Pork chops recipes are among the easiest of all, because pork chops can be cooked in so many ways that you can use almost any ingredient you have available. They are nice, lean cuts of white meat, tender and delicious. You can simply fry them, grill them or roast them, then add any side dish you want and you’ve got a delicious meal in as short as 10-15 minutes. Cooking pork is easier than cooking beef because pork meat is tender, so it doesn’t necessarily require special preparation, slow cooking or a special cut in order to be easy to chew. Depending on the personal taste, pork chops can be cut as thin as only 1/2 inch, average thickness or very thick, like 2 inches. Thinner chops require less preparation time and they usually are less juicy than thicker ones if you overcook them. This is why the cooking time is important and it should be respected if you want to obtain a nice, tasty meal and not a piece of cardboard-like meat.
Which Part of the Pork Do Pork Chops Come From?
This is a diagram illustrating the main pork cuts:
Photographic print of diagram of pork cuts from Mary Evans
Here’s a brief glossary of terms used to define various meat types that come from a pig:
- Pork: general term for the raw meat
- Ham: pig’s hind leg, cured for preservation purposes
- Gammon: pig’s hind leg, raw, cured. It needs cooking before consumption
- Bacon: raw, cured pig meat. It also requires cooking before you can eat it
- Dressed pork carcass: the eviscerated and split pig’s body, after the hair, skin, head and toenails were removed
Depending on the cut they come from, pork chops can be of several types:
- Center cut or pork loin chops: these ones include a T shaped bone and they correspond to the beef t-bone steak. They are best roasted, braised, grilled, broiled or fried.
- Rib chops: these ones are also loin chops, but they come from the ribs area of the loin. They contain eye muscle and backbone and may include also rib bone. Best cooking methods are grill, broil or pan-fry.
- Shoulder chops: they are cut from the shoulder end of the loin and they are also known as blade chops or pork chop end cuts. Shoulder chops are best grilled, broiled, braised or pan-fried.
- Butterfly chops: they come from the boneless loin eye muscle and they are best when grilled, broiled or pan-fried.
- Sirloin chops: they are cut from the rear leg end and they contain portions from the hipbone and from the backbone. It’s recommended to braise, roast, pan-fry, grill or broil them.
- Bacon chops: cut from the shoulder end, these chops contain a portion of belly meat.
- Iowa chops: thick center cuts.
How To Buy Pork Chops
Buying pork chops seems not so complicated. After all, if you made up your mind whether or not you want your chops to be boneless or bone-in, you need to decide on the thickness and you’re done. However, there are a few more elements to consider. For instance, would you like to know that the chops you’re going to feed your family with come from a happy pig or from one who has never seen daylight and who was raised in a cage as large as his size? Or do yo care if the pig was fed with growth hormones and with antibiotics? Or if it was slaughtered in a humane way (if slaughtering can be called humane at all)?
If your answer is no to all the above, then you’re done. Just buy your chops and go home. On the contrary, if you do care about how animals are treated in today’s industrial agriculture, it’s your option to refuse encouraging those practices and buy only free range pork meat. Free range means the meat is coming from pigs who were raised in conditions close to their natural living environment, fed with natural food, free to roam around, therefore supposedly happier. Opinions are split, the “Slow Food” adepts believe in returning to the origins of agriculture, when all foods were tastier and more natural, while the industrial revolution adepts are for raising animals in controlled conditions, therefore with a smaller incidence of lethal diseases such as trichinosis.
As hunting is not so much of an option in the civilized world, if you want to eat, you’ll have to choose the smallest evil of all. Or at least what you think to be the smallest evil. You could even become a vegan, but in this case we’d be sorry to see you going, as this website is about pork chops recipes.
How To Store and Cook Pork Chops
The best pork chop recipes are the ones which include fresh meat. If for some reason you can’t cook it as soon as you buy it, you can store the meat in the refrigerator for maximum 2-3 days. Storing it for more than 3 days requires freezing. Once thawed, pork chops shouldn’t be frozen again for the second time, because that’s not healthy. The best way to thaw the chops is to leave them in the refrigerator for one day. Thawing in the microwave oven is very tricky, as it’s really difficult not to get the meat cooked on the sides. This is why it’s better to avoid using the microwave for thawing meat, especially if it’s not cut extremely thin.
Pork chops can be cooked with their bone in or boneless, depending on your personal preference. However, the bone-in ones taste better because bones retain the moisture inside, making the food juicier. Besides, the bone allows for more creativity in serving. Our website presents a variety of pork chop recipes suitable for grilling, braising, roasting, frying, broiling, baking or slow cooking, as well as recipes for special occasions or festive dinners. Brine or marinated pork chops are also popular in many countries’ cuisine.
Feel free to browse through our recipes list, cook whatever you like and then come to tell us how it was. If you like, you can also send us improvement suggestions or your own pork chops recipes. The best ones will be published in our special section.