Pork Chops or Steak – Which Goes Better on the Grill?
If you’re torn between grilling pork chops or steak, there are things to consider. The first, of course, one is pork and the other is beef. Aside from that obvious thing that sets them apart, there are a few similarities. Here is what you need to know to make the right choice for your next barbeque as well as the best way to grill each of these delicious meats.
What’s the Difference Between Pork Chops and Steak?
Interestingly, steaks and pork chops have a lot more in common than people think. First, they both come from the same parts of the steer and pig. Pork chops come from the long area down the center of the pig’s back, called the loin. Steak comes from the same area of the steer. But, instead of calling it the loin, those beef cuts are divided into four different prime cuts: sirloin, short loin, rib, and chuck.
The second way that pork chops and steak are the same is that both are delicious. Cooked with the right technique on the grill, you are sure to have a meal that you’ll enjoy and one that will impress your family and guests.
Choosing The Right Cut – Focus On Center Cuts
If you are going to grill pork chops, you’ll generally find center cuts to be the ones most available at your local grocer’s. They have a T-shaped bone and look like a traditional pork chop. All of the meat along a pig’s loin is also classified as pork chops, but it has different shaped bones so those cuts will have a different appearance.
A ribeye steak and a center-cut pork chop are taken from the center of the loin. These two cuts of meat are high-quality and will give you some of the best results when grilling. Some other options to consider are the center-cut loin pork chop and the T-bone steak, which is actually made up of the filet mignon and the New York Strip steak.
The Best Ways to Grill Pork Chops and Steak
If you’re trying to choose between pork chops and steak for the grill, you can’t go wrong with either. With the right preparation and grilling technique, you’ll create a delicious meal that you’ll want to put on your regular schedule.
Grilling Pork Chops
There are many ways you can grill pork chops. Because pork chops are a fairly lean meat, they can dry out on the grill if you don’t prepare them correctly. A good rule of thumb is to brine them before grilling because this adds extra moisture and seasoning to the meat.
Brining isn’t a complicated process. Wisk some cold water with a dash of salt and a bit of sugar. If you like, you can also add peppercorns, citrus peel, and/or bay leaves for flavor. Allow your chops to sit in the brine anywhere from 30 minutes to two hours.
Once they’ve been brined, pat them dry with paper towels and add additional seasoning of your choice. This can include black pepper or your favorite spice rub. Just avoid too much additional salt.
When grilling, pork chops should be seared over high heat for a few minutes per side, then reduced to medium heat to finish cooking to your liking. This should take anywhere from four to seven minutes depending on the thickness of your cut. You are looking for an internal temperature of 145°F.
When you grill your steak, you won’t have to brine it like you do pork chops. You can certainly marinade it if you wish. But this isn’t necessary to unlock the meat’s natural flavors.
To get a perfectly grilled steak every time, remove it from the refrigerator about 30 minutes before grilling and heat your grill to high. Season your steak liberally with salt and pepper after brushing both sides of the meat with oil.
Steak should be cooked with direct heat, meaning you’re cooking directly over the flame, whether using charcoal or gas. This is what gives the steak its amazing flavor.
Place your steak on the grill and cook for 4 to 5 minutes until it is slightly charred and golden brown. Turn it over and cook until it reaches the right temperature: 130-135 degrees F for medium-rare, 135-140 degrees for medium, and 145-155 degrees for medium-well. Remove your steak from the grill and wait at least 10 minutes before slicing into it so the meat has time to seal in the juices.
Get Help from Our Butchers at Nick’s of Clinton
Whether you choose pork chops or steak, you can’t go wrong with the right cut of meat. If you’d like help selecting the perfect cut, feel free to approach our butchers directly. We are always happy to assist customers in finding the perfect choice for their next family meal, barbeque, or event. Visit our store or call us at (301) 843-4825.