Ever wonder about the difference between a pork steak vs pork chop? I was when I first started grilling pork and I even grew up helping my grandfather raise hogs and didn’t know the difference.
Want to know the difference? Well, read on!
The Difference Between Pork Steak And Pork Chop
Fundamentally, there are three factors that distinguish these two different cuts of pork.
1. Sorts And Features
In terms of pork steak types vs pork chop, pork chop has more varieties than pork steak does.
Pork Steaks belong to the pig’s shoulder, chopped from the primal meat and it is quite marbled (laced with fat). Many butchers will know it as a Boston butt or Boston shoulder. It is a bit leaner than pork chop, and is often, boneless.
A main feature of pork steak is that the amount of fat is much higher; therefore, you need more time to cook it properly. And if you look closely at the pork steak, which has more bones than meat, you will find out it will likely look like the meat having the shape of letter T.
Pork Chops are mainly from the four main parts of a pig–ribs chops, loin chops, blade chops, and boneless chops. See the graphic below to see where exactly each cut comes from on the pig.
The pork chop is cut from the loin, which is taken upright to the pig’s spine. In other words, its cut starts from the shoulder to the hip of the pig. Besides, pork chop usually has a little tenderloin and is low in fat except around the edges.
The first type of this pork is the rib chop. This kind of pork is popular and is cut from the pig’s shoulder to the loin’s center. For illustration, you can see the figure of many raw pork rib chops at the picture below.
The rib chops’ characteristics contain more fats and connective tissues than the other chops extracted from the pig’s shoulder. What’s more, they possess a mild pork scent along with a delicate surface.
Another important cut is loin chops. They are also cut from the side and hip toward the spine of the pig. Nevertheless, these chops might possess some tenderloin on a specific part of the meat. Moreover, the loin chops usually have many t-shaped bones, a nice mild flavor, and are highly lean cuts.
The third sort of pork chop is called the blade chops. If you wonder from where they are extracted, the answer is from the pig’s shoulder. In fact, you could easily identify them because of their darker color. Plus, they have a significantly more fatty spots with connective tissues, and few blade bones.
The last type of pork chop we can not ignore is the boneless chop. It is usually cut towards the side meat and above the side chops.
2. Cooking Process
I am sure you are asking, do pork steaks and pork chops cook the same? Absolutely positively not!
Because pork steak have a higher amount of collagen, it is best cooked at a slower speed than pork chops. The best solution for you is to stew this pork or use barbecue sauce to simmer it to cook a good tender meal.
When cooking a pork chop, in fact, there are several ways for you to select. Above all, we suggest you roast, sear, broil, or our favorite, just simple season and grill them.
As we mentioned before, there is usually a layer of fat on the edge of a chop. You can trim it if you want, but many think it adds some flavor and helps prevent drying.
However, if the fat layer is over ¼ inch, I like to trim it to ¼ inch thick. Also, it should be scored every inch to prevent cupping or curling of the pork during cooking.
Now, we traditionally brine the pork. Brine is used to add moisture to meat. While brining is optional, it is recommended, especially if the chops have been frozen before as this helps moisturize and add some taste.
A basic pork brine is 2 cups of water with 1 tablespoon of salt. The salt is standard table salt. If using a different salt like himalayan salt, you should adjust accordingly otherwise, it may be to salty for your taste.
Brine for 1 to 2 hours in the refrigerator. Rinse the brine off under luke-warm running water and pat dry with paper towels before adding your favorite seasoning. My wife, like to add garlic and some other spices of which she won’t tell me.
Now, preheat the grill to about 450F and grill to an internal temp of around 145F.
Keep in mind that pork needs to have an internal temperature of 145F or more before it is considered safe to eat. As well, I like to let it rest for 3-5 minutes before eating. This allows the flavors to fully develop.
The last factor in the difference between pork steak vs pork chop is one that everyone seems to pay attention to–price. Particularly, pork steak is often sold at a lower cost since it’s frequently available on the market. In contrast, pork chop is a bit more rare; thus, it comes with a higher price.
What Should You Choose Pork Steak vs Pork Chop?
After reading the content about the difference between the pork steak vs pork chop, you may still be perplexed by this purchase, right? Which is better Pork Chops or Pork Steak? Do not worry about that because we will have some additional advice about which pork to buy.
For example, if you are into grilling, especially grilling slices of meat with a large amount of fat, pork steak will be your best option because it contains much more fat than other meats. It does mean that some sorts of pork chops, such as loin chops, have a smaller amount of fat than pork steaks.
Additionally, it is essential that you think of the pork’s price tag which you are going to buy–pork steak usually goes at a cheaper cost. Hence, if you are on a tight budget, you may want to opt for this kind of meat.
Finally, please take note that a good pork chop may not be readily available for you to purchase, which results in its higher cost.
In general, it is common knowledge that both types of pork are extracted from different sections of the pig and because of their differences, the amount of time you have to properly cook them can make a difference in your choice of cut.
Final Thoughts on Pork Steak vs Pork Chop
Hopefully, this article about the difference between pork steak vs pork chop has helped you better understand. If the answer is yes, we believe you should reward yourself with a tasty cut of meat as your reward!
Above all, the final decision on a pork steak vs pork chop is absolutely up to you! However, the pork’s quality and price are always two crucial factors you should consider first.