What Part of the Pig is Pork Chops? 

Grilled Pork Chops With Peppers

There’s nothing like a freshly grilled pork chop. The smoky flavor and tender pork are seriously addicting. However, before you fire up your natural gas grill, do you know what part of the pig pork chops come from?

What Part of the Pig is Pork Chops?

Generally speaking, pork chops come from the loin. The loin stretches from the hip to the shoulder. The loin also contains the most tender part of the pig: the tenderloin, a small strip of meat.

Nevertheless, things can get a little complicated when it comes to pork chops since there are many different types of pork chops. There are 5 primary types of pork chops: rib chops, sirloin chops, shoulder or blade chops, center-cut loin chops, and boneless loin chops.

Rib Pork Chop

As the name implies, rib pork chops are cut from the rib portion of the loin. It stretches from the shoulder to the center of the loin. Interestingly enough, this is also the same region baby back ribs come from. The rib bones of the rib chops are baby back ribs. So, after the rib chops are carved away, what is left behind are baby back ribs.

Rib pork chops feature lean meat. It has a bone on one side and may include a strip of fat on the outside of the meat.

Rib chops carved from the blade end contain more fat and connective tissue, so they are not as lean as those from the shoulder end. Rib chops can also be called pork chop end cut, rib end cut, center-cut rib chop, pork rib cut chop and rib pork chop.

Sirloin Pork Chop

Sirloin pork chops are carved from the section just below the loin. Sirloin chops are in a lane of their own because they are difficult to grill or sear and keep tender.

For this reason, sirloin pork chops must be marinated for at least 4 hours or overnight before you grill them on your portable pellet grill. Sirloin pork chops are also perfect for low and slow cooking methods such as braising. The long cooking time gives the sirloin pork chops ample time to break down.

Pork Shoulder Chop

Pork shoulder chops come from the shoulder. These pork chops have a rich dark red color and contain a portion of the blade bone and a substantial amount of fat and connective tissue. Shoulder pork chops can be called pork steaks, pork loin blade chops, blade chops, pork shoulder blade steaks, blade end steaks, and blade-end pork loin chops.

Center-Cut Pork Loin Chops

Center-cut pork loin chops come from the hip and loin portion of the animal. Loin chops that come from the center of the loin feature a T-bone.

On one side of the T-bone is the loin meat and on the other side is the tenderloin meat. These pork chops can cost a little more since they contain a portion of the tenderloin. Top loin pork chops do not contain any tenderloin. 

Center-cut loin chops may also be labeled center loin chops, top loin chops, center-cut loin chops, loin pork chops, and pork loin end chops.

Boneless Pork Chops

Boneless pork loin chops are carved from the top of the loin. Therefore, boneless pork chops are top loin chops or rib chops that are carved away from the bone. 

Boneless pork chops are very lean and virtually free of connective tissue and fat. Boneless pork chops can also be labeled America’s cut or pork loin filets.

The most common pork chops found in grocery stores are loin or rib chops. However, you should read each package carefully to ensure you are getting the right pork chop for your recipe.

How Many Pork Chops in a Pig?

Since we are talking about where pork chops come from on the animal, it is only natural to wonder how many pork chops each pig has. It depends on how whether the pork chops are bone-in or boneless and their thickness. On average, each pig can contain 30-60 pork chops. 

Which Pork Chop Cut is Best?

Rib pork chops are definitely the best. They are tender yet meaty and super easy to cook. Center cut pork chops and boneless pork chops are also really delicious as they are tender and juicy.

Final Thoughts

Pork chops are extremely delicious. Not only are they tender and juicy, but they are loaded with so much flavor. Now that you know where pork chops come from, you can select pork chops that are best suited to your recipe.

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