One of the most popular cuts of pork, the pork chop comes from the loin of the pig, which runs along the spine from just behind the shoulder all the way to the sirloin, just before the leg. There are three different types of pork chops, which are classified by their position on the loin.
The center cut, the most popular and tender chop, sits in the middle of the pork loin and is boneless. It contains meat from the center of the loin, perfect for pan-frying, grilling or broiling. Because this chop contains two parts of the loin that cook at different rates, overcooking can happen quickly.
Rib chops, which come from the rib section of the loin, have a bone running along one side and sometimes a layer of fat on the outside. The rib chop contains a large eye of lean loin meat and no tenderloin meat, making it a top choice for grilling.
The sirloin chop is an inexpensive cut from the hip area toward the back of the loin. It contains some hip and backbone, with a higher percentage of bone than other chops; the meat is composed of various muscle groups, making it chockful of pork flavor. However, because of its high muscle content, sirloin chops have a tendency to become tough.