The Canadian Nutrient File refers to a boneless chop as a “pork steak” and a bone-in cut as a “pork chop”, however many people use the terms interchangeably (for simplicity, we’ll use the term “pork chops” and specify “boneless” or “bone-in” as necessary).
Pork chops can be purchased boneless or bone-in; arguably bone-in chops have a bit more flavourful meat, particularly near the bone. Pork chops with a bone in can be “frenched”, where the meat is scraped away to expose the tip of the bone. This is done for aesthetic reasons.
Loin centre chops, rib chops, and sirloin chops are all similar in taste, but are cut from slightly different areas. Loin centre chops tend to be the leanest pork chop, but many meat experts and consumers believe that the rib chop and sirloin chop have more flavour due to their higher fat content. Shoulder chops are usually darker in colour, have a stronger flavour and contain more fat than other pork chops. Many chefs believe that the shoulder produces the tastiest cuts of meat. All are perfect for grilling on the BBQ, with a rub or marinade, or for roasting in the oven.
Broiling/Pan-frying “Fast Fry” (thin, boneless) Pork Chops
Thin, boneless pork chops are usually very lean and can easily be overcooked. Broiling or pan-frying is a quick way to cook them without drying them out.
- Pat pork chops dry with paper towel and season as desired.
- Turn oven to “HIGH” broiler setting or place pan over medium high heat. Lightly spray or oil frying pan.
- Place pork on broiler pan 5 to 6 inches (13-15 cm) from heat or place pork in frying pan
- Broil or panfry until the pork is golden brown on one side (about 3 – 4 minutes); turn and broil or panfry the other side until golden brown (another 3 – 4 minutes).
Thin, boneless pork chops are also great for cutting into strips for stir-fry or noodle dishes or into small cubes for soups.
Grilling Pork Chops
Thicker pork chops, either boneless or bone-in, are fantastic on the BBQ with a rub.
- Pat pork chops dry with paper towel & rub with seasonings.
- Clean grill with BBQ brush and Preheat BBQ on HIGH.
- Place chops on grill & sear on each side (about 1 min/side)
- Reduce heat to MEDIUM. Brush chops with BBQ sauce, if desired, and close lid. Continue cooking for approximately 3 – 4 minutes per side (cooking time depends on thickness of chops).
- Use a meat thermometer to check for doneness without overcooking: cook to an internal temperature of 155°F – 160°F (68°C – 71°C).
- Thicker pork chops, either boneless or bone-in, are fantastic on the BBQ with a rub.
Tips for Perfect Pork Chops
- Always use tongs or a fork to turn meat.
- For nicely browned pork chops, pat dry with a paper towel before cooking (even if they have been marinated).
- To make very tender pork chops, particularly for very thick chops, try brining them before cooking (not recommended if you are using “seasoned” pork).
- Bone-in pork chops typically cook a bit faster than boneless chops, so allow a few extra minutes of cooking time for boneless pork chops.
- The thicker the pork chop, the longer and slower you should cook it.
- Searing (quickly browning at high heat) the outside of the chops before continuing with cooking is a great way to seal in flavor.
- Don’t guess – use a meat thermometer to make sure pork is safely cooked without being overdone.