Pork Tenderloin to Chops
In difficult economic times grocery costs still keep rising. Looking at a package of pork chops at the grocery store the cost on the price tag is almost enough to make your heart stop in mid beat. Good quality cuts of meat can seem to be way out of the reach of many families today.
Getting the most bang for your buck is important. A large percentage of your hard earned dollar goes into the purchase of groceries which means that there is a lot of money that can be saved in this area. I have a few tips to offer so you can get quality meat for about half the price that you see on the package.
A simple trick to use when grocery shopping is to buy only when the item is on sale. You can increase your cost savings by watching for the meat cuts you eat to go on sale and then stocking up on it. Another way that you can reduce your meat costs further is by purchasing larger chunks of meat to cut yourself.
It really isn't all that difficult of a task to do. A standard pork tenderloin is basically already in the shape of chops so just needs to be sliced much like you would a loaf of bread.
You can save about half the price those chops would otherwise cost. That high quality boneless tenderloin chop sitting at the grocer that generally sells for around 9.89kg (4.50 per lb.) is cut from a boneless pork tenderloin which often sells for around 4.39kg (1.99 per lb.) on sale.
Rather than buying the chop already cut, purchase the loin, and cut it yourself. You can purchase the larger chunk of meat for generally less than half the price of the tenderloin pork chop.
When you purchase the meat pre-cut you are paying a premium price where as cutting that same meat at home your grocery dollar savings can be substantial. Watch for sales. Why pay typical retail price when you can get that same item for 30% to 50% off if you watch your local fliers for a better deal.
Be sure to use a good sharp knife for the cutting. One side of the tenderloin generally has a ridge of fat on it which can be easily trimmed off. My next job is cutting away the loose side section. Grasp the meat firmly with one hand and cut with the other. The loin itself can be quite slippery so if you have a partner to help you out get them to hold the loin while you cut.
In the picture you can see the loose strip of meat on the one side of the pork loin. This section is generally quite fatty and slippery to cut through if left on the loin. As this is a little lower grade of meat I cut this section off to be made into sweet and sour chunks and leave the remainder of the tenderloin to be cut into pork chops.
To the upper left of the board are the pork chops which you can see are an absolutely beautiful cut of meat. To the upper right side of the board is the strip from the side of the loin which I will package up for sweet and sour pork.
One of the nicest aspects of cutting your own chops is that you can trim and cut to suit your personal taste preferences. Some people like to have a ridge of fat on their chops but I like a lean cut of meat so I trim quite a bit of the top fat off my pork loin.
If you have a helper they can help hold the meat while you cut as it can be slippery. I grasp mine firmly around with one hand and cut with the other. I am not sure what is up with my hubby but he generally tosses the meat on the counter and then runs and hides. (Queasy maybe?)
I am not a huge meat eater but I did grow up on a hobby farm where we butchered our own pigs, beef, and chickens so I am quite content to cut our own meat. The dollar savings makes the half hour or so that I spend cutting the pork loin very worth while.
Our local Save-On store often puts their tenderloin on a very good sale price and this is where I wait to buy mine. I trust their quality. At our last store trip we purchased this loin for $18.93 paying $1.99 per pound which is about the standard sale price where I live.
Cutting your own chops you can slice them thick or thin depending on which you prefer. I like to cut our chops thick and I generally get between 30 and 36 chops per pork tenderloin depending on the size we have purchased. Looking at the image you can see the quality of these chops.
I trimmed about 1/4 pound of fat from the top of the loin and set aside about 1 pound total of side meat for sweet and sour. This loin netted us 32 thick tenderloin pork chops as well as about a pound of sweet and sour pork meat.
From this point there is just the packaging and the clean up left to do. I freeze my chops in packages of six as this is a convenient size for my family. You can use freezer bags or if you are into recycling then you can also use recycled bread bags to put your meat in for freezing.
Have 2 cutting boards in your kitchen, one for meat use only, and the other one for cutting bread, fruits, and vegetables. Cutting board safety is a priority in the kitchen.
To help avoid cross contamination to other surfaces and foods put the wash cloths and hand towels you have used in your meat preparation immediately into your laundry for wash.