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Pork Steak vs Pork Chop: Differences and How to Cook Them

Pork Steak vs Pork Chop. What are the differences and how do you cook them? If you are planning a backyard barbecue or a cozy weeknight dinner, these cuts of meat are both a popular choice.  They are the most popular cuts of pork.

Pork is a versatile and flavorful protein that graces dinner tables around the world in various cuts and forms. Two popular options, pork steak and pork chop, often find themselves at the center of culinary debates and dinner decisions. While they may seem similar at first glance, understanding the nuances between pork steak and pork chop can elevate your cooking game and help you create delicious meals tailored to your preferences.

In this guide, we’ll delve into the key differences between pork steak and pork chop, exploring their flavor profiles, textures, and optimal cooking methods.

From the grill to the stovetop, we’ll show you how to cook pork steak and pork chop to perfection, ensuring every bite is a succulent delight.

Pork Steak vs Pork Chop Differences and How to Cook Them

What is a Pork Steak?

Pork steak, also known as blade steak or pork shoulder steak. It’s a flavorful and budget-friendly cut of meat that is taken from the shoulder of the pig. This cut typically includes a portion of the blade bone and surrounding meat. It is a well-marbled steak with rich flavor and juicy tenderness. Pork steak is often characterized by its generous marbling and moderate fat content. This adds to its succulent texture and robust taste.

Unlike some other cuts of pork, such as pork loin or pork tenderloin, pork steak may contain more connective tissue and fat, which requires proper cooking techniques to achieve optimal results.

When cooked correctly, pork steak becomes tender and moist, making it a favorite choice for grilling, pan-searing, or braising. Its versatility makes it suitable for a wide range of dishes, from hearty barbecue fare to comforting winter stews.

Pork steaks are sometimes referred to as sirloin chops. This naming convention can vary depending on the region or butcher. In some cases, pork steaks may be cut from the sirloin area of the pig, which is located between the loin and the leg. These steaks may be labeled as sirloin chops.

However, it’s important to note that the terminology used for pork cuts can be inconsistent. What is labeled as a “sirloin chop” in one location or by one butcher may be labeled differently elsewhere. To avoid confusion, it’s always a good idea to ask your butcher for clarification if you’re unsure about the specific cut you’re purchasing. Additionally, familiarizing yourself with the different cuts of pork and their characteristics can help you make more informed choices when selecting meat for cooking.

What is a Pork Chop?

A Pork chop is a classic and widely recognized cut of pork that comes from the loin of the pig, specifically from the rib or loin section. It is known for its tender texture, mild flavor, and relatively lean meat. Typically you’ll find bone-in chops, although boneless pork chops options are also available at the grocery store. They vary in thickness depending on the specific cut and desired cooking method.

One distinguishing feature of pork chop is its leaner profile compared to other cuts of pork, such as pork belly or pork shoulder. This lean meat lends itself well to quick-cooking methods such as grilling, pan-searing, or baking, allowing the natural flavors of the meat to shine through without being overshadowed by excessive fat.

Enjoy pork chops can be enjoyed on their own with simple seasoning. Pair with flavorful sauces, herbs, or marinades to enhance their taste and appeal.

The Main Difference Between Pork Steaks and Pork Chops  

Overall, while both cuts of meat offer delicious options for pork lover. Pork steaks tend to be more flavorful and may require longer cooking times for tenderness. While pork chops are known for their tenderness and versatility in cooking.

Let’s explore different cooking methods.

Cooking Methods for Pork Steaks

How to Grill Pork Steak

Grilling is an excellent method for cooking pork steak. It adds a smoky flavor and caramelized exterior.

Preheat your grill to medium-high heat and season the pork steak with your favorite spices or marinade. Grill the steak for 4-6 minutes per side, depending on thickness, until it reaches an internal temperature of 145°F (63°C) for medium doneness.

Pan Fried Pork Steak

Pan-searing is a quick and easy way to cook pork steak on the stovetop.

Heat a skillet over medium-high heat and add a small amount of oil. Season the steak with salt and pepper, then sear it for 3-4 minutes per side until golden brown and cooked through.

Slow Cooking Pork Steak

Braising is ideal for tougher cuts of meat like pork steak, as it involves slow-cooking in liquid to tenderize the meat.

Brown the pork steak in a Dutch oven or large pot, then add broth, wine, or sauce of your choice. Cover and simmer over low heat for 1-2 hours until the meat is fork tender.

Cooking Methods for Pork Chops

Grilling or Pan-Frying Pork Chops

Grill over medium-high heat or pan-sear in a skillet for a delicious and quick meal.

Season the chops with salt, pepper, and your favorite herbs or spices, then cook for 4-5 minutes per side until they reach an internal temperature of 145°F (63°C) for juicy, tender results.

Baking Pork Chops

The oven method is easy. Baking pork chops in the oven is a simple and hands-off method that yields moist and flavorful meat.

Preheat your oven to 375°F (190°C), place seasoned pork chops on a baking sheet, and bake for 20-25 minutes until fully cooked and slightly browned on the outside.

Pork Chops with Sauce

Recipes and Serving Suggestions

There are a variety of ways to cook and serve both cuts of meat. However, having some of these delicious options in your recipe box is a game changer. Any home cook can turn out a great piece of meat with these recipes.

Grilled Pork Steak with Chimichurri Sauce

Serve grilled pork steak with a vibrant chimichurri sauce made from fresh herbs, garlic, olive oil, and vinegar for a burst of flavor.

Grilled Pork Steak with Chimichurri Sauce Recipe

  • 4 pork steak cuts
  • 1 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Asian-Inspired Pork Steak Stir-Fry

Slice grilled pork steak thinly and stir-fry with colorful vegetables like bell peppers, broccoli, and snap peas in a tangy soy-ginger sauce.

Asian-Inspired Pork Steak Stir-Fry:

  • 4 pork steak cuts, thinly sliced
  • 2 cups mixed vegetables (bell peppers, broccoli, snap peas, etc.), sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, minced
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons honey or brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil
  • Cooked rice or noodles for serving

Stuffing Pork Chops

Use a thicker cut of pork chop. It makes a special treat and is great for a Sunday dinner or special occasion. Slice 1-inch pork chops in the middle almost all the way through creating a pocket to add stuffing. Stuff with your favorite fillings like breadcrumbs, cheese, or herbs, then baking or frying them for a crispy, indulgent meal.

Stuffed Pork Chops:


  • 4 pork chops, bone-in or boneless, about 1-inch thick
  • 1 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth or white wine (optional)
  • Toothpicks or kitchen twine (if using boneless chops)

Herb-Crusted Pork Chops

Coat pork chops in a mixture of breadcrumbs, Parmesan cheese, and fresh herbs like thyme, rosemary, and parsley, then bake until golden and crispy.

Herb-Crusted Pork Chops:

  • 4 pork chops
  • 1 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons fresh thyme, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh rosemary, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Apple-Glazed Pork Chops

Simmer pork chops in a sweet and savory apple glaze made from apple cider, brown sugar, and Dijon mustard for a comforting and delicious meal.

Apple-Glazed Pork Chops:

  • 4 pork chops
  • 1 cup apple cider
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Serve pork steak and pork chop alongside your favorite side dishes such as roasted vegetables, mashed potatoes, or a crisp salad for a complete and satisfying meal that will delight your taste buds.

Fried Pork Chop with mashed potatoes and broccoli

Can Pork Chops be a Little Pink?

Yes, pork chops can be slightly pink in the center, especially if they are cooked to the recommended internal temperature of 145°F (63°C) with a three-minute rest time, as advised by the USDA. This temperature ensures that the pork is safe to eat while still maintaining its juiciness and tenderness.

Some people prefer their pork chops to have a slight blush of pink in the center, as it can indicate that the meat is moist and flavorful. However, it’s essential to ensure that the pinkness is uniform and not raw or translucent, which would indicate undercooking and potential food safety concerns.

Always use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature. Insert the thermometer into the thickest part of the chop, away from the bone, to get an accurate reading. Once the pork chops reach 145°F (63°C), they are safe to eat, even if they have a slight pink hue.

Are pork steaks more tender than pork chops?

In general, pork chops tend to be slightly more tender than pork steaks, primarily because they are cut from the loin area of the pig, which is a relatively lean and tender part of the animal.

Pork chops, especially those cut from the center loin or rib area, are known for their tenderness and mild flavor. They typically have less connective tissue and intramuscular fat (marbling) compared to other cuts, which contributes to their tenderness when cooked properly.

On the other hand, pork steaks, also known as blade steaks or pork shoulder steaks, are cut from the shoulder or blade area of the pig. While pork steaks are flavorful and well-marbled, they may contain more connective tissue and collagen compared to pork chops. This collagen can make pork steaks slightly less tender than pork chops, especially if they are not cooked using methods that help break down the collagen, such as slow-cooking or braising.

That said, both pork steaks and pork chops can be delicious and tender when cooked correctly. Proper cooking techniques, such as marinating, brining, or using moist heat methods like braising, can help enhance the tenderness and flavor of both cuts. Ultimately, personal preference plays a significant role in determining which cut you may find more tender and enjoyable.

Fried Pork Steak

What is the best way to tenderize pork?

There are several methods you can use to tenderize pork, depending on the cut and your preferred cooking method. Here are some effective ways to tenderize pork:


Use a mixture of acidic ingredients such as vinegar, citrus juice, or yogurt can help tenderize the meat by breaking down its muscle fibers. You can also add flavor to the pork by including herbs, spices, and aromatics in the marinade. Marinate the pork for at least a few hours or overnight in the refrigerator for best results.


It involves soaking the pork in a solution of salt and water, which helps the meat retain moisture and become more tender during cooking. You can customize the brine by adding sugar, herbs, spices, or other flavorings to enhance the taste of the pork. Brine pork chops, roasts, or other cuts for several hours to overnight before cooking.


This is simply using a meat mallet or the back of a heavy skillet to pound thicker cuts of pork to an even thickness. This helps break down the muscle fibers and tenderize the meat, making it cook more evenly and quickly. Be careful not to pound the pork too aggressively, as it can tear or become too thin.


This is a Chinese cooking technique that involves coating thinly sliced pork in a mixture of egg whites, cornstarch, and sometimes other ingredients like soy sauce or rice wine. After marinating in the mixture, the pork is briefly blanched in hot water or oil before being added to stir-fries or other dishes. Velveting helps seal in moisture and tenderize the pork, resulting in a tender and juicy texture.

Slow Cooking.

Using a slow cooker, Dutch oven to braise or stew is a great way to cook low and slow. Cooking pork low and slow in a moist environment can help tenderize tough cuts of meat like pork shoulder or pork ribs. The long cooking time allows the collagen in the meat to break down into gelatin, resulting in a tender and flavorful dish.

Using Enzymatic Tenderizers.

Certain fruits such as pineapple, papaya, and kiwi contain enzymes like bromelain and papain, which can help tenderize meat. You can use these fruits in marinades or puree them and brush the mixture onto the pork before cooking. Be cautious with enzymatic tenderizers, as they can break down the meat too much if left for too long.

Experiment with these methods to find the best way to tenderize pork based on your preferences and the cut of meat you’re working with. Keep in mind that proper cooking techniques and careful monitoring of cooking times and temperatures are essential for achieving tender and flavorful pork dishes.

Here are more cooking tips and other delicious recipes for you to try.


You can find Victoria crocheting, quilting, and creating recipes. She has cooked in restaurants for over 20 years, including many larger parties. In her professional career, she has worked in management in a wide variety of businesses including higher education as a dean of a division. All the while attending college part-time to achieve her doctorate in higher education with an emphasis in e-learning.

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