Shoulder Chop

What it tastes like: Shoulder chops have loads of flavor. The meat has to be braised to be tender or tenderized before cooking.
How to cook it: While shoulder chops can be cooked over high heat if tenderized properly first, they have enough fat to withstand being braised in slow, moist heat to break down the connective tissues, and do well in the slow cooker.
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Notes

Where it’s from: The shoulder.
  • What it tastes like: Shoulder chops have loads of flavor. The meat has to be braised to be tender or tenderized before cooking.
  • How to cook it: While shoulder chops can be cooked over high heat if tenderized properly first, they have enough fat to withstand being braised in slow, moist heat to break down the connective tissues, and do well in the slow cooker.
Loin Chop
Where it’s from: The hip and loin toward to the back of the animal. Depending on where they’re cut from, the chops may have some pieces of tenderloin.
  • What it tastes like: Very lean, very mild pork flavor.
  • How to cook it: Because tenderloin and loin cook at different rates, loin chops can be hard to cook properly since both are present. Like rib chops, they should be cooked quickly, so grill, broil, or sear-roast these chops, but be careful not to overcook them. Brining will also help with keeping the meat moist.
Essential Tips for Perfectly Cooked Pork Chops
  • Thicker is better. Nowadays, pork is bred to be quite lean and can be very easy to overcook. Thicker pork chops are more forgiving, so try to purchase double-cut pork chops (which are cut twice as thick as thin ones) or ones that are at least 1 1/2 inches thick.
  • Brine. Brining helps to keep the meat moist and offer a bigger buffer against overcooking. Plus, it injects flavor into this mild-tasting meat!
  • Don’t overcook. For the quick-cooking loin and rib chops, be very careful not to overcook and dry out the meat. The USDA says to cook the chops between 145 and 160°F and let them rest a few minutes before serving.
  • Go for bone-in. The bone helps provide some protection from overcooking and also has some fat around it that keeps the pork juicier and tastier, so we prefer the bone-in chops.
 Boneless Chop
  • Where it’s from: Usually toward the head of the loin above the loin chops, boneless pork chops are basically top loin or rib chops with the bones removed.
  • What it tastes like: The absence of bones to provide protection from overcooking and the lack of fat present usually around these bones means that these chops are less flavorful than their bone-in counterparts.
  • How to cook it: Cook boneless pork chops the same way as rib or loin chops — grilling, broiling, or sear-roasting. It is highly recommended that boneless pork chops are brined.
Essential Tips for Perfectly Cooked Pork Chops
  • Thicker is better. Nowadays, pork is bred to be quite lean and can be very easy to overcook. Thicker pork chops are more forgiving, so try to purchase double-cut pork chops (which are cut twice as thick as thin ones) or ones that are at least 1 1/2 inches thick.
  • Brine. Brining helps to keep the meat moist and offer a bigger buffer against overcooking. Plus, it injects flavor into this mild-tasting meat!
  • Don’t overcook. For the quick-cooking loin and rib chops, be very careful not to overcook and dry out the meat, cook the chops between 145 and 160°F and let them rest a few minutes before serving.
  • Go for bone-in. The bone helps provide some protection from overcooking and also has some fat around it that keeps the pork juicier and tastier, so we prefer the bone-in chops.