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Chop Talk: What to Look for in a Pork Chop

Fine Cooking Issue 64
Photo: Scott Phillips
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While shopping for center-cut pork chops, we learned that not all center-cut chops are clearly labeled as such. Fortunately, most chops sold in supermarkets are center-cut, and it’s usually easy to pick them out because they look distinctive. Two types of center-cut chops are readily available in groceries: The rib chop—with the bone arching along the outer edge of the chop—and the loin chop, which has an interior T-shaped bone (see the photo). Both types will make great sautéed chops, but if you can, buy the rib chops: They tend to be more marbled with fat, which adds flavor and makes the chop less likely to dry out during cooking, says Chris Schlesinger, who wrote Simple Steps to Juicy Pork Chops. That said, your first priority should be finding chops of the right thickness. As we found in our tests, the best insurance for juicy chops (rib or loin) is buying chops that are good and thick—about 1-1/4 inches was our favorite thickness.

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