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.