Please help me figure out what I am doing wrong. I am not happy with my pork chops. By most people's standards they are very good. Flavorful, juicy, not over-cooked (I aim for 130 internal temperature after resting them, so they still have a little pink in the center). The problem is they are not as tender as I'd like them to be. How do I know they can be more tender? I had a pork chop in a restaurant once that had all the juiciness and flavor of a chop with the texture that could almost rival a tenderloin. I've been trying to recreate it for months, but with no luck.
So, here are some questions that might help me solve this mystery:
1) how do I get the right kind of chops? I've been buying them at Whole Foods so far. Are those too lean? After reading Cook's Illustrated advice, I make sure to get rib chops and not center cut chops (that look like a T-bone). The part of the meat that is close to the bone and surrounded by fat always comes out perfect, but the large round piece that does not have any marbelling is always a little tough no matter what I do.
2) marinating vs. brining -- I tried brining in 1/2 cup kosher salt + 1/2 cup brown sugar per quart of water. And I tried marinading in a mixture of soy sauce, balsamic vinegar, garlic, honey, and salt. I keep the chops in these solutions for about 24 hours. Of the two, I like the flavor of marinated ones more (they also brown better). The texture is about the same for both of them.
3) High heat vs. low heat -- I tried grilling on high heat to sear the outside (2-3 minutes/side), and then turning down the heat on the grill to low until chops are done. I have also tried Cook's Illustrated method of putting chops in a cold skillet and then turning on the heat. I cooked them on low for 5 minutes on each side and then finished in 300F oven. I didn't get any browning on those and the flavor was so-so. Theoretically, they should have been more tender because high heat toughens the pork, but they were about the same as the grilled ones.
At this point I am out of ideas and I am tired of eating pork chops. I don't want to give up just yet, but I want to hear from the pork chop experts on this board before I resume my porcine experiments.