I’ll tell you what – I’ve spent many an afternoon standing over a sizzling pork chop over my charcoal bbq pit or watching my favorite pork steaks simmering on the stove.
And while I am no expert, I have, over the years of making pork chops and pork steaks, come to understand the key differences that make these cuts what they are.
#1 Pork Steaks vs. Pork Chops: what are they?
Now, pork steaks and pork chops look somewhat similar, but when it comes to cooking them, we are going to want to take different approaches.
Let us start with the pork steak.
What is a pork steak?
The pork steak is a tender and juicy cut coming straight from the shoulder or blade of the hog. This cut of pork generally comes with a bone and more fat than a pork chop.
You’ll find pork steaks hiding under the names of blade chops, blade steaks, pork shoulder steaks, and enough other names that we just don’t have the time or space to add.
What is a pork chop?
And now for the pork chop. One of the most popular cuts of pork, this lean piece of meat, is cut from the loin, with or without the bone. And with the exception of a small strip of fat running along one side, the pork chop is all protein.
Now, when it comes to cooking these two, well, that’s when things get interesting.
#2 Cooking Methods
Pork steaks are the most similar to their beefy counterparts and can be cooked much like a beef steak. Whether that be on the grill, cast iron skillet, or oven, you’re good to go.
The one key difference you should not shy away from is seasoning, marinating, or basting. The flavor is key, my friends.
As for our dear pork chops – they are best enjoyed grilled or pan-fried. But beware of overcooking, for the lean texture of the chop leaves it vulnerable to becoming dry, and well, we don’t want that.
Trust in the power of your spices and a thermometer because a pork chop’s internal temperature should not exceed 145°F for the best results.
#3 Fat content
Oh, the eternal debate of pork steaks vs pork chops! But let me tell you, my fellow pork connoisseurs, it all boils down to the fat content.
Get ready for a delicious, mouthwatering showdown as I break it all down for you.
Pork Steaks (more fat)
Now, I don’t know about you, but when I think of a pork steak, my mouth starts to water. Maybe because I grew up eating St Louis pork steaks, or perhaps because pork steaks are delightfully juicier as a result of their higher fat content.
All I am saying is the marbling in the pork steaks adds so much more flavor, and they always turn out so tender!
Pork Chops (less fat)
But let’s not forget about our lean, mean pork chops! Pork chops are still a great cut of meat. (arguably the preferred cut) They are an especially satisfying option for those who prefer a healthier cut with less fat.
With that said pork chops require a little more tender, loving care when cooking, as they lack the fat-induced tenderness of their juicy counterpart. But they can still be deliciously tender when cooked properly.
So whether you’re a fan of the juicy, marbly pork steak or you prefer the lean and pristine, tender pork chop, it all comes down to the fat content. Go with your personal preference.
#4 Pork steak and chops flavor and tenderness
Let us begin with the deep flavors of pork steaks! These mouthwateringly juicy cuts emerge from the shoulder or blade of the hog, and their deep marbling gives the pork steaks a rich, robust flavor.
Cook the pork steaks low and slow, especially if you are baking them in the oven is the key to their tenderness.
The only downside is it might take a little longer to cook, especially if it’s a thicker cut, but trust me; it’s worth the wait!
Coming from the loin section of a hog, pork chops have a leaner and less fatty composition. Personally, in my opinion, this results in a more mild flavor than a pork steak.
As for texture, thats when a perfectly cooked pork chop can be more tender than its flavorful cousin, the pork steak. It all comes down to preparation and cooking techniques.
A good quick sear to lock in the juices is essential to the success of the pork chops. Then allow it to cook to the required internal temperature, followed by a short rest.
Allow me to wrap up this section by saying two things:
1. Pork steaks benefit from lower heat cooking to give any connective tissues time to break down.
2. Pork chops can be cooked quickly over high heat but will dry out quickly if left on too long.
#5 Price and Popularity
Pork Steaks: If you’re on a budget but still crave a delicious porky treat, pork steaks might just be your wallet’s best friend.
These tend to be more cost-effective compared to the pork chop since the chops come from the prized loin area.
Pork Chops: Now pork chops, on the other hand, are by far the more popular of the two. Coming in with a slightly higher price tag, this tender cut is widely available in grocery stores everywhere.
#6 Sauces and seasonings
It wouldn’t be fair to compare pork steaks and pork chops without mentioning seasonings.
So let us start with the pork steaks.
Seasoning pork steaks
I am unsure if I have ever had a pork steak without barbeque sauce?!
So because pork steaks are the ideal candidates for braising and slow cooking, they go great with a mouthwatering barbecue sauce or a tangy marinade.
Let your pork steaks soak up all that saucy goodness, and your taste buds will thank you for the flavor fiesta!
Seasoning pork chops
Seasoning pork chops can go so many ways! And while they take well to sauces, I prefer sprinkling them with spices and herbs. Let your creativity run wild and season your pork chops your own way.
One of my favorite pork chop seasonings is a zesty lemon pepper and rosemary dry rub that will elevate your pork chops to new heights.
My biggest takeaway, if you are just dipping you are toes in the world of pork, would be to start with pork steaks.
They are forgiving in nature, making them a friendly beginner’s cut that you can experiment with different cooking methods and still end up with a juicy and flavorful cut of meat.
In the end, whether you choose pork steaks or pork chops, know that you’re in for a delightful experience that you can cultivate for the rest of your life.
So go forth, embrace the porky goodness, and let the pork steak and pork chop adventure begin!
Oh, you may need some recipes containing pork steaks and pork chops. So here you go!
- Stovetop pork steaks
- Stew peas with pork chops