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What are Pork Chops?

By Ken Black
Updated May 16, 2024
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Pork chops are a cut of meat from the upper portion of a pig's body, coming from the portion that runs from the pig's hip to its shoulder. They are considered one of the most popular cuts of meat from a pig and come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Chops can be prepared a number of different ways and can be sliced thin or cooked thick.

The most popular of pork chops are probably the center loin chops that have the bone left in. These are very similar in type of to the T-bone steak in beef, and they come from the same portion of the pig that T-bones come from in cattle. In the Midwestern United States, a thicker cut may be referred to as an Iowa chop, a reference to the country's number one pork producing state.

This cut lends itself to being prepared in a number of different ways. For convenience, frying on a stove top is probably the most popular. For taste, grilling tends to bring out some of the best flavors. Chops can also be be baked. The cooking preference is largely an individual choice, based on the circumstances and need.

Cooking time on all varieties of pork chops is very similar. They should be cooked over low-medium or medium heat, which should keep the outside from becoming burned while the center of the meat is cooked. It does not matter whether the bone is in or out — the cooking time is not affected. The only factor that affects cooking time is the thickness of the meat. All pork should be cooked until the outside is a golden brown and the liquid coming from the meat is clear. Cooking at a moderate heat will also help keep the meat from drying out.

Along with the cooking methods, there are a variety of recipes and spices that can be used on this meat. Some prefer nothing but a little bit of salt and butter on their chops, but others prefer a certain type of gravy or other types of spices to make the chops complete. Ultimately, the perfect recipe depends on the cooks' point of view.

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Discussion Comments
By nextcorrea — On Apr 20, 2012

My mom used to serve her pork chops baked with apples and peppers. Pork and apples are pretty common but the addition of the hot peppers was her own touch. It was a great dish that paired the sweet apples and hot peppers with the rich mellow pork. It was one of the recipes she served at dinner parties.

By truman12 — On Apr 19, 2012

I like to make grilled cranberry pork chops. You make a glaze with cranberry juice and some savory spices. You glaze the chops before you start grilling and reserve some of the glaze for sauce.

It is one of the best grilled pork chop recipes and it could not be easier to make. Pork chops are one of my favorite things to grill because they are always cheap to buy and the meat pairs well with a number of different flavors. There is a pork chop to fit every palette.

By gravois — On Apr 18, 2012

I love a good stuffed pork chop. My wife knows how much I like them and she makes them all the time. The thing is that she switches up the filling almost every time and doesn't tell me what it is before I cut in.

I like the surprise element and the pork chops are always delicious. She is an amazing cook.

By ivanka — On Mar 29, 2009

To retain moist pork chops, cook them on relatively low heat and no need to preheat the pan.

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