In Bryan's Words
Pork chops can be a funny thing. However, if they cook up dry and tough, all humor tends to leave the room. To avoid this deadly silence at the dinner table, it used to be a safer bet to buy pork chops cut from the rib end. OK, time once again for Bryan’s physiology lesson! Imagine you are a pig (come on, just play along); starting at your hip and running up to about the shoulder blade is the Pork Loin. At the top is the rib end and at the bottom is the loin end. The rib end, just like the Prime Rib of beef, will have more internal fat as it nears the shoulder and much less as it nears the hip. So with marginal pork, you have a better chance of keeping the chop moist if you opt for the end that has more fat to begin with because this delivers a form of self-basting if you will.
Because the loin end was leaner, it tended to dry out and was therefore less in demand from the consumer. So the packers, bless their hearts, instead of improving the quality of their product, decided to change the way they cut it, and thus was the birth of the pork tenderloin. They would take the loin end of the loin, remove the tenderloin (filet) in one piece, then remove the bones from the remaining loin and market a boneless pork loin as a new and improved cut of pork. New, yes; improved, no.
But all that’s changed now that we’re back to good pork to begin with. So we have reintroduced the pork porterhouse cut from quality breeds that have proper marbling and color* to assure a raucous dinner table. Instead of the courteous silence from your guests, you won’t be able to shut them up and probably will never invite them over again; but that’s not my problem.
*This is a whole new category. The color of pork will tell you a lot about its inherent quality. You don’t want dark red pork; this is indicative of too much yellow and blue in the feed (actually, I just made that up). Essentially it’s a combination of both the breed of pork and the diet; and is usually an indication of trouble. Good pork should be somewhere in the beige / tan spectrum. Although like all my rules, there tends to be exceptions: this no reddish pork rule does not count when dealing with the pork rib cap, as more often than not the cap will have a much darker hue than the interior of the loin from which it is cut.
Grill: 12-14 minutes total; 7min on first side, 5 on second side
Stovetop: 12-14 minutes total; 7min on first side, 5 on second side, on high heat
Sear/oven: sear 2 minutes on each side, then finish in a 350 degree oven for 12-15 minutes
Oven: preheat oven to 400 degrees, cook 18-20 minutes