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Jun 24, 2012 06:00 PM

Pork Loin - butchery question

In Denver right now it's off-the-charts hot. We are in the middle of what will probably be 7 days in the row over 95 degrees. My 10 year old son today said " I'll bet in Africa right now they're saying "geeeze... it's hot as Colorado out here today.. " Apologies to anyone in Arizona, Mojave desert, Fresno, etc.. as I'm sure it's substantially worse there.

Anyway.. all cooking from today forward must occur outdoors. I'm putting the stove and oven in a garage sale.

Tomorrow night I'm going to make teriyaki-styled grilled pork loin (I have a 3lb roast that was on sale). I'd like to increase the marinade-to-surface ratio so I thought I'd cut it into chops before marinating. So a few questions..

1. Is there any certain technique to cutting the chops other than perpendicular across the loin? I will trim any obvious chunks of fat but wondering if there's any other technique to this.
2. I want to use pineapple juice in the sauce and in the marinade but I know pineapple can turn meat to mush .. anyone have a method that gives me the sweet pineapple flavor without making the pork feel pre-digested?

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  1. Chops are usually just cut across the loin, though maybe someone else will have a suggestion on how to do it differently - but please don't trim the fat! There's not enough of it on the loin anyway ;-)
    I wouldn't marinate in the pineapple, but I think it could be great in a basting sauce. I've done chicken before where the sauce I used when grilling was pretty much the marinade, but with pineapple added (not teriyaki, but the idea applies). It worked well.

    1. Unless the pineapple juice is the predominant ingredient in the marinade, the meat won't turn mushy in a few hours of marinating. Remember that teriyaki sauce contains pineapple, and you can marinate in that for days. Slice your chops across the loin, not more than 3/4 inch thick if you want the marinade to permeate well. When I buy a whole pork loin I cube the ends for stew, so that the remaining part is of even size, then slice some into small roasts and the rest into chops, wrap, and freeze.

      1 Reply
      1. re: greygarious

        Interesting you say that about the ends.. My chops were all very uniform and nice looking.. until I got to the end and had to try to make two chops out of a cheese-wedge shaped remainder! Good call on taking one more chop and then just cubing up the remaining hunk.

      2. I wouldn't marinate. Brine the chops with soy sauce and pineapple juice and maybe some garlic and ginger for 60 - 90 minutes then grill. You could even boil the brine down and add the rest of your ingredients to make your teriyaki sauce.

        Oh and grey, I use the little pieces for stirfry.

        4 Replies
        1. re: Hank Hanover

          I'm with Hank. I wouldn't marinate them either. (although, what you described as a brine is a marinade)

          If it were me and I were really wanting the pineapple and soy sauce flavors (which sound really good by the way), I'd make a sauce from them to serve along side the seared pork chops.

          Here's how I like to cook chops from a tenderloin: Slice the tenderloin at an inch thick, season with kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper, and sear in a lightly oiled pan over medium-high heat. After the first side is seared and golden brown, I'll flip it and cook the second side to an internal temperature of 135 - 140 degrees F.

          The texture is wonderful: crispy on the outside, super tender on the inside. And, if done just right, you could almost swear you taste hints of a very nicely seared rib eye in there somewhere (due to the browning and the resulting flavor compounds found in both applications).

          After removing the chops to a plate to rest for a few minutes, I like to make a simple gravy from the fat and fond left behind in the pan made from flour and either chicken stock or milk as well as plenty of fresh ground black pepper.

          I love this method. It showcases the pork so wonderfully. I know it's simple, but I really like it. But, then again, I'll eat just about anything with gravy on it. Well, actually, um, yeah, I'll eat gravy all by itself.

          1. re: 1POINT21GW

            A brine is salt and sugar and sometimes other flavors. My source of salt is soy sauce. My source of sugar is pineapple juice. The soy sauce and the pineapple juice provide extra flavors that go with the brine. So how is it not a brine?

            Most marinades have oil at their base. My brine has none.

            1. re: Hank Hanover

              What makes a liquid brine is water and salt. There can be sugar or no sugar and it still be a brine.

              What makes a marinade different is the addition of acid.

              Pineapple juice is an acid.

              1. re: 1POINT21GW

                Ahh... Ok, I can see where you would think so. I think I prefer to think of it as a brine with marinade characteristics. The acid in the pineapple juice would not prevent the osmotic action of the brine and the pineapples acid and it's enzymes certainly help tenderize.

                The combination of the soy sauce and the pineapple juices brining effect plus it's tenderizing effect plus it's flavoring effect makes the combo great.

                There won't be a lot of marinating action in 60 - 90 minutes but there would be some.

        2. First let me say I generally do not marinate beef or pork......and second, I do not like to brine my pork, as I feel it gives it a cold cut ham like texture and taste. With that said, this past Memorial Day Holiday, I had some Pineapple juice (canned) marinated Pork Chops and they were excellent. Slightly sweet and very tender.