Wednesday, February 15, 2017

5 Pork Chop Cuts

A pork chop is a pork chop is a pork chop... right?  Well kinda.

According to Pork Be Inspired, "pork chops are the most popular cut from the pork loin, which is the strip of meat that runs from the pig’s hip to shoulder."  However, since the chops come from this strip of meat, pork chops can have several different characteristics determined by where they came from in the loin which determines their actual name.


For years, when you went to grocery store to buy pork chops or ordered pork chops in a restaurant, they were simply labeled or listed as pork chops or used names like Top Loin Chop, Rip Chop, or Loin Chop.  Meanwhile, most of us are familiar with names like Porterhouse, New York Strip, and T-Bone that have been used to describe the different steak cuts over the years.

So a few years ago, pork decided to follow suit and provided specific names for the 5 different cuts of pork chops that mirror the beef steak names so as consumers we know exactly what we are buying or ordering.


New York Pork Chops are boneless pork chops and are located toward the head of pig or the top of the loin.  These chops are still sometimes called Center Cut Chops and in my opinion are often the most perfect and uniform looking cut of pork.  "The 1¼ inch-thick top loin chop is also called an “America’s Cut.”

Porterhouse Pork Chops are from the lower back portion of the loin (just behind the rib chop) and have a characteristic T-bone shape. These chops include a lot of meat as well as a bit of tenderloin meat with the tenderloin being the most center part of the loin.

Ribeye Pork Chops originate in the center of the loin in the rib area and include some back and rib bone. You can also occasionally find a boneless option of this pork chop as shown in the picture.

Sirloin Pork Chops come from the area of the loin around the hip and often include part of the hip bone. 

Blade Chops (not pictured above) are cut from the beginning of the loin in the shoulder area. They may contain some blade bone as well as back-rib bone. Blade chops are usually thicker and more marbled. 

Now I realize for someone that hasn't spent a lot of time analyzing the difference in meat cuts, this might be a lot to process.  

But the main takeaway is that as home cooks, we understand that there are different types of pork chops as certain recipes often specify the type of cut to use, even though you can usually use whichever cut you want.  So you can choose the New York Pork Chop for that boneless convenience or you might what the attached bone of the Ribeye Pork Chop to add a visual to your meal.  Either way, the cut doesn't determine the cooking length.  It is the thickness of the pork chop that determines the cooking length.  

So my biggest advice is to always have a meat thermometer on hand when cooking pork chops as cooking them to the correct temperature is essential for having tasty pork and "for tender and delicious pork chops prepare your cut of meat to the internal pork cooking temperature of 145 degrees" followed by a 3 minute rest period before cutting and serving.  

So a pork chop is a pork chop is a pork chop... you can be the judge of that while trying out these yummy recipes approved by the pigpen...

Cream of Mushroom Pork Chops can be made with any of the 5 pork chop cuts.

Garlic Pork Stir-Fry utilizes the whole pork loin which is where pork chops come from in the pig.

Pork Chop Delight calls for thin cut boneless pork chops so your New York or boneless Ribeye would be best for this.

Miss Jent, a fellow pig farmer, over at Farmwife Feeds adds a new twist to those bone-in Ribeye Chops with her BBQ Smoked Pork Chops.

And Miss Jeanette, another fellow pig farmer, over at Fencerow to Fencerow used a loin roast (remember the loin is where pork chops come from) to make her Pork Pozole Soup that just may be in my freezer at the moment thanks to our Indiana Family of Farmer's Freezer Cooking Party.

This post is sponsored by The Glass Barn, but all thoughts, opinions, and recipe recommendations are my own.  


Monday, February 13, 2017

Garlic Pork Stir-Fry

Garlic Pork Stir-Fry is an easy recipe that is an ideal freezer meal that requires no cooking prior to freezing and only a few steps after thawing to create the perfect meal full of flavor.

This recipe was sponsored by Indiana's Family of Farmers.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Are you a fan of freezer cooking?  I must admit I've never done freezer cooking on my own, but anytime a group of my friends suggests we should get together to do one... I'm game.  I love doing them as a group because usually that means you pick one recipe and make it multiple times to share one batch with each person in attendance.  This also means that you get to go home with many different recipes to try.  If you are ready to try some freezer cooking on your own or with some of your friends, be sure to check out these amazing tips for freezer cooking.

Last week, I was lucky enough to participate in the Indiana's Family of Farmers Freezing Cooking Party with 7 of my friends.  So I made 8 batches of Garlic Pork Stir-Fry in the course of a couple of hours and came home with 8 meals for my freezer including one batch of my own Garlic Pork Stir-Fry.  I'm so excited to have all of these meals waiting for us to eat in our freezer.  With a little bit of thawing and a little prep work, dinner will be on the table in no time which is exactly what we need at this pigpen.

In theory winter is supposed to give us a little bit of a break around the farm, but it seems like there is always something to be done from the daily chores of feeding and taking care of the pigs, to working on equipment or making repairs , to catching up on computer and paperwork. Now, we love the farm and ultimately wouldn't have it any other way, but with the farm and the busy lives our kids lead with two currently playing basketball amongst other activities, having a yummy meal on the dinner table that everyone will like with limited prep work is the way to my heart and ultimately our stomachs.

So whether making it as a freezer meal or from fresh ingredients, Garlic Pork Stir -Fry is the perfect meal for this pig farming family as we love finding new and unique ways to incorporate pork into our meals.

Garlic Pork Stir Fry

Ingredients for 2 batches

  • 3 to 4 pounds pork loin
  • 3/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup white wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 4 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 onions, cut into 2 inch pieces
  • 1 green bell pepper, cut into 2 inch pieces
  • 1 red, yellow, or orange bell pepper, cut into 2 inch pieces

Cooking Directions

  1. Rinse and time loin as desired.
  2. Cut pork into 1-inch cubes and divide evenly between two 1-quart freezer bags and seal.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together soy sauce, vinegar, and sugar.
  4. Divide the sauce evenly between two 1-quart freezer bags.
  5. Measure 2 teaspoons of garlic and 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper into each of the two bags and seal the bags.
  6. Once the onions and bell peppers are chopped, divide them evenly into two 1-quart freezer bags and seal the bags.
  7. Place on bag of pork, one bag of sauce, and one bag of peppers and onions into a gallon-size freezer bag and seal. Repeat with the remaining 3 bags.
  8. To prepare the meal fresh or after freezing, completely thaw one entree (one gallon-size freezer bag) in the fridge.
  9. Pour off and discard any liquid from the bag of pork.
  10. Add 1/2 cup cornstarch to the bag, seal, and shake to coat the pork.
  11. In a large skillet, heat 2 teaspoons vegetable oil over medium-high heat.
  12. Add pork and stir-fry until cooked, about 10-12 minutes.
  13. Add vegetables and sauce.
  14. Stir-fry until vegetables are tender and crisp about 5 minutes.
  15. Serve with rice, if desired.

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