By Becky Krystal • The Washington Post

My parents didn't make pork at home when I was a kid. When I started cooking for myself, I never gravitated toward pork. I heard about the danger of overcooking it, so I never bothered. Here I am — I have learned how to cook pork.

Thin cuts easily dry out, because by the time you get the outside sufficiently seared, the meat inside is overdone. Thick cuts can be hard to cook evenly, because you may overcook the outside before the inside can finish.

"Poaching" thin chops in a cider-based glaze keeps them moist and adds flavor. Searing them first on one side will yield a golden brown crust. Either rib or loin chops will work. I found it easier to fit four rib chops in the skillet at once. You'll need an instant-read thermometer to monitor the meat. If your chops are on the thinner side, check their internal temperature after the initial sear. If they are at the 140-degree mark, remove them from the skillet and allow to rest for 5 minutes.

Then add the platter juices and glaze ingredients to the skillet and proceed with glaze reduction. If your chops are closer to 1 inch thick, you may need to increase their cooking time in the glaze ingredients.

The 160-degree mark was previously the recommended safe internal temperature by the government. It still applies to ground pork, but most chefs and home cooks attest that temperature causes overcooked pork. In recent years, the Food and Drug Administration lowered the safe minimum cooking temperature for pork to 145 degrees, so for medium, cook the meat to 140 to 145 degrees, knowing the temperature will rise to 145 to 150 degrees as the meat rests.

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