A pork chop by any other name is now a porterhouse

Akron Beacon JournalApril 24, 2013 

Once there were pork chops. Soon there will be rib-eye chops, porterhouse chops and New York chops.

They're the same as the pork chops we've been eating all along, but they'll be packaged under different names to help consumers better understand what they are buying.

Aside from pork chops, the new naming also takes up a longtime meat case confuser: the pork butt.

Pork butt isn't from the butt, it's actually pork shoulder.

It got the name pork butt in the 1800s, when the shoulder cuts were packed into butt containers and shipped off for the navy, Fleming explained. Pork butt was a fanciful name that consumers recognized, but the cut also was called Boston roast and Boston butt.

The new name -- blade roast -- tries to reflect what the cut really is.

Similar changes will be happening in the beef section of the meat case, too.

As early as this summer, new names for pork and beef will start to appear in meat cases at grocery stores and in butcher shops nationwide.

The National Pork Board and Beef Checkoff Program recently received approval to introduce new names to the Uniform Retail Meat Identification Standards.

The goal is to make cuts of meat more easily identifiable so that customers know what they are getting. But beef and pork producers are hoping that the changes also will take away some of the mystery of the meat case, so that shoppers aren't afraid to try a larger variety of cuts.

Trevor Amen, director of market intelligence for the National Cattlemen's Beef Association, said the updates came after two years of consumer research, which indicated that the public was looking for more simple names to help identify cuts of meat.

He said the old system was based on the anatomy of the animal, which isn't as important to

the consumer as some more common names for beef cuts.

So although an old label may have read, "beef loin hanging tender boneless," the new label will state simply, "hanger steak," with the terms "beef" and "boneless" saved for a second line of the label.

The popular name for a beef shoulder top blade steak is "flat iron steak," but only a few brands, including the Certified Angus Beef brand based in Wooster, have been selling it under that name. So when consumers went to the store to find it, they would find "beef shoulder top blade steak" instead -- not very consumer-friendly.

Under the new system, labels will read, "flat iron steak."

"The end result and the recommendations ... were really consumer-focused to really simplify shopping the meat case and make it easier for them to choose the right cut," Amen said. "We want to help the consumer navigate the meat case and enjoy a wider variety of meals and hopefully increase their purchasing of beef at retail."

When it comes to pork, some of the changes were made to reflect terms that consumers already know and are comfortable with, which is why pork chops will be labeled similar to steaks. The old names of loin chops, rib chops, center rib chops and top loin chops, may have told a lot about what part of the pig the chop was from, but not about what to expect when cooking that chop.

Dave Phillips, a butcher at Kirbie's Family Meats and Catering in Stow, Ohio, said the name changes really are in keeping with the kind of practical advice that butchers have been giving their customers all along.

"Everyone knows what a porterhouse steak is. Not everyone knows what a loin is. But if I tell them, this is a porterhouse in pork, then they understand," he said.

Phillips said Kirbie's would be adapting to the new names in the coming months with labels and signs to match.

Patrick Fleming, director of national marketing for the National Pork Board, said the meat naming system was first developed in 1973 to help consumers comparison shop from store to store. But the old anatomical names just weren't working for younger consumers.

"With every generation, we lose more of that meat knowledge," he said.

When names are confusing to a shopper, chances are they will just skip the item and buy something more familiar, which isn't good for meat sales, which have been static in recent years, he said.

What's more, Fleming said, shoppers are set in their routines. Surveys show that most consumers at the grocery store buy the same 130 or so products repeatedly. For meat, that translates to the same five or six items (think chicken breasts, ground beef and pork chops) over and over again.

"If the name is confusing and you don't have a lot of meat knowledge and cooking experience, it's daunting," he said.

If all of this meat talk has made you hungry, here are some recipes for beef and pork to try out.

GRILLED PORTERHOUSE (BONE-IN LOIN) CHOPS WITH CHIPOTLE CILANTRO BUTTER AND CORN

For the chops:

4 porterhouse chops, (bone-in loin chops) about 1 inch thick 2 teaspoon paprika

Salt and pepper, to taste

Olive oil, for brushing

For the corn:

4 ears corn, shucked 2 teaspoon olive oil

For the chipotle-herb butter:

4 tablespoon butter, unsalted, at room temperature

2 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro

1 tablespoon chipotle chile in adobo sauce, chopped

1 teaspoon fresh lime juice

Preheat a grill over medium-high heat and brush with olive oil. Sprinkle paprika, salt and pepper on both sides of the chops.

Grill the pork chops for 8 to 9 minutes, turning once halfway through, until cooked to 145 degrees. Remove the pork from the grill, tent it with foil and let it rest for 3 minutes.

Brush the corn with olive oil and place on the grill. Grill the corn for a few minutes on each side, turning regularly until it is charred. Remove from grill and set aside.

In a food processor, combine softened butter, cilantro, chipotle pepper and freshly squeezed lime juice. Pulse for 1 minute until fully combined.

Dish up 1 tablespoon of the compound butter on top of each piece of pork, and serve alongside a piece of corn on the cob.

Makes 4 servings.

-- National Pork Board, www.porkbeinspired.com

BEEF TRI-TIP ROAST WITH ROSEMARY-GARLIC VEGETABLES

1 beef tri-tip roast (1- 1/2 to 2 pounds)

1 tablespoon olive oil

12 small red-skinned potatoes, halved

2 medium red, yellow or green bell peppers, cut into eighths

2 medium sweet onions, cut into 1-inch wedges

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 teaspoon dried rosemary leaves

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Heat oven to 425 degrees. Combine seasoning ingredients; press half onto the beef roast. Combine remaining seasoning with oil and vegetables in large bowl; toss.

Place roast on rack in shallow roasting pan. Place vegetables on rack around roast. Do not add water or cover. Roast at 425 degrees for 30 to 40 minutes for medium rare; 40 to 45 minutes for medium doneness.

Remove roast when instant-read thermometer registers 135 degrees for medium rare; 150 degrees for medium. Transfer to board; tent with foil. Let stand 15 minutes. (Temperature will continue to rise about 10 degrees to reach 145 degrees for medium rare; 160 degrees for medium.)

Meanwhile, increase oven temperature to 475 degrees. Remove peppers. Continue roasting potatoes and onions 10 minutes or until tender and lightly browned. Carve roast across the grain. Serve with vegetables.

Makes 6 to 8 servings.

-- The Beef Checkoff/Cattlemen's Beef Board and National Cattlemen's Beef Association, www.beefitswhatsfordinner.com

Bradenton Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service