Finally, pork chops that are super tender and juicy. Yes, you read it correct, pork chops! The one that can be so stubborn, becoming dry if you’re not paying him all of your rapt attention. Not this time. And we are going to show you two easy methods: low & slow in your crock pot or quick in your instant pot. This one has the sweet and spicy island vibe going on with every bite. It’s smothered in a sauce that is created with a few unsuspecting culprits that you would never think to put together. This is one comfort meal you are going to add to your rotation for its simplicity and stress free cooking.
How many of you feel like saying “Alexa, cook me some delicious meal tonight”? It could be you… a mother like me, tired from running after her toddler… a single bachelor working 14 hours a day… or some retired person done with cooking. Well, guys, Alexa is still not yet capable of cooking for us. But you probably already have something in your kitchen that can do some great things for you, your very own crock pot or instant pot. All of us deserve some easy nights like this. Give it just 10 minutes of your precious time, then do whatever else you feel like doing today.
This recipe is called Islander Pork, and comes from a Crock Pot cookbook my mother-in-law got about 30 years ago. It’s still a family favorite. But sometimes I get so caught up with other things, by the time I get around to starting it it’s too late for the slow cooker. That’s why I have also adapted it for instant pot as well!
What kind of pork chops to use
Most of the times pork chops tend to dry out, as they’re pretty lean. But there are ways around to make them tender and juicy, if you buy the right type. I always say choose your pork chops wisely. The most delicious, tender results come from bone-in, thicker chops with nice marbling throughout the meat. Look for shoulder or blade chops with more fat. If you put some lean meat, I’m afraid it ain’t giving you fork tender chops in the end. You can use thick boneless chops in a pinch.
So one mantra for cooking pork chops in a crock pot or instant pot:
The more marbled & fatty the pork = more fork tender pork in your mouth.
This is all you need tonight
- Pork chops – Remember, thick bone-in chops are best. We do use the same recipe on Boston butt or shoulder roasts, great for some pulled pork tacos or burritos.
- Ketchup – Yes, tomato ketchup adds great tang to the sauce.
- Orange juice – Some citrussy tang.
- Honey – There is your sweetness.
- Soy sauce – How can we miss some umami flavor here?
- Lime juice – Loads of flavor profile in this one.
- Spices – Paprika and whole cloves.
- Kitchen Bouquet – Optional, but enhances the flavor.
- Salt – To taste.
Slow Cooker method
First, a few tips:
- Cook them slow and low, that helps the fat to melt into the meat, creating a juicy tender texture. Do not over cook them, they may dry out.
- All slow cookers cook differently, so the first time you try out this recipe, keep an eye on your meat towards the end, and then adapt to that cooking time henceforth. Use the cooking time here as a general guideline.
- You can add an additional layer of flavor if you first sear each side of the chops in a pan. I usually skip this step, as I like it simple and don’t want extra dishes. Believe me, it’s great either way!
Make a sauce by combining all ingredients except pork. Lightly coat the crock pot with oil. Place the pork chops in the bottom. Pour your sauce all over the chops.
Cover and cook for 5-6 hours on low heat. We recommend low heat for this one, but in a hurry you can cook on high for 2-3 hours. Again, they can dry out so keep an eye on them.
Very soon you are going to be greeted with some amazing aromas in your home.
Didn’t I tell you it’s easy? Yet those chops are flavor bombs smothered in different sweet, tangy, spicy and umami flavors.
Instant Pot Method
This method is just as simple. Mix up the sauce, this time adding an additional 1/4 cup water. Lightly grease instant pot, add in pork chops and cover with sauce. Set manual time on HIGH to 10 minutes and press go. It will take about 30 minutes total, as the instant pot must pressurize for about 10 minutes, then after cooking you should allow to naturally de-pressurize for 10 minutes.
Optionally, you can first sear each side of pork chop on sauté mode for 2-3 minutes a side. This does add a little additional layer of flavor, but usually I just keep it simple and skip this step. It still turns out great!
What to serve these Islander pork chops with?
- Keep the simple theme by just serving alongside some brown rice and some veggies like green beans or asparagus. Other veggies I can see going good are caramelized baby carrots, sautéed mushrooms or peas.
- You can serve them over a big bowl of your favorite mashed potatoes, like our goat cheese mashed potatoes or sweet potato mash.
- They go great on a bed of egg noodles.
- If you are making the recipe with some other pork cut like butt or shoulder, shred the meat and have it in tacos, burritos and burrito bowls. It’s great for pulled pork sliders or sandwiches, too.
Can I swap a few things? (Variations)
Sure you can. The idea is just cook an easy meal with whatever you find that day. You can experiment with some garlic powder or onion powder. Throw in some other dried herbs like parsley, thyme, oregano and basil, or even rosemary… all or one at a time.
You can even try some other meat all together and keep the same islander sauce. Try bone in chicken legs or thighs. Some short ribs cooked in the same sauce would be amazing too.
How to store leftovers
This is a great meal prep option, as these chops refrigerate well. Just store them in an airtight container for up to three days and reheat in a pan on stove top or in the microwave when ready to eat. If reheating on the stovetop, you may want to add a little water to the sauce if it has thickened.
You can also freeze them. Again, store in an airtight container. We like to use frozen Islander pork within two months for best quality. Just stick them in the fridge to thaw the day before eating, then heat them back up for another great meal.
I’m glad you found this super simple pork chop recipe that you are sure to love. Get that crock pot (or instant pot) cooking for you! You deserve a break my friend! Have a great relaxing evening…
Crock Pot Pork Chops, AKA Islander Pork, on my Gypsy Plate… enjoy!
- 3.5 lbs Pork chops
- 2 Tbsp honey
- 2 Tbsp soy sauce
- 1 lime juice
- 1/4 cup orange juice
- 1/4 cup tomato ketchup
- 1 tsp paprika
- 5-6 whole cloves
- 1/2 tsp kitchen bouquet (optional)
- Sea salt to taste
Slow Cooker method
- Make a sauce by combining all the ingredients, except pork chops.
- Lightly oil the bottom of the crock pot. Place pork chops in crock pot and drizzle the sauce over the chops.
- Cover and cook for 5-6 hours on low or 2-3 hours on high heat.
Instant Pot method
- Mix all sauce ingredients, plus additional 1/4 cup water.
- Add everything to Instant Pot, seal and set to manual on high pressure for 10 minutes (it will take about 10 minutes to pressurize before cook time begins.
- After cooking, allow pressure to release naturally for 10 minutes.
- You can sear the pork chops and make them brown before cooking. This adds additional umami flavor.
- If you wish to thicken the sauce, mix 1 Tbsp corn starch with 2 Tbsp cold water. Gradually add this mixture into your cooked sauce until you reach your desired consistency.
Nutrition InformationYield 6 Serving Size 1
Amount Per Serving Calories 595Total Fat 29gSaturated Fat 9gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 15gCholesterol 222mgSodium 334mgCarbohydrates 11gFiber 0gSugar 9gProtein 68g
Nutrition information calculated by Nutritionix.
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