Curious? We certainly were. Let me put your mind at ease. Potlikker, or Pot Liquor, a Southern tradition, is the brothy liquid gold left behind after boiling greens and beans. However, here potlikker is made from scratch and used as an ultra-concentrated broth—often the first step in imbuing a dish with layers of meaty flavor. The potlikker is made with dry-cured country ham, but if you can’t find it, get smoked ham hocks which will bring similar intensity.
The juicy seared pork chops get smothered in a rich brown gravy made with the savory Country Ham Potlikker for layer upon layer of Southern comfort. Making the broth is a crucial first step, so be sure to read through the recipe before you begin to make the Smothered Pork Chops dinner. We actually made the potlikker the day before, which saved a lot of time on dinner day.
*After the simmering was done, we deemed the sauce too thin. The pork chops were removed to a platter and covered with foil, while we reduced the sauce by boiling it over medium-high heat for an extra 10 minutes. When ready, remove the foil from the meat and pour the thicker sauce over the chops, sprinkle with thyme leaves and serve.
The meal was outstanding! We practically became plate-lickers of the potlikker sauce left on the dinnerware… The Bon Appétit article had a few more potlikker broths and companion recipes, so I’m sure this won’t be the last. For instance, Braised Chicken Thighs with Olives and Herbs to go with a smoked paprika and sun-dried tomato potlikker… my mouth is watering already…
Country Ham Potlikker Gravy
- 1 1½-oz. piece country ham or one 12-oz. smoked ham hock
- 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- ¾ tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
- ½ tsp. Diamond Crystal or ¼ tsp. Morton kosher salt
- Bring ham, garlic, red pepper flakes, salt, and 1 quart water to a boil in a large saucepan. Reduce heat and simmer, skimming foam from surface as needed, 1 hour.
- Strain through a fine-mesh sieve into a medium heatproof bowl. Pick out ham and reserve for another use; discard remaining solids.
Do Ahead: Potlikker can be made 5 days ahead. Let cool. Transfer to an airtight container and chill, or freeze up to 3 months.
Smothered Pork Chops in Potlikker Gravy
- 1½ cups (or more) Country Ham Potlikker
- 2 Tbsp. distilled white vinegar
- 2 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tsp. Dijon mustard
- 1 tsp. ground allspice
- 1 tsp. mild-flavored (light) molasses
- ⅓ cup all-purpose flour
- 4 1″–1½”-thick bone-in pork chops
- Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
- ⅓ cup vegetable oil
- 2 medium onions, thinly sliced
- 6–8 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 1 Tbsp. finely chopped marjoram
- 1 Tbsp. finely chopped rosemary
- 1½ tsp. finely chopped thyme, plus leaves for serving
- Whisk together potlikker, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, mustard, allspice, molasses, and 1 cup water in a medium bowl; set potlikker mixture aside.
- Place flour in a shallow bowl. Pat pork chops dry; season with salt and pepper. Dredge chops in flour, shaking off excess, and transfer to a platter. Set remaining flour in bowl aside.
- Heat oil in a large Dutch oven or other heavy pot over medium-high. Working in 2 batches, cook pork chops until golden brown, about 3 minutes per side; transfer to a plate.
- Reduce heat to medium. Add onions and garlic; cook, stirring, until onions are softened, about 4 minutes. Reduce heat to low. Sprinkle reserved flour evenly over; cook, stirring often and scraping up any browned bits, until onions are beginning to brown, 6–8 minutes.
- Add reserved potlikker mixture; whisk until incorporated and lump-free. Bring to a boil, then add marjoram, rosemary, and 1½ tsp. thyme. Reduce heat to medium-low; return pork chops and any accumulated juices to pot. Cover and simmer until pork chops are tender, 70–80 minutes. If gravy looks too thick, thin with more potlikker or water. (*If it’s too thick, reduce the sauce, see above.) Taste gravy and season with more salt as needed.
- Transfer pork chops to a platter; top with thyme leaves.
Adapted from a recipe by Carla Hall for Bon Appétit