apple Bourbon Smothered Pork Chops ~ that’s a delicious mouthful! The pork cooks low and slow in the oven, or crock pot, and becomes fork tender in a rich gravy made with cider and bourbon.
When it comes to pork chops, I think slow cooking in a braising liquid is the only way to go ~ otherwise I find them too tough. The long, low, and slow cooking breaks down the fat and collagen in the meat and it becomes super tender. The cider vinegar in this recipe provides a further tenderizing effect, and when you smother the finished chops in the rich gravy that they’ve been cooked in, you get a spectacular result.
TIP: For successful slow cooking make sure the meat is completely covered in liquid, and be sure you have a tight fitting lid. You want the liquid to remain for the duration of the cooking.
For smothered pork chops I used meaty pork loin chops, either with or without the bone. Mine were about 1/2 pound each, the thicker the better. You can really use any type of pork chop in this recipe, as long as they aren’t thin.
You’ll want an apple, and some large shallots. Mince the shallots and peel and dice the apple. Then brown the chops on both sides and arrange them in a wide cast iron braising pan or Dutch oven.
The sauteed shallots go in, then the apples, and the liquid.
Tuck in some fresh sage sprigs and it’s ready for the oven. I cook it at 275F for 3 hours. I like to check after an hour to make the sure liquid is just barely simmering, not boiling, and I’ll adjust the temperature according to what I find.
TIP: You can do this in your slow cooker if you like, turn it to low and cook the chops for 6 hours.
When it’s done, remove the chops to a platter and puree the liquid into a thick gravy. Serve ‘smothered’ in the gravy, with more on the side.
The inside of the lid (below) tells the whole flavor story…
An enameled cast iron braising pan is perfect for this dish. It has a round, shallow shape that allows the meat to spread out and cook evenly. The heavy cast iron walls moderate and retain the heat. A 4 quart size works perfectly for this slow cooked pork chop recipe, and it’s a very convenient size to have around, I’ve used this same pan to bake my
It works well for a family of four, but you can find them in smaller or larger sizes to suit your needs, and at lots of different price points, too. It’s one of my favorite types of pans.
Slow Cooked Apple Bourbon Smothered Pork Chops
- 4 center cut pork loin chops
- salt and fresh cracked black pepper
- 2 large shallots, peeled and thinly sliced or chopped
- 1 large apple, any variety, peeled and chopped
- 3 fresh sage sprigs, or about 1/4 cup leaves
- olive oil
- 1/2 cup bourbon
- 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1/4 cup apple cider
- 1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
- 2 Tbsp dark brown sugar
- fresh cracked black pepper
- Preheat oven to 275F (check with an oven thermometer)
- Whisk the sauce ingredients together and set aside.
- Coat the bottom of a large cast iron braising pan with olive oil and heat on medium high until hot but not smoking.
- Season the chops with salt and pepper on both sides, and then brown them for 2 minutes per side in the hot pan. Set aside on a plate.
- Reduce the heat and add the shallots to the pan, along with a splash of water if it's very dry. Saute the shallots for a couple of minutes, until softened.
- Put the chops back in the pan with the shallots, and add the chopped apples and sage. Pour the sauce over all. Cover tightly and cook for 3 hours at 275F. Check after one hour to make sure the pot is just barely simmering, not boiling. If your oven is too hot, turn it down.
- Remove the pork chops to a plate. Remove the sage sprigs, and puree the gravy. Spoon it over the pork chops.
- Nothing says you have to puree the gravy, if you like it thin, leave it as i
Questions and Reviews
Just popped this in the oven, Sue – it smells SO good! There was no mention of how much sage to use, so I just snipped three sprigs from my garden and popped them in with the chops and sauce.
I’d lose my head if it wasn’t attached, Candace 😉 I added the sage amounts in…hope you enjoy it!
Same here, Sue! Thanks – it was absolutely wonderful! I’ll make it again and again!
I’m so glad Candace, thanks :))
I started getting this ready for my crockpot and noticed that the recipe doesn’t say whether the shallots are minced, chopped or left whole! I assume they’re not whole. 🙂 Also the apples aren’t mentioned as to how many, when they are cooked, etc. The recipe sounds good so I am winging it, but beginning cooks might really need these details. It sounds great!
I just corrected that, thanks Jean. You can chop them, like I did here, or thinly slice them if you like.
These sound mouthwatering Sue! My husband is a HUGE pork chop fan. He’s going to LOVE these!
That’s a great fall dinner. My son loves pork chops so I cook it pretty often when I want to look like a hero. ; ) This looks amazing!
Hope this gets you lots of brownie points, Monica 😉
Could you do this with a pork tenderloin? Would the cooking time be less?
If you want to use pork tenderloin the cooking process is very different ~ more like a hot (400F) oven, for less than 30 minutes. You could definitely adapt these flavors for a tenderloin, but you might make the gravy on the stove top while the meat roasts.
Thank you for this recipe, I’m going to be making this tonight! How many apples do you recommend and should they be part of the sauce when pureed?
I only used one apple, Carol, and the chunks you see in the final shot were just stuck to the chops as I lifted them out, before pureeing the sauce. If you like a few apple chunks, that works.
That’s what I did – 1 large apple. I didn’t have any apple cider, just pear cider but it worked beautifully. I have printed and saved your recipe for the next time… with the addition of an apple in the ingredients list :-). Cheers!
That’s great to hear Carol, and come to think of it, this would probably work great with pears instead of apples too.
Pork chops are my husband’s favourite, so I can’t wait to cook up a big pot of this for him. So perfect for apple season 🙂
So very juicy and tender….3-hour-slow-cooking..wow, patience definitely paid off!
What a wonderful autumn dinner. It looks perfect for a dinner party. I love that all the works done ahead of time!
Wow, I can’t take my eyes off these chops – look how fork tender! I really need to try this recipe and boy I love that pan too. The gravy must be fantastic. Super recipe Sue!