A pork chop is a chop of pork (a meat chop) cut perpendicularly to the spine of the pig and usually containing a rib or part of a vertebra, served as an individual portion.
The center cut or pork loin chop includes a large T shaped bone, and is structurally similar to the beef T-bone steak. Rib chops come from the rib portion of the loin, and are similar to rib eye steaks. Blade or shoulder chops come from the spine, and tend to contain much connective tissue. The sirloin chop is taken from the (rear) leg end and also contains much connective tissue. The so-called “Iowa Chop” is a thick center cut; the term was coined in 1976 by the Iowa Pork Producers Association.
A “Bacon Chop” is cut from the shoulder end and leaves the pork belly meat attached. Pork chops are sometimes soldmarinated to add flavour; marinades such as a chilli sauce or a barbecue sauce are common. As pork is often cooked more thoroughly than beef, thus running the risk of drying out the meat, pork chops can be brined to maintain moistness. In addition one could also wrap their pork chops in bacon to add further moistness during the cooking process.
Pork chops are suitable for roasting, grilling, or frying, but there are also stuffed pork chop recipes. They can be used boneless or bone-in. There is a belief that bone-in chops taste better because bones make the meat juicier by retaining the moisture inside. Pork chops are usually cut between 1/2 inch and 2 inches thick. Improved breeding techniques for hogs have made it possible to cook pork to a lower temperature, about 145 °F, helping the meat to remain juicy, while still being safe to eat.