Beth Dreiling / Stying: Buffy Hargett / Food Styling Vanessa McNeil
Throw some chops on the grill for a great weeknight entrée. Choose ones that are at least 1 inch thick to allow time to pick up a smoky flavor without overcooking. Pork should have a slightly pink color when perfectly done.
Three popular cuts for grilling (as well as sautéing, broiling, and braising) are loin chops, boneless loin chops, and rib chops. They're interchangeable in this recipe, so buy what's on sale.
Pork Chop Cuts
- Pork chops are the most popular cut from the pork loin, which runs along the pig's back from hip to shoulder.
- Loin chops are cut from the center loin toward the hip. They have the characteristic T-bone shape and are considered very flavorful due to the presence of fat and bone. The small portion of darker meat is the tenderloin. The top portion of this loin chop, when cut away from the T-bone, is sold as a boneless pork loin chop (center, about $3.89 per pound). It's a good dinner party cut, because guests don't have to deal with a bone.
- The rib chop comes from the center area of the loin and makes a beautiful presentation on the plate. Most grocers put one type on sale each week for a savings of about 70 cents per pound.
Note: Grilling is not an exact cooking method―weather, your cooking habits, and the type of grill can cause grill temperatures to fluctuate and affect cooking times. Here are two important tips to avoid overcooking pork chops.
- Turn the chop when it releases easily from the grill grate as it's grasped with tongs and jiggled slightly.
- Just before you think the chop is done, press on the top gently with tongs; if it gives slightly but feels firm, it's ready.
This article is from the August 2005 issue of Southern Living.