Can You Make Pulled Pork With Pork Chops?

November 18, 2022

Don’t do it if you really want pulled pork and can’t find pork shoulder or pork butt. I know some roadside cooks may have told you they’ve done this before with pork loin chops. It’s usually not a good idea. The trick to doing this with a toaster oven is dangerous too. The dish either doesn’t cook well or you may start a fire or create sparks

Over and over again at cooking school and on the internet, I’ve seen pork chops used by so-called DIY cooks experimenting with things. You’ll most likely end up with a lot of leftovers. Keep reading and I’ll tell you what pork chops are and what cut you can and can’t use for pulled pork.

Can You Make Pulled Pork With Pork Chops

Are Pork Chops Good for Pulled Pork?

I don’t recommend using pork chops if pulled pork is really your thing. 

You always need meat that is ideal for pulling purposes, which is why they call it pulled pork. 

The ideal pulled meat is a pork shoulder or pork butt with fat content. You always want to end up with something delicious, tender, and melting in the end. 

Why Pork Chop Isn’t Good for Pulled Pork?

I don’t believe in using pork chops in pulled pork recipes. This can be explained by several factors.

Pulled pork is best cooked on low, slow, and long heat. You need it to get flavorful, juicy, and soft as butter. However, when you cook your pork chops too long and overdone, they can get tough, chewy, and less appealing. 

Pork chops are best prepared to a doneness of just 145 degrees Fahrenheit. It’s never palatable at rare or well-done doneness. 

 You’ll need your pulled pork meats to get around 205 degrees. Only a large piece like the pork shoulder or pork butt can get that far. 

Cooking pork chops for at least 20 minutes at a lower temperature can make the meat tougher which is the opposite of what you’re looking for. So I prefer to preserve pork chops for recipes that will utilize them for more productive use.

So, What Is Pulled Pork?

Pulled pork is a cut of pork with connective tissue and the right amount of fat cooked until it is soft enough to split up when pulled under a little pressure. 

The beef has to be shredded so that it looks like a piece of straw. Then you can add BBQ sauce. 

When you cook it low and slow, pulled pork gets weak and shreds when its internal temperature exceeds 190 degrees. Not all grilled meats allow these possibilities. The meat should have sufficient connective tissue and fats to keep moisture at high temperatures. 

What Is Pork Chop?

Pork chops are cutlets of the pig sliced thinly from pork loin. The loin runs from the hip of the pig to the shoulders. However, the pork chop differs in different forms depending on where it is cut. 

It usually consists of ribs and parts of vertebrae to make a bone-in pork chop. Of course, the bone may be cut out to make boneless pork chops.

Pork chops are classic and versatile options for grills. They are very tasty when you cook, smoke, or bake them. They can be cut very thinly or sliced two inches thick. Each cut is usually curled around an edge with thin fat which helps in bringing out flavors. 

Raw Cut of Pork Chop with Herbs

Is There a Trick to Make Pulled Pork With Pork Chops?

Now that you ask, there’s an easy way to do it. However, I still don’t recommend it. You may not get the result you want and it’s not particularly safe. 

First, you’ll need a toaster oven, aluminum foil, BBQ sauce, and rub for this. Toaster ovens provide the best results for slow cookers for example. Your meat won’t get grainy or spongy like that made in the slow cooker. 

Remember, a lot of toaster oven brands warn users against the use of aluminum foil in the toaster oven. When the meat is covered by the foil, the wave wouldn’t be absorbed and this can lead to sparks

This is the same reason the USDA warns against having foods covered in foil baked in microwave ovens. 

Some people have learned the art of doing this, though. However, remember safety is always important. It helps to see what your toaster oven says about using foils. 

Breville, KitchenAid, Oster, Hamilton Beach, Cuisinart, and Black&Decker say you can use foil in their ovens. However, you should never cover the heating element or crumb tray with foil.

Making Pulled Pork Sandwiches With Pork Chops 

What You’ll Need 

  • 2 pounds of pork ribeye chops
  • BBQ rub 
  • BBQ sauce 
  • Toaster oven 
  • Fork 
  • Aluminum foil 

For experimentation’s sake, let’s give this a try hoping we don’t start a fire. Just kidding. 

Method  

Step 1: Choose Your Pork Chops 

Get two to three pounds of bone-in pork chops. You can use bone-in pork ribeye chops. It doesn’t have to be bone-in chops, you can also use bone-less ribeyes, depending on what you prefer.

However, remember, pork tenderloin steaks are lean. They generally don’t have enough fat content and connective tissues like pork shoulders have. However, this is your best shot at what we’re trying to do.

Nonetheless, the ribeye part has a fair amount of fat going through them. So, to do this, you want ribeye steaks with a fair amount of fat. You don’t need the really lean ones like loin chops. 

Step 2: Prepare the Pork Chops 

Get the meat rinsed with water. Continue by seasoning both sides of the meat with a mild barbecue rub. You may use any kind of barbecue rub you like.

Next, add some barbecue sauce to the meat to add some flavor. Mix them up and wrap them in aluminum foil in readiness for the toaster oven. 

Step 3: Bake for 2 Hours at 300 Degrees 

Set your oven on bake to 300 degrees Fahrenheit. Let the meat bake in there wrapped up like that for about two hours

Once two hours is up, get the meat out and open them up. By now, you should see that the bones are pulling right out and the meats are looking tender and bustling with flavor.

Step 4: Break the Meat Apart With Forks

Pull the pork cut out of the foil, pour the fat out and put a fresh piece of foil down. Place the pork chops back on the foil. 

Then take a fork and break them apart in the aluminum foil. By now you should see that they’re starting to pull. 

Pulled Pork

Step 5: Add Some Bbq Sauce and Continue Cooking for Additional 5-10 Minutes 

Add some more barbecue sauce to the baked pork and put them back in the oven for a few minutes. This helps the meat add more flavor and get nice and tender. Five to ten minutes is enough. It will also let the sauce caramelize a little bit. 

After the cooking duration, the meat should be all sauced up now. By now, it will smell and look good. 

Step 6: Rest and Shred the Pork 

Don’t shred the meat while it is still hot. Always let the steak rest for up to 15 minutes before pulling it. This lets the meat reabsorb moisture and the juices return to the right places and cool. Finally, you can serve it as a snack or as a side dish serving.

Does Pork Chops Pulled Pork Pull Well?

If you’ve done real pulled pork before, you can tell there’s a bit of difference. And that’s the texture that helps the actual pulling. Real pulled shoulders are cooked for several hours – at least 2 hours per pound in an oven. On a smoker or grill, we’re talking about 12 to 15 hours

Conclusion 

I don’t recommend using pork chops like loin or tenderloin for pulled dishes. They’re too lean to withstand a lengthy cooking time. Pork butts or pork shoulder are the best for this recipe as they have the needed fat and connective tissue to store moisture. When you cook them up to 205 degrees of internal temperature, you’ll end up with succulent and juicy meat that pulls to strips. 

By Kristy J. Norton
I'm Kristy – a chef and connoisseur of all things BBQ! You can find me either in my kitchen (or someone else's) or at a big outdoor barbecue surrounded by friends and family. In both my professional and personal life I’ve picked up more than a few tips and tricks for turning out delicious food. I consider it a privilege to share it with others!
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