A wonderfully versatile meat, pork can be used in a variety of recipes. Unusually, you can use all parts of the pig to create tasty dishes. Two of the most popular cuts of pork are of course pork chops and pork loin.
However, if you don’t know a lot about the different cuts of meat, it can be confusing trying to tell the difference between them.
So what is the difference between pork chops and pork loin?
The most notable difference between pork chops and pork loin is of course their thickness. Both pork chops and pork loin come from the same part of the animal, however, one can’t make an equal substitution for the other.
Today, we’re going to cover the topic of pork chops and pork loin in detail. We’re going to discuss the differences between these two cuts of meat in detail, as well as discuss which is the best method to use for cooking them.
Pork Loin: What Is It?
Pork loin is the cut of meat from along the back part of a pig’s rib cage. For the most part, this is a lean cut of meat with very little fat running through it. Pork tenderloin tends to be much wider than pork chops, and this will have a fat cap layer on top of it.
You will notice that pork loin is lighter in color than your pork chops, and it has a much milder flavor in comparison. Pork loins tend to be a much larger slice of meat, so will weigh a lot more than pork chops.
A cut of pork loin usually weighs around 1kg to 2kg, depending on the size of the cut of meat. Pork loin is often also called a pork tenderloin roast.
How Do You Cook Pork Loin?
It is super easy to cook your joint of pork tenderloin. Here is a simple recipe to get you started with your pork loin.
- In a small bowl, combine your meat rub. Mix garlic powder, salt, cracked black pepper, thyme, paprika, as well as rosemary using a teaspoon. Once the meat rub has combined, you can use this to rub all over your pork loin joint.
- Next, you will need to start heating up some olive oil or vegetable oil in a cast iron skillet to sear the outside of your meat. Place your tenderloin into the hot oil, making sure to sear it for around 5 minutes on each side.
- Remove your seared pork loin from your skillet, then place it on a prepared baking sheet lined with aluminum foil. Preheat your oven to around 374℉.
- If you want to give your pork loin even more flavor, you can make an additional glaze. In a small bowl, combine mustard, honey, olive oil, and soy sauce. Next, drizzle this over the top of your pork loin. This glaze will help to make your meat tender as well as lovely and juicy.
- Next, you will need to roast your pork loin in your preheated oven for around 25 minutes. Remove your pork loin from the oven, and allow the meat to rest for around 10 minutes.
- Finally, you can carve your pork tenderloin up ready for serving. The meat should be beautifully juicy. Serve alongside a selection of fresh veggies.
Other Culinary Uses
Of course, the above recipe is simply one way of cooking your pork loin joint. This is a wonderfully versatile meat that can be cooked in a variety of ways. Here are some other serving suggestions for how to cook your pork loin joint.
- You can serve a classic roast tenderloin joint for a Sunday meal. Roast the meat so that the fat cap turns into crunchy crackling, and serve alongside apple and cider gravy with a generous dollop of apple sauce.
- To get the best flavor out of your boneless and skinless pork tenderloin joint, you should marinate your meat in a tasty marinade. An excellent marinade to use with pork is a honey and garlic butter sauce. Mix a quarter cup of melted butter, a quarter cup of honey, 4 minced garlic cloves, 2 tablespoons of lemon juice, a pinch of salt, and a tablespoon of freshly chopped parsley. Place this in a deep dish, and allow the meat to marinate for several hours before cooking it.
- Some of the best veggies to serve alongside your pork loin joint are shallots, celeriac, swede, and honey roasted carrots.
Pork Chops: What Are They?
Pork chops are taken from a similar part of the pig to pork loin, but this is a very different cut of meat. Pork chops are taken from around the spine of a pig.
This is the meat cut that typically flows from the shoulder of the animal down to its hip. It is a much smaller cut of meat than pork loin.
On the whole, pork chops tend to have a mild flavor, are leaner than other cuts of pork, and tend to be quite tender once cooked. This is a cut of meat that won’t take long to cook.
There are several different types of pork chops for you to consider. Some of the most popular types are:
- Shoulder chop – this is also known as the blade chop. This pork chop tends to be much darker than the average pork chop, and it has a lot more connective tissue surrounding the bone and meat. If you like to slow cook your pork, this is the cut that you should opt for.
- Ribeye chop – this is also known as the rib cut. This cut of meat tends to be taken from around the center of the animal’s back. There is usually a decent amount of fat included in this cut of meat, and it tends to be leaner than other cuts.
- Loin chop – this is also known as the porterhouse cut. This cut of meat tends to come from around the hip area, and can also sometimes be included in a cut of tenderloin. This tends to be a much cleaner cut of meat than other parts of the pig, so is usually a lot pricier as a result.
- New York chop – this is also known as the center cut. This particular type of pork chop tends to be boneless, and comes from the area above the tenderloin cut. The New York chop is generally around 2cm thick. This particular cut of meat also doesn’t tend to have a lot of connective tissue.
How Do You Cook Pork Chops?
In general pork chops tend to have a much milder flavor than other cuts of meat. This is also one of the more versatile cuts of pork, and you can use a variety of methods to cook it.
Below is just one of the main ways that you can cook your pork chops to get the best flavor out of them.
- To achieve a medium to rare pork chop, you will need to set your oven temperature to around 149℉. However, you will also need to bear in mind that each pork chop will need to be cooked for different amounts of time depending on the size of each pork chop and how thick they are.
- If given the choice between a thin pork chop and a thick pork chop, you should always opt for the thicker cut. This is because you will get more bang for your buck. Make sure not to overcook the pork chop, as it will become chewy and lose a lot of its moisture.
- To get the best flavor from your pork chops, you will need to marinate them before you start cooking. A simple marinade can be made using a quarter cup of soy sauce, a tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce, 4 minced garlic cloves, 2 tablespoons of lemon juice, a pinch of cracked black pepper, and a teaspoon of olive oil. Mix this up then allow the pork chops to marinate for 1 hour.
- Place your pork chops in a deep roasting pan along with the remainder of the marinade. You can cook these in your oven at the above preheated temperature for around 15 to 20 minutes. To cook them on your stovetop, allow for 8 to 10 minutes to ensure the pork chops are thoroughly cooked.
- Once you have finished cooking your pork chops, you will need to allow them to rest. Leave your pork chops to rest for around 10 minutes before serving alongside fresh veggies.
Other Culinary Uses
Pork chops are one of the more versatile cuts of pork that you can opt for. Below are some of the other classic flavors that complement the mild flavor of pork chops.
- Crispy panko crumbs – to give your pork chops that added crunch while keeping the center lovely and moist, consider covering them in crispy panko crumbs. This is both a tasty as well as super easy recipe to make from the comfort of your own kitchen.
- Rosemary – one of the best flavors that melds well with pork chops is of course rosemary. This is a fragrant herb with a very potent flavor that complements the milder taste of the pork.
- Sage – another potent herb to use with pork chops is of course sage. If you brine your pork chops with a sage and brown sugar glaze, this will give your pork chops a succulent flavor that will be irresistible.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can You Cut Pork Loin Into Pork Chops?
Yes, you can cut pork loin into pork chops. You can typically cut these to around 1 inch to 1.5 inches thick so that you get the succulent meat that you are after. Slicing your pork loin into pork chops is a great way to make them boneless.
Is Pork Loin Considered To Be A Good Cut Of Meat?
Yes, pork loin is considered to be a very good and very tasty cut of meat. When cooked right, this cut of pork is tasty and succulent. This is the perfect dish for cooking to please all the family.
Are Pork Chops And Pork Loin The Same?
No, pork chops and pork loin are not the same. Pork loin is a much larger cut of meat. You can cut your tenderloin into individual pork chops, however, it is not the same as a pork chop that typically features a rib bone.
Can You Use Pork Loin For Pork Chops?
If you don’t have any pork chops to hand, you can improvise with your cut of tenderloin. You can slice individual pieces of pork chop to between 1 inch to 1.5 inches thick.
So there you have it! Even though both pork chops and pork loin come from the same area of the pig, these are actually two very different cuts of meat.
Pork tenderloin tends to be much larger, and typically doesn’t have any bones in it. This is a cut of pork that also features a fat cap, which when it’s cooked properly produces beautiful crackling.
Pork chops often feature a rib bone from the pig, and tend to be a lot thinner than tenderloin.