Cumin and Thyme-Rubbed Pork Chops

ImageCumin & thyme-rubbed pork chops on a green salad

I am lucky enough to live within 15 minutes of a Trader Joe’s. Never have I been glad enough for a reverse migration of Californians back out to the Midwest. I’m one of such transplants, and I’m glad TJ’s was thoughtful enough to make sure to plant itself down before I got here (heh). This recipe can be made entirely from ingredients purchased at TJ’s. I love one-stop shopping trips.

1) Spices, 2) Pork chops ready to be breaded

Ideally, you will remember to pull your pork chops out of the refrigerator at least 15-30 minutes prior to prepping. Bringing the chops closer to room temperature will help them cook faster. But heck, if you don’t have time/brain capacity to remember these kinds of things (kind of like remembering to bring my reusable shopping totes to the grocery store…which is never), well don’t prolong your hunger any longer!


Meat “hammer”

One of my favorite, indispensable kitchen gadgets is what I formerly and lovingly called the “meat cleaver.” It evoked such badassery, that I was wielding a tool of such formidable potential. However, this metal gizmo is actually called a “meat hammer”. I figured I should look up the proper term before sending my readers off into a hacking frenzy, rendering their pork chops into ground pork chops with the likes of this:

Wusthof 8″ meat cleaver

Nomenclature aside, the meat hammer possesses within its spiky aluminum side the power to turn meh-pork chops into TENDER pork chops with minimal fuss. Prepping pork chops might be worthy of consideration as a standard, prescribed remedy for stress relief on a crummy stressful day. Have at it. Take a couple of big THWACKs. Flip them over and THWACK THWACK THWACK some more. But do have some self control. You know you’ve gone too far if you’ve thwacked a hole into your poor pork chop. You’ve thwacked enough once your chops reach about ¼” thickness.

If you don’t have a meat hammer, a saran-wrapped anatomy textbook spine might do the trick, though I can’t vouch for the sanitation of such a practice. I’ll pretend we didn’t just learn about Yersinia this week.

For handy printable recipe, click HERE

Cumin and Thyme-Rubbed Pork Chops (recipe)

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 5 minutes (or less)


  • 1lb boneless pork loin chops (3/8” thick, about 6-7 chops)
  • 1 TBSP ground cumin
  • 1 TBSP ground black pepper
  • 1 TBSP dried thyme
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1 TBSP half & half
  • 1.5 cups panko bread crumbs
  • 1 TBSP olive oil


  • Meat hammer


  1. Remove pork chops from refrigerator at least 15 minutes before prepping.
  2. Using a meat hammer on the spiky side, pound pork chops (with a couple of whacks to both sides) to ¼” thickness.
  3. Mix ground cumin, ground black pepper, dried thyme, and salt in a shallow bowl wide enough to fit a pork chop. Rub spice mixture into pounded pork chops and set aside.
  4. In the same spice bowl, whisk egg with 1 TBSP of half & half (regular milk will also work). Spread panko crumbs on a large plate. Dredge pork chops one-by-one into the egg mixture, then dip on both sides into panko crumbs, coating evenly.
  5. Heat 1 TBSP olive oil in a nonstick pan. Sear pork chops on high heat for 10 seconds on each side. Turn heat to medium and sear for 30 seconds on each side. Using a pair of kitchen shears, cut a pork chop down the middle. Pork chops are done when juices run clear and the center turns white (not pink!).
  6. Serving suggestion: serve over a lightly-dressed green salad, or over rice

Notes on ingredients/other tips

  • TJ’s sells 3/8”-thick pork chops, but if you can’t find such thinly sliced ones, just cut a thicker chop in half.
  • Panko breading gives these chops a nice savory crunch with a quality of lightness. They don’t seem to soak up as much oil as regular bread crumbs. If you don’t have access to these, regular unseasoned bread crumbs will work just fine
  • Pork chops can be prepped ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. Wrap them between layers of wax paper or parchment. You may also freeze them for later use (just remember to thaw overnight in the refrigerator).

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s