The Most Disappointing Meat

Before I go to the grocery store every week, I usually try to make out a quick menu based on whatever’s on sale in the meat department. I would love to tell you that it’s because I’m so frugal and thrifty, but the reality is that I choose this approach because I get tired of trying to figure out what to cook. A couple of years ago I figured out that I can just use the weekly ad like a cookbook, and in that sense it’s like Publix makes my meat selections for me. I look to see what meat is on sale, I figure out what I can make with the sale items, and then I make my grocery list. It’s a lovely system.

The only problem – and please know that I am most certainly using the word “problem” in a suburban, first-world context – is that sometimes the on-sale meats are not our favorites. I have managed to navigate our recent anti-chicken crisis by butterflying the chicken breasts (they cook more evenly when they aren’t so thick), so we’re finally all good on the chicken front. The problem, however, is that we’ve recently become iffy about the pork chop. I can’t explain why; it’s just that the last few times I’ve cooked them, I’ve finished supper and thought, “Well, that was pretty much devoid of any flavor whatsoever. Except salt.”

So this past week, pork chops were on sale at Publix. I went back and forth about whether I should add them to my list, but after several minutes of feeling utterly ridiculous because, well, LIGHTEN UP, GLADYS, IT’S A PORK CHOP, I decided that I’d buy some and let them marinate for a day or so. I convinced myself that they’d be overflowing with flavor, that they’d be delicious and tender and the envy of all the other meats. I was happy to have a plan.


Night before last I covered the pork chops in a chipotle / lime marinade that I’ve also used on chicken. I was fired up. BRING ON THE TASTY. Yesterday afternoon I heated up my favorite skillet, added some olive oil and butter, then seared the pork chops really well on each side before I finished cooking them in the oven. They smelled great, and I was hopeful that we were about to have a pork chop breakthrough.

After we sat down for supper, I cut off a bite of pork chop and prepared myself for A FLAVOR EXPLOSION. But y’all, that pork chop was as bland as the plastic cup of water that’s sitting next to me right now. Except that it wasn’t nearly as refreshing. And after I took a couple of seconds to process the fact that NOT EVEN THE CHIPOTLE COULD SAVE IT, I looked at my husband and said, “Well. I certainly hope you enjoy this bland piece of meat that I have so lovingly prepared for you.”

He took a bite, grinned, and as he pointed as his pork chop, he said, “So. How is it that the animal that gives us something as delicious as bacon also gives us this?”

That is the truth, isn’t it?

So anyway. As for me and my house, we have decided that the pork chop is our least favorite of all the meats. Ham is a close second. And certainly this realization has made us even more appreciative of the bacon. Because the pigs aren’t really working out for us in other meat-related ventures.

And for lo, all these many reasons, the pork chop and I are going on an indefinite break. Sort of like Ross and Rachel in 1997, only without the fringe-y haircut and the assortment of mock short-sleeve turtlenecks from Gap.

What foods have taken a turn for you lately – and not for the better?

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  1. OMG I can’t even tell you how much I hate ham! Ham is the worst! Although we’ve had pretty good luck with pork chops lately. I hope you find some better tasting pigs! Have you tried a local farmers’ market?

  2. Cheryl Stanley says:

    Jamie Oliver would say that a pasture raised organic piece of pork would have much more flavor. When you’re ready to jump back in the pork ring you might want to go that route.

    Chicken is hit or miss for me – especially American chicken that seems left to soak too long in salty solutions.

  3. Sarah Davison says:

    I have the answer for your pork problems!! If you want an answer, that is…you gotta buy your pork chops from 1 of 2 places: Either a farmer, or Sams Club. They both have those big thick ones, and you just put them in one of those 30 minute marinades in the fridge, bring them to room temp and throw those suckers on the grill! I promise you, they are as good as steak, super juicy and flavorful. But to answer your other question…QUINOA. Who the heck decided that was a good food idea!? I’ve made the stuff a million (ok, so maybe just several) different ways and it never tastes good.

  4. Ground barf I mean ground beef has taken a back burner at our house. I think its the amount of fat that has to be drained off that has turned me off. But heaven help me I am not buying ground turkey. The grinding of poultry is a crime against nature.

  5. I am so with you on pork chops.

  6. This post made me laugh. Pork chops have always been out for me. I didn’t grow up eating them, and haven’t made them as an adult. Another is chicken. Chicken has been out of the rotation for months, and I’ve only slightly thought about bringing it back in the near future. My go to lately has been the North Atlantic salmon from Sam’s Club. It’s cut thick, so I feel satisfied after having it and a vegetable. Rub a little teriyaki marinade on it before throwing it in a 400 degree oven for 15 minutes and you’ll be glad you did.
    Also, just a side note, please never stop blogging! It brings joy to my day to read your posts. :)

  7. The only way I like pork chops is browned in an electric skillet and then cooked to death with a packet of onion soup gravy and four cups water. Served over white rice with peas (not sure why, but this is how we ate them growing up!). It’ll do – but pork chops remain my least favorite of all the meats!

  8. I have failed at chicken – twice! – recently, and they were Pioneer Woman recipes. Is there a support group for failing at chicken?!

    As for pork: Desperation Dinners’ Harvest Pork Chops cannot be messed up and they are especially delish this time of year! coleslaw, apple juice, apples, dijon, etc. If you want the recipe, send me an email & I’ll send it to you.

    Funny: I had my 16 year old son cream the potatoes last night, but the little ceramic thingy to keep them from boiling over stayed in the pot. He said he wondered what that “hard clanky thing” was in the pot, but didn’t stop to look. We haven’t expired today, so I guess we weren’t poisoned! At least he helped, right?!

    • OR – You could order some Pork Chop on a Stick seasoning from the Minnesota State Fair people. Devine! :) Sorry…I’ll shut up now…

      • Amen, sister….as a MN resident, the Pork Chop on a Stick from the MN State Fair is WONDERFUL!!!

  9. First: when you are ready to try a pork chop again, please email me. My husband grew up on a hog farm and that man makes a mean, down home, smack the table because it tastes so good, well seasoned & tasty pork chop. I promise that it will not (a) be dry or (b) be as dull as shoe leather.

    The food I have broken up with lately? Smoothies. This summer I had a smoothie made with Greek yogurt, a carnation instant breakfast packet, fresh fruit, milk & ice. Now? I can’t even look at the blender. Ugh.

  10. Julie Reynolds says:

    Here’s a little help for next time the Publix has a run on pork chops… lay chops on baking sheet covered in tin foil, smother with Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville Sweet N Spicy BBQ sauce and slice an onion really thin over the top. Bake at 350 about an hour, the chops are moist and tender with great flavor and the sauce is so good, you’ll need biscuits to sop it up!

  11. Try this pork chop recipe from The Pioneer Woman. It’s so good. And easy. Because I am not really a big cook. But I think I’ve made it three times already, within about the last three months. So it’s safe to say it’s a hit! You don’t have to make the fried rice. Hope this helps!

  12. Try this recipe from Southern Plate. They’re yummy!

  13. HAM. Oh my goodness, it tastes like I’d imagine sweaty feet tasting.

  14. I’ve gotten to the point where I can’t stand any meat, which is very unfortunate for my husband. However, pork chops are my absolute least favorite. Gag-worthy. I hear you, sister!

  15. I have been off lasagna for quite a while now, although I recently bought the ingredients to make it again. I accidentally bought fat-free ricotta, so it’ll be interesting to see how it turns out. My lasagna used to be delicious, then it got to the point that I could barely eat it. I have no idea what happened. I buy my pork chops at Wal-Mart, and I still can’t believe I do. I buy all my other meat elsewhere. Anyway, I brown the pork chops and remove from the skillet, then slice potatoes and brown them. Add a can of mushroom (or whatever you like) soup and about a half of a can of milk. Cover and cook for about 10-15 minutes, then return the pork chops to the pan, cover and cook on lowish heat for about 10-15 minutes more. So good.

  16. I agree about quinoa. I want to like it, but I just don’t.

  17. Robin in New Jersey says:

    The only way we cook pork chops is in the crockpot. Boneless, covered with barbeque sauce, cooked all day til they fall apart and then served over rice. Grilled or oven baked they dry out and are tasteless.

    You are a hoot!

    • This is similar to what we do. We slice an onion and lay on the bottom of the crockpot – dual purpose – flavor and keeps the meat from sticking to the bottom. Pour a can of cream of mushroom, cream of chicken or cream of celery over it and cook all day. Service with rice or noodles or mashed potatoes.

    • I have such a problem with dry tough pork chops. I am going to try the crock pot and see if that makes them better. Thanks for the great hint, we have been off pork chops for about a year.

  18. Never let a boneless pork chop enter your kitchen….always tasteless.

    • Joe Stephens says:

      Never give up on the chops… Imagination and patience,,,, Paul Newman Italian dressing is a great marinate for grilling them boogers

  19. I completely agree about Pork chops. The food I am DONE with is pulled pork. Yuck.

  20. Thank you! I hate pork unless it’s bacon! Pigs are only meant to be eaten as bacon!

    BTW, loving your blog and your podcast and your book!! Yes, I am stalking you. It’s keeping me entertained as I nurse my newborn son around the clock!

  21. I got some nice thick pork chops from Wegmans and marinated them for about 15 minutes in Dale’s (liquid marinade – gluten free for my daughter who was visiting.) Did them on the grill pan in a bit of olive oil, and they were SO GOOD – try it before you give up completely!

    I’m off pizza – so disappointed in both Papa John’s and Dominos around here.

  22. I’m not a huge fan of pork chops, but that oven fried pork chop recipe you posted years ago are still a favorite of mine. It’s even become my go to meal if I cook for a date. Shocking, I know. Ha ha.

  23. Ditto on the pork chops!…..Bring On the BACON!

  24. I have a love hate relationship with pork chops and go through phases with them. Sometimes I think they are just dry and bland and that each bite just grows in my mouth. Other times, I think they are good. I do like them seasoned with Tony Cacher’s (or however you spell it), wrapped in bacon and broiled.

  25. Ok, speaking of Publix…

    Did you know you can go to their website, choose your store and enter your shopping list. Then IT SORTS IT BY AISLE at your store?!?!?! Oh, and there is an app so you can use your phone and check it off as you go.

  26. Take your pork chops and sear then in a hot iron skillet. Then cover with apple cider, put on low and just let them simmer for about 20-30 minutes. Remove chops, add thinly sliced apples and a good drizzle of honey. Turn up to high heat and let it reduce until it begins to thicken and apples soften. Add chops for about 2 minutes, then plate, adding a good bunch of apples on top. Add mashed potatoes on side, good bread…yum!!

  27. I LOVE pork chops! At our house we do them fried chicken style, but instead of flour we do saltine crackers. Make gravy, some mashed potatoes and some peas, and you have some SERIOUS. EATING.

  28. The problem is that in the name of health we have bred all of the flavor out of our meat. Fat is flavor! I buy the cuts of meat with a good bit of fat ( which also happen to be the cheapest), not the boneless, skinless, white meat cuts. Then cook them low and slow. Our favorite pork chops are the butt end chops braised in an iron skillet with a can of Italian seasoned diced tomatoes. To make up for the extra calories we have meatless dinners a few nights a week. I would rather have a yummy piece of meat 2 or 3 times a week than have bland meat every night.

    • Fully agree with your comment! In addition to a couple meatless nights, I buy a better cut of “real meat” – that is, more naturally bred and fed, with some fat as our good Lord intended – and serving a smaller portion. Add a second veggie and it is a great meal. I often wonder why we in the 20th/21st century think we know more about how to engineer an animal (or a plant, hello GMO) than God does.

      Our local pasture-feeding, no anti-biotic farmer sells great pork chops which we grill up with peaches (cut the peaches in half and grill them). He even smokes a chop, which makes it taste a little like bacon. Uh-mazing.

      • Shirley B. says:

        WORD! Jane, you are so so right!! Silly people trying to do better than God did in the first place? SO NOT a good idea!

  29. Chops were never a fav of mine growing up, but my husband has a great recipe that he does on the smoker: heavily coat with olive oil, heavily season with a good seasoning (Greek Seasoning will do or Suzy’s), crushed fresh garlic and chopped fresh rosemary on both sides, grill in a smoker or grill with a smoking box until done! Enjoy!

  30. Used to love salmon and the fishes. Now not so much. It’s grass -fed beef, all the way, baby. And speaking of Parenthood….we were, right? Did all of a sudden the whiney sing-song quality of the Berkley accent get to you? Or the con

  31. You can make ANYTHING funny–even meat! One of the most common problems with pork is over cooking. I marinate bone in chops in apple cider, minced garlic & ground coriander seeds in a ziploc bag in the fridge. Then grill them to medium or medium-well, but seared well on the outside. I’ve served them to guests, & everyone asks how in make them.
    The other way we love them is to partially butterfly the thick boneless chops from Costco, liberally salt, pepper & garlic powder both sides. Then stuff with your favorite bread stuffing & bake @ 375 about an hour. You may change your mind about the much-maligned pork chop. ;-D

  32. WE WERE ON A BREAK!!!!!!! (Sorry, I had to once you mentioned Ross & Rachel.)

    P.S. I’m with you. Pork Chops are so lackluster!!!

  33. Pot Roast. Recently my in-laws were in town, and I altered my pot roast recipe to make it for a crowd. The extra meat messed up my cooking times, and the roast was like stringy, stick-in-your-teeth wicker. Ugh.
    The worst part? No one really ate it, and I was stuck trying to polish off that roast for days. So done with pot roast.

  34. Most everything has taken a turn for the worst for me lately. Eating out or eating at home. I even stopped eating chicken nuggets at cfa the other day, not because they weren’t good, I was just tired of them (and I don’t eat there too often). I sat there wishing I had ordered a salad instead of chicken nuggets.

    I think I miss a good salad. Always love a salad with blue cheese and blue cheese crumbles; or a salad with chicken, oranges, etc.

    My friend made steak recently for me … marinated in a teriyaki sauce … it was wonderful. I mean wonderful. And we have been to Salt Grass for steak a few times over the last two months, and their steaks have melted in my mouth. I’m really in love with a steak now, medium. Got a few steaks from Target recently … wonderful. Steak might not be the healthiest, but it sure is the tastiest. Seasoned and salty.

  35. Hilarious!!! Your husband’s comment is absolutely the best. :) We are not pork chop fans here, either. Our break has been going on a year now, and yes, we have been seeing other meats.


    (Oh, how I love me some Friends…)

  36. Erin in CO says:

    I have to say I agree w the pork chop evaluation. I do think a farm co-op pig probably would have a better flavor, but that’s only a guess. Maybe we’ll try that route sometime. Our problem with it is the dryness & toughness…great qualities in a boot, not necessarily a meal. Pork shoulder in the crockpot for BBQ really is our favorite (along w bacon, of course).

  37. I’m sure the last thing you want is a pork chop recipe but I’ve got to share this!! My husband is also in the pork chop haters club but when I make this, he DEVOURS it!!! Brown your pork chops in a skillet (season with salt & pepper) then when brown on both sides, add water to just below halfway on the chop. To this add several spoonfuls of brown sugar. Cover the skillet and let the meat cook through and as the water/brown sugar cooks down, it will become this yummy glaze. Just don’t let it go too far……when that sugar burns, it’s a cleaning nightmare!! These are the most delicious pork chops I’ve ever eaten. Add a side of mac & cheese and that’s good eatin’!!! :-)

  38. We like our pork chops grilled. Marinate overnight in equal amounts of Allegro Original Marinade and cooking or olive oil with 1 tablespoon of Montreal steak seasoning per pound of meat. The chops will have lots of flavor from the grill, marinade and seasonings.

    Beef roast and tacos are on my do not want to eat or prepare list.

  39. ok – if you ever decide to give pork chops another try: sprinkle generously with Cavendar’s Greek Seasoning (what they will use on the meat in Heaven) and grill them! Grill them over an open flame. SO. GOOD!!!

    And liver……liver. is. gross.

  40. I feel the same way about pork chops. They are always dry. The last time we had them I told my husband that I wanted to break up with pork chops. I only want pork tenderloin from now on – at least it will actually soak up flavor!!

  41. Have you tried pork tenderloin? I do not love pork chops or ham, but grilled pork tenderloin is a pork game-changer for me. I love it grilled (but that takes a long time- we usually put it on the grill after grilling something quick like steaks to use the rest of the charcoal goodness) or just cooked in the oven like a pot roast. It. Is. So. Good.

    Pork chops are a no-go for me too, and spaghetti. Ugh. It’s my pickiest child’s favorite food, so we have to have it at least sometimes and I just don’t enjoy it at all.

  42. Jackie Ingram says:

    It’s rarely on sale, but give pork tenderloin a try. We slice it up before hand and cook the pieces like pork chops on the grill (after marinade, of course!). Tasty!!

  43. I wish I could say pork chops were my only “problem meat” — but they all seem to want to get tough and chewy when I cook them!

    I, too, will be sticking with the bacon. :-)

  44. I’m not sure that you want to go to this trouble, but I have found that brining all pork and turkey breasts is the answer for breaking down the meat to a tenderness that you can cut with a fork. Then you can season however you like and it will absorb the flavors. I do this with a pork loin all of the time and that is just the cut of meat that the boneless pork chops come from. After brining, I add a rub of choice and cook in oven until meat temperature reaches at least 160 to 180 . The juices use to pour over as you serve. My family has finally been won over to pork.

  45. My husband hates pork chops… until recently… we discovered the light of pork chop recipes. You bake them in basil pesto and add chickpeas as a side, but eat them together. Somehow it is magical.

  46. I am with you, and all these other lovely people, who are off the pork chop. We’d rather have a vegetarian meal than bother with the chops!

  47. I have never been a huge pork chop fan… until recently. Look in the spice aisle for McCormick Recipe Inspirations “Apple and Sage Pork Chops”. They are TO DIE FOR. I promise… pinky swear. Not hard to make, moist, FULL of flavor.

    I cooked this one to death for a year or so but I gave up on pork chops a while back, too, when I realized I had avoided the package I threw in the freezer when they were on a good sale for six months. This recipe does have good flavor though.

    However, we recently bought in on half a hog, and although we requested more roasts/less chops, we still had to get about 10 of them. I tried this recipe for pork schnitzel and it was yummy.

  49. Tiffany Smith says:

    The only place I eat pork chops is when I’m in Iowa. It’s all about quality meat. Season a fresh, thick Iowa pork chop with S&P, grill it and die of love? I day dream about those babies.

    Outside of fresh from the farm, Iowa pork? No way. I bought some from Oublux the other day and not even my outright love affair with Publix could make that bite go past my gag reflex.

  50. We have not eaten meat in over 25 years– we grew up farm kids– & then my husband was in management in the meat packing industry for several years– & we no longer eat meat!!! :) We don’t eat gluten & we don’t eat sugar!! And we try not to eat GMO’s & processed foods!!! So we try to grow part of our chemical free veggies & shop locally at Farmer’s markets & also we know who we buy from that they don’t use chemicals!!!

  51. Rachel Harrelson says:

    I love all meat. Have no issues with meat. Except maybe Venison. Don’t like to eat Bambi.

  52. I understand. I really do. I used to have a sister-in-law whose “company dinner” would ALWAYS be pork chops. So when we went, we were blessed to partake of dry pieces of tasteless cardboard, and she was always sooo proud of herself. (they ordered out the rest of the time, and I always wanted to tell her that we would NOT be offended to eat take-out Chinese food instead of pork chops.)

    HOWEVER. I have recently discovered Pioneer Woman’s recipe for pineapple fried rice with pork chops. The pork chops aren’t even marinated, but they soak up TONS of flavor while cooking. So good.

  53. I have to admit…I love ham. I always make it with homemade mac and cheese and in casseroles and quiches. But we are not and never have been fans of pork chops.
    We love pulled pork in the crock pot with sweet baby rays sauce. And marinated pork
    Tenderloin is tasty too. It’s very discouraging when you prepare a dinner and it’s not satisfying….been there…:)

  54. Well, we love pork chops in my house. I put a light dusting of seasoned (garlic powder, onion powder, dry mustard, powdered ginger, salt, pepper) flour on them, and then my husband grills them. Yummy.

    But quinoa? Blech. It’s like cardboard, but with no flavor. :-/. I’ll get my fiber elsewhere, thank you.

  55. Fran Calloway says:

    Try McCormick’s Bag & Season. Great flavor and tender to boot!

  56. Well, if Chipolte can’t save it, nothing can! We don’t eat pork chops a lot, but we like them grilled. But, we are bacon lovers for sure! Cute post!

  57. Kristin D. says:

    Okay, I agree about pork chops usually tasting salty (of course, when you cover them with seasoned salt before grilling, I guess that’s what I should expect, huh? Here’s a great recipe (marinade) for pork chops that I have used with friends doing Fix and Freeze meals.
    Lemon Dill Pork Chops: 6 T mayo, 6 T sour cream, 1/2 c Dijon mustard, 1/2 c lemon juice, 1 t black pepper, 2 t dill weed, 4 boneless pork chops 1.5″ thick (or 8 thinner ones). Make marinade and pour half over chops in zipper bag. Put remaining sauce in small zipper bag in fridge. Marinate chops in fridge 4-6 hours (or overnight or freeze for later use). Grill chops and use extra marinade for basting and/or dipping as you enjoy your dinner. ENJOY!

  58. You should try this recipe: It is one of our family favorites right now. When you season them at the beginning w/ salt, pepper and garlic powder do it very generously. But really most of the flavor comes from the sour cream gravy. And it is very moist cooked like it is in the crock pot.

  59. Ah, hotdogs are the worst, but everyone I know loves them. I’ve never liked them, even as a child. I feel like I must be eating flesh. *gag*!

  60. Am loving you and your blog. I have to chime in on the pork tenderloin…VERY easy and yummy on the grill. Our whole family (and weekend guests) have fallen in love with our summer version which calls for marinating the pork loin in a teriyaki marinade with sesame seeds (our favorite is Soyaki from Trader Joes). We serve with sesame noodles and an Asian slaw. When my husband came home from the store with pork chops recently, we used the same marinade (easy because it is right out of the jar) and also grilled them….yum!!!!

  61. I have cranberried, dijoned, gingered, saged, sea salted, and brown sugared pork chops with underwhelming results – but lo and behold, my husband tosses them in some Dale’s and grills them and there’s your dadgum flavor explosion. He is now in charge of all pork chop cookery. Personally, I think just about everything tastes better when grilled.

  62. For me it’s pork tenderloin. It’s just BORING. Too much lean, boneless meat.

  63. Joe Stephens says:

    B.M.- I ain’t no master chef but I love to cook……I read most of the posts by these girls but not all so this may be a repeat…. Nothin, I say NOTHING. Wrong with battering them boogers and frying them, little gravey, etc. , it works for us( here in Texas) and the old grill is great for them after they have layed around in some w’shire/ Italian dressing solution,,,, but all time greatest is a pork loin split down the middle and stuffed with some dressing mix that has been prepared with tiny shrimp and crab meat using chicken stock instead of water, then wrap that dude up in thick sliced pepper bacon and chunk him in the oven( slow and low heat) … The bomb!!!

  64. Sometimes I think you just get a dud piece of meat. And then sometimes I think your taste buds are just DONE with something. I haven’t made swiss steak in many months because the last cubed steak that I bought (and use in my swiss steak) was blah-tasteless. yuck. I am also tired of spaghetti. And pork BBQ-I usually cook my own and I am just SICK of it. I am thinking I am just ready for cooler weather and something different to eat. I am waiting for a cool, rainy day so I can make homemade tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwich.
    PS. I am not tired of bacon-especially some applewood smoked bacon. :-)

  65. I cook pork chops in EVOO and white cooking wine. I cook them slowly in skillet but towards the end uncover them and turn up the heat so that they are blackened somewhat. I love them that way.

  66. Fry them in bacon grease!