When it comes to pork, there are many delicious cuts to choose from. But when you’re standing in front of the meat counter, you may be wondering what the difference is between pork steaks and pork chops.

Pork steaks and pork chops are both popular cuts of pork, but they are quite different. Pork steaks are taken from the shoulder area of the pig and are usually thicker and tougher than pork chops. Pork chops, on the other hand, are taken from the loin area and are typically more tender and leaner. When deciding which to cook, it really comes down to personal preference and what you are making.

3 Pork steaks on cutting board uncooked

Pork steaks are often mistaken for pork chops, but there are a few key differences between the two. Pork chops are cut from the loin, which is a long, lean muscle that runs along the back of the pig.

Pork steaks, on the other hand, are cut from the shoulder. Also referred to as a boston butt or pork butt, the shoulder is a tough, muscular area that is full of flavor.

Pork has long been an American staple at backyard bbqs. It’s cheap and readily available at your grocery store. Plus, there are so many different pork cuts available, including pork tenderloin, pork belly, sirloin chops, shoulder chops, pork cutlets, and more.

Save this page so you can reference the difference between two commonly confused cuts of pork.

What is a pork steak? 

Also called blade chops, blade steak, blade roast, or pork shoulder steaks, a pork steak is cut from the shoulder of the pig. Essentially, it’s a “steak” sliced off a much larger cut of pork shoulder.

Pork steaks are usually cut into thick, hand-sized pieces – much larger than pork chops. Typically, this type of meat has a high fat content and is a popular choice for braising or slow cooking.

Pork steaks are usually tougher and require a longer cooking time than pork chops. Because of this, they’re ideal for slow cooking, stewing, and braising. While you can also grill or fry pork steaks, they might yield a tough, chewy result.

2 raw pieces of pork

How are pork steaks supposed to be cooked?

When cooking pork steaks, it is important to use a moist cooking method, such as braising, to prevent them from drying out.  One of the best ways to prepare this cut is to slowly roast it in the oven for several hours.

Related: Oven Roasted Pork Shoulder

While the recommended internal temperature of a pork shoulder (or steak cut) is 160F, I recommend cooking on a low setting until the internal temperature reads 200F. This allows all the connective tissues to break down and distribute fatty juices throughout the cut of meat, making it incredibly tender and easily shredded.

What are pork steaks cut from?

A pork steak, also called a blade steak, is a cut of pork that’s taken from the shoulder blade of the pig.

What is a pork chop?

Pork chops are a popular cut of pork that’s best for grilling. This piece of meat is cut from the loin, which is a long, lean muscle that runs along the back of the pig. This cut is sold as bone-in as well as boneless chops and is tender and juicy when cooked properly.

If you’re looking for a good cut of meat to grill, pork chops are the best option.

two raw pork chops

Pork chops are cut from the loin, meaning it’s a tender cut, which is great for grilling or frying. They are typically cut thick and contain a T-shaped bone if sold bone-in. Because they are much leaner than pork steaks, pork chops will dry out quicker and are best cooked over a higher heat with a shorter cooking time.

How is a pork chop supposed to be cooked?

Pork chops are delicious seared in a skillet, grilled, baked, and even slow cooked. Because it’s a lean cut, pork chops will not shred, so braising for long periods of time isn’t recommended.

To avoid drying out pork chops, my preferred way to prepare pork chops is on the grill or in a cast-iron skillet.

  • After searing on both sides, I remove the pork chops when the internal temperature reads about 120F.
  • Then, allow the meat to rest on a cutting board until the temperature rises to your desired doneness.

The heat will carry over from the skillet and the internal temperature will continue to rise the longer the meat rests.

Can pork chops be a little pink?

Contrary to popular belief, it is ok for pork chops to be pink in the center. With the exception of ground pork, this myth has long been busted!

As long as the pork chops are prepared to the proper temperature, the meat is safe to eat.

What is the difference between pork chops and pork steaks?

Being able to differentiate the different cuts of pork means choosing the best choice for your dish. Here is a quick breakdown of the information above.

Variety of Cut

When most people think of pork, they think of pork chops. However, there is a big difference between pork chops and pork steaks.

Pork chops are cut from the loin, which is a leaner part of the pig, while pork steaks are cut from the pig’s shoulder, which has a lot of fat.


Pork steaks have a more marbled look due to the large amount of intramuscular fat and are larger in comparison. Pork chops are much smaller in size with little to no fat and marbling. Depending on the cut, the pork chop could be bone-in or boneless.

Cooking Methods

Pork chops are best cooked quickly over high heat in a skillet or on the grill, while pork steaks benefit from a slower cooking method like braising. Pork steaks are an excellent substitute for pork shoulder and are perfect for pulled pork sandwiches, loaded nachos, or even shredding without the bun.

Because they are much leaner than pork steaks, pork chops will dry out quicker and are best cooked over a higher heat with a shorter cooking time, while pork steaks are more forgiving and can be cooked for a longer period of time.


Typically, pork steaks are cheaper than pork chops – mainly because there is less meat on the pig for pork chops, which makes them more difficult to produce. However, there are some nuances with the cost, depending on where you live.

Flavor and Nutrition

Pork steak and pork chops are both delicious, but which one is better for you? A pork chop is one of the leaner cuts of meat, so it has less fat and calories. A pork steak is a bit fattier, but it’s also juicier and will reheat and freeze much better than pork chops. Both require seasonings, brines, or flavorful marinades to enhance the mild flavor.

Are pork steaks more tender than pork chops?

Because of the fattier tissue, pork steaks are much more tender than pork chops. However, pork chops can be juicy and tender if prepared properly.

Can you substitute pork steaks for pork chops in a recipe?

Because of the size and fat tissue, I don’t recommend using these cuts interchangeably. If you choose to substitute one for the other, adjustments to cooking time and temperature will likely be necessary.

What is the best way to tenderize pork?

To tenderize pork before cooking, break up the tough muscle by using a meat mallet. Place the pork in a zip-top bag, and hit the meat with the mallet evenly across the surface. Be careful not to go overboard and flatten the meat.Alternatively, marinades with acid, like citrus juices, vinegar, or wine will naturally tenderize the meat.

What seasonings go well with pork?

Seasonings and herbs that go well with pork include rosemary, cumin, garlic, paprika, chili powder and more. Alternatively, store-bought dry rubs are an easy way to get the flavors and spice you are looking for.

How do you make pork more flavorful?

Marinade, brine, or apply a dry rub to add flavor to pork.

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