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Dec 4, 2010 05:05 PM

Confusing Pork Cut

So I sent my husband to get pork belly, but the butcher was out, so I told him to get a pork loin roast. He returned home with a package, about 1 pound, labeled "Pork Bone-in Center Cut Roast."
Inside the package are two pieces of pork that basically look like pork chops, but I'm confused by the label and can't say for sure what cut these are and how to prepare them.


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  1. Do the chops look like T-bone steaks? If so, sounds as though you have a bone-in pork loin chop.

    Take a look at the photos here (pork appears after the beef cuts):

    1. At some point the line separating a small roast and a thick chop becomes a meaningless matter of marketing nomenclature. Treat them like either small bone-in loin roasts or big bone-in center cut loin chops and they'll be terrific. I'd probably brown then braise them in a bit of tomato and beer or white wine with fresh herbs and maybe some mushrooms.

      1. He got two half-pound loin rib chops, seems to me. Those are really good if you roast them flat on a rack in a pan - I have a big oval gratin pan I use for things like that. For pork chops, especially our kinda bland pork, I like to mix about two tablespoons each of olive oil and Dijon mustard really well until it's basically thick mustard. Have the chops at room temperature, salted and peppered to taste, then smear on the mustard mix like you're icing a cupcake. Both sides - don't worry about the down side, it'll be okay. Roast at 350º for about half an hour. You can also brown these (pre-seasoned, again) and then cook them slowly covered, maybe with a little stock or beer. Half an hour for that, too. They're really too thick to fry like thin chops.

        Pork is pretty much pork, and how you cook it has more to do with the fat and collagen content than what cut it is. Using a fatty sauce to flavor and baste, as well as to cover it so it won't dry out, is a good dodge for the leaner stuff. I also use a mixture of oil and harissa sauce, with or without a bit of mayonnaise, or sometimes just Trader Joe's wasabi mayo.

        If you want some different ideas, just Google pork rib chops; you'll get a ton of recipes that way.

        5 Replies
        1. re: Will Owen

          WO, you've mentioned this gratin pan before. Could you post a picture please? Those chops sound really good. I'm always afraid of overcooking so tend to grill quickly.

          1. re: c oliver

            co, not WO but I have an oval roasting pan that is also referred to as a gratin pan because it works well under the broiler. Not sure if this is what WO has but here's a pic fyi:


            1. re: Breadcrumbs

              Mine is an old tinned copper one, the largest of a set I got in a yard sale. It's about 17" long by 8" wide. The next smaller one, which I use more for chops, is about 14" x 6". I found oval cake racks to fit inside both of these (including a nonstick for the smaller one!). The pan Breadcrumbs is showing us is newer and fancier and much more expensive, but at least you can just go to a store and buy it as opposed to relying on yard-sale serendipity.

              1. re: Will Owen

                Hi Will, ahh the joy of garage sale shopping! Don't get me started! I used to be a real garage sale junkie and I'm happy to say that some of my absolute favourite pieces of kitchenware are antique and vintage items that I hunted as treasures over the years. From the tiniest of salt spoons to a giant (supposedly Guyanese) pan big enough for Chevy Chase to use as round toboggan, I have some real gems in my collection!

                1. re: Breadcrumbs

                  Aside from a big unlined copper beating-bowl, from the famous omelet restaurant on Mont Saint-Michel, that we paid $50 for at an antique shop, most of my copper was gotten for $10 or less per piece. The set of three gratin pans was $18, and didn't even need tinning for the first five years or so, but then we got two lidded French saucepots, a French skillet and a 19th C. English straight-sided sauté pan, all for under $20 total, and we called up the Tin Man. So I'd say we have less than $100 in copper plus about $500 in tinning and polishing. If I take care of it my heirs will have to find a retinner, I won't …

        2. I agree with WO that it is probably a bone in rib chop. I think that is the best pork cut. Is it oval with a bone running along one side? It doesn't really matter. I would seasoning it however you like and sear it. That creates a crust that locks in the juices and flavor so it is not over cooked. If you have the time I would brine it. Marinate it in water, salt, brown sugar, ginger and bay leaf for several hours. This allows the meat to absorb the flavor and water so the pork is more tender and juicy.

          5 Replies
          1. re: Jussayin

            I've had better luck brining smaller cuts for less time. Like 20-40 minutes.
            Just did one last night, it was great.
            Seared it on the stove in my cast iron and finished it in the oven.
            And now I really want that all-clad gratin pan!

            1. re: rabaja

              I just sear on one side and when I turn it I put it in the oven which sears the other side and ensures I don't over cook. Well, that and my meat thermometer :)

              1. re: c oliver

                I do pretty much the same. Turn it, and pop it in the oven.
                I sear for flavor, not to "lock in the juices", but I wasn't going to get into that can of worms today. ;)

                1. re: rabaja

                  ;) Yeah, jfood et al taught me that with a great big, thick steak and I've used it now for lots of other things, including fish.

            2. re: Jussayin

              Hasn't it been proven that searing actually doesn't lock in the juices?

            3. Thanks everyone for all your responses!