Blade Pork Chops Vs. Rib Chops: What's The Difference?

When it comes down to cuts of meat, how much does the average home cook really know? It's not like they teach the difference between the different cuts of steak or the absolute best cuts of lamb to grill in most high schools. These techniques are usually taught through family, a job, culinary school, or your own vigorous google searches (which if done haphazardly, can misinform). Don't worry, if you don't have the time or energy to do a deep dive on which cut of meat you want to grill for a dinner party, your local butcher should be able to help you out -it is literally, their job- or you can come to us!

Pork is a flavorful, delicious protein source but cooking a pork chop can be tricky. What kinds of pork chops should you serve? And does the cut of pork really make a difference in how you cook it?

What are rib chops?

Rib chops go by many names: Center-cut rib chop, pork chop end cut, rib end cut, ribeye chop, and so on and so forth but essentially, a rib chop is a lean cut of loin carved from the shoulder to the middle of the ribs (via The Kitchn). Cooks Illustrated says that the rib chop will have an "eye" with a pretty layer of fat trimmed around the outside which will help to keep the cut of pork moist while cooking so don't go cutting it all off! Luckily, with this beautiful cut of meat, The Spruce Eats says you can practically prepare it to your preference and even treat it like a steak and bake, pan-sear, broil or grill it because it can stand up to high heat without drying out (say a big thank you to all that fat).

The best part about these cuts of pork is that you don't have to wait very long before you tuck in. According to Food Network, rib chops can be grilled on medium-high heat for about four minutes on each side until internal temperature reaches 145°F (62.778°C), and then let it rest for three more minutes. The whole process takes less than 15 minutes! You can purchase rib chops with the bone in or out, it really depends on your preference, though Coleman Natural recommends that the boneless are perfect for an easy-to-make dinner.

What are blade chops?

Blade chops, as you might have guessed, are not cut from the ribs, but from the shoulder which is why it's called a (shoulder) blade cut. Blade chops are also referred to as pork steaks, according to Cooks Illustrated, and are a more complex slice of meat than rib chops since this cut of pork involves various mussels, dark meat, and connective tissues. They are known to be thick cuts laced with fat and that at times come with blade bone or back-rib bone attached, reports Pork).

1 Tribe Farm suggests that since the blade chop is mainly dark meat, marbled with fat, and thicker than rip chops, you take the time to tenderize the meat or cook it slowly using a braising technique or other lengthy cooking methods. The Online Grill reminds us that bone-in chops take a longer time to finish cooking, so if your blade cut does come with blade bone or back-rib bone connected, be prepared for a longer cooking time, but luckily, due to its lovely dark and rich flavor, blade chops are delicious when enhanced with a smoky flavor from a barbecue or smoker which naturally take longer to cook meat.