Sunday, March 18, 2012

Battle Pork Chops

Background to this dish: We'd been having a lot of vegetarian meals the past week so thought it was time to bring back the meat! We both craved pork and as we hadn't had any chops recently, there was the plan. Since we're spoiled now on heritage pork we went to Berkeley Bowl to see if they had any Becker Lane chops and they did! (Having eaten heritage pork for the past couple of years I now swear by it and will avoid almost any other type of pork in the stores.) While we were waiting to be served, I noticed that there were both loin and rib chops, the loin being slightly more expensive. When our turn came up, I asked the counter guy what the difference was in the flavor. He said there really wasn't any, the price difference was due to the fact that a pig will yield less loin chops than rib chops but that some people prefer the tenderness of the loin portion of the chop. I thought this called for a personal taste test. So last night was Battle Pork Chops - rib vs loin.

L. rib chop - R. loin chop
The left hand round side of the loin chop is the loin. 

 Positions switched here in the pan: L. loin chop R. rib chop
 Cooked rib chop
 Cooked loin chop
The scene of the Battle (w/ some roasted potatoes).

2 full-sized pork chops from a heritage breed
kosher salt
fresh-cracked black pepper
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Prepare the chops with plenty of pepper and salt on each side. If you are using thick chops like I did here, preheat an oven to 375 with rack in the middle.
Heat a large ovenproof skillet over medium-high to high heat and add the oil. Once the oil begins to smoke add the chops to sear on one side for about 4-5 minutes without moving them at all. Turn the chops over and again leave them alone for another 4-5 minutes. If, like in my case here, the internal meat is not cooked enough at this point, move the skillet into the heated oven for another 4-5 minutes. When done, remove the chops from a pan to a plate, cover with foil and allow to rest for 10 minutes before cutting, slicing or serving.

The Judging:
We split the loin portion of the loin chop and, like with a filet mignon cut of beef, it was more tender but noticeably more well done than the remainder part of that chop, not as moist and not quite as tasty. The remainder of the loin chop, as well as the rib chop, was much more moist, still had some pink color and was considerably tastier.

The Verdict and Winner: Rib chop. Cheaper, though not considerably, and much easier to cook.

Hey, while you're checking out this post, please feel free to drop a comment below! It would be great to know what you think about this dish, if you've tried cooking it yourself, or are planning to. A little feedback goes a long way!

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