For a lot of people, pork chops are a good choice when it comes to dinner. Although, for a lot of people that cook with pork chops, they always seem to become tough and dry after cooking.
However, there is a reason as to why this is happening, and there is a way to prevent it from occurring.
Pork chops need to be cooked in a specific way to prevent them from becoming tough and dry.
Since they are tougher cuts, pork chops from the ribs and shoulder ought to be cooked in liquid for longer periods of time.
While, to make sure that the prime center cut loin chops stay tender and juicy, they can be grilled to a medium doneness.
In this article, we will look at the different cuts of pork chops that are available to purchase. In addition to the best way, you should be cooking these different types of pork chops to prevent them becoming tough and dry.
Butt Pork Chops/Shoulder Cut
One of the toughest as well as one of the most delectable parts of the pig is the pork shoulder. Compared to other cuts, the shoulder has a larger fat content.
This then requires a long, slow cooking time (see also ‘15 Awesome Paleo Slow Cooker Recipes To Try Today‘) to break down the muscle fibers sufficiently to produce tender meat.
To make sure the tough flesh is broken down and becomes fork tender, you should simmer the shoulder chops in liquid for several hours. This should be on a low heat after browning them to produce a delicious seal on the chops.
When you cook the shoulder chops in liquid, you can flavor the stock (liquid) by adding a number of things. This will improve the taste of the pork chops as they cook.
Country Style Pork Chops
The region where the pig loin and pork shoulder meet is where the country style pork chops are made. Again, these country style pork chops should be prepared similarly to the shoulder chops. This is due to the close proximity the meat is to the harder shoulder.
This type of pork chop can be a delectable hybrid of pork chops and pork ribs because they frequently contain a tiny amount of the rib bones. They also tend to be much less expensive than the more well-known back ribs, which is an added plus.
In addition to these, these chips are known to be much meatier than baby back ribs as well.
Rib Cut Pork Chops
These rib cut pork chops are the pig equivalent of a bone-in rib-eye steak as we approach the lion of the animal. These rib-cut loin chops typically have a little more flavor as well. Since they carry a bit more fat than center-cut loin chops.
Due to the additional fat, rib cut chops can be prepared in a wide range of ways while still staying soft and juicy.
You can cook the chops without needing to “watch” them if you brown them first and then simmer them in liquid like you would with country style and shoulder chops.
Additionally, you can also get away by cooking the rib-cut chops at a higher temperature, giving the exterior a good sear to create a crisp exterior and crispy fat. While leaving the interior of the chop somewhat pink to keep it juicy and moist.
Nowadays, there is no need to be concerned about eating “pink” pork. In fact, it is generally advised to provide for a more enjoyable hog eating experience. As there is little chance of producing dry and tough meat.
Center Cut Loin Chops
These pork chops are, as their name implies, cut from the middle of the pig’s back, or the pork loin. The pig tenderloin is commonly included in these premium cut pork chops, which are typically lean. The leanness of the flesh makes it quite simple to “overcook” these chops, turning them rough and dry.
Chops from the center of the pig should be cooked the same way you would cook a beef steak for the best results. High heat to crisp the fat and sear the outside while keeping the center pink.
Again, letting the pork chop cook for far too long causes the meat to dry up and become tough. Naturally, you can cook the pork a little longer to finish cooking it if you can’t tolerate the idea of eating “pink” pork. Just make sure it’s a little longer.
The difference between a nicely cooked and juicy pork chop and meat that is dry and rough is a matter of minutes!
You will have a greater deal of more control over the cooking time and process if you use an immediate read probe thermometer. These days, they are affordable and provide consistently flawless outcomes.
Hence, once the meat comes up to the right internal temperature, then you know you can remove the meat from the stove.
Rump Chops/Top Sirloin Pork Chops
We have reached the opposite end of the pig loin, where it connects to the top of the animal’s thigh. Chops from the top sirloin of the pork are also known as “Chump” or “Rump” chops.
These chops are less frequent than the other types we have mentioned. This is because they are often marketed as steaks after being deboned.
Even though the top sirloin’s meat is delicious and soft, some of its connective fibers may be slightly harder.
Again, this is an adaptable cut of pork that may be prepared similarly to center-cut chops. However, it is known that boiling it slowly in liquid also works well to break down the stiffer connective tissues.
Thin Or Thick Center Cut Pork Chops?
You may frequently find either thick and thin cut options for the center-cut pork chops on the market. Now, the type of chop you purchase will depend on how you prefer your pork to be cooked.
The thick cut pork chops offer the contrary to the thin cut choice, just as one may anticipate. These will be ideal for you if you prefer your pork to be juicy and moist with a pink center.
Again, the thick cut chops will enable you to accomplish this if you like a “leaner” chop than that of the shoulder or the fattier rib. Yet, you still want to slowly simmer the chops in liquid. They won’t dry out as quickly as conventional cut pork chops, which are baked for a lengthy time because of their thickness.
For those who want their pork to be a little less “pink” or who may be pressed for time and need a quick dinner. Then the thin sliced pork chops are excellent.
These chops may be prepared in a matter of minutes. However, the negative aspect is that it’s incredibly simple to overcook them and turn them tough and dry.
Cooking the thin-cut variant of these chops is definitely advised when using a meat probe thermometer. However, you need to keep an eye on them to prevent them from over cooking.
Cooking Your Cut Of Pork Chop
As you can see, the outcome will vary based on the type of pork chop that you are cooking with. If you try to “quickly” cook the tougher cuts, the result will be tough pork which will be difficult to chew. Similarly, if you “overcook” the leaner slices, the outcome would be tough, dry, and bland.
When prepared properly, pork chops are a juicy, flavorful meat cut that can be just as satisfying as a superb beef steak at a much lower price.
However, you must spend the time necessary to make sure the chop is prepared correctly.
As previously indicated, a meat probe will provide you complete control over the cooking process if you adore pork chops and want to guarantee perfect results every time. Stop relying on speculation or luck anymore.
Use a meat probe to gauge the perfect internal temperature of your pork chops.
The following are the internal temperatures of pork chops that you should look out for:
- Medium to Rare: 145 to 150 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Medium: 150 to 155 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Medium to Well Done: 15 to 160 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Well Done: 160 degrees Fahrenheit.
Why Can You Eat Medium Rare Pork?
Before eating pork, it has long been suggested that meat needs to be cooked thoroughly and completely pink-free. The USDA offered this advice until 2011. Nevertheless, times have changed, and pink pork is now deeply established on the menu.
Presently, eating medium-rare, or “pink,” pork is safe. This is accomplished by cooking the pork until an internal thermometer reads 145 °F in the thickest area, followed by a 3-minute rest period.
For a lot of people, the fear of undercooked pork stemmed in large part from the vile disease known as Trichinosis, which is brought through the trichinella parasite.
Since changes in pig feeding procedures, it is almost impossible for someone to develop trichinosis from eating commercially produced pork that hasn’t been properly prepared nowadays.
When pork including pork chops are cooked and rested as stated above, the pork will reach approximately 155+ degrees Fahrenheit.
This is much higher than the temperature needed to completely eradicate any risk of the trichinella parasite.
When it comes to pork chops, a lot of people struggle with cooking them correctly. As a result, they have to face tough and dry pork chops due to overcooking.
Depending on the cut of your pork chops, this will affect how you should cook the meat.
Some cuts of pork chops need a longer and slower cooking time compared to leaner cuts that are cooked much quicker.
The best way to know when your pork chops are cooked perfectly is by using an internal heat thermometer. By using a thermometer, you can ensure you have cooked your pork chops correctly before they become overcooked and dry.
We hope this article has helped you to prevent dry and tough pork chops the next time you wish to cook with them.