How to prepare juicy and flavorful grilled pork neck chops aka Coppa steaks. Use a Vietnamese marinade or any of our many suggested options.
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Read on for a few useful tips and step-by-step pictures (1 min)
About the Cut of Pork
Pork collar chops are also known as Coppa steaks, pork neck chops or pork neck fillet steaks because they are carved out from the muscle of the animal that runs above the shoulder, from the base of the pig’s neck to the tip of the loin.
Because the richly flavored pork collar is traditionally used to make coppa salami (aka capocollo) sometimes they are also referred to as coppa steaks (our local butcher for example strongly favors this name).
The meat is beautifully marbled with fat and when it cooks the rendered fat adds to its already full, intense taste. These are by far our favorite pork chops.
Marinade for Grilled Pork Neck
Marinades only flavor the surface of meat (they do not penetrate deeper into the flesh), but in the case of pork neck this is quite enough. You do not have to brine it first – the generous marbling of the cut will make sure the grilled chops are moist as they cook. As the fat melts away it simultaneously moistens and further flavors the chops.
So – for juicy and flavorful pork collar chops all you have to do is prepare a tasty marinade and let them spend some quality time in it. To demonstrate the process we used this Vietnamese marinade, one of our favorites.
We’ve rounded up more Grilled Pork Marinades in case you are seeking inspiration.
How to Grill Pork Collar Chops
- Prep. Pat dry the collar chops and use kitchen scissors to snip 4 to 5 incisions per steak as shown above (optional, see TIP below). Mix a marinade of your choice.
- Marinate. Place the collar chops in a freezer bag or a non-reactive container and completely cover with marinade. Place them in the fridge for a couple of hours (overnight works great) and occasionally move them around to be sure the marinade flavors all the possible surfaces of the meat.
- Grill. Before you grill, bring the chops to room temperature. Preheat your grill to medium-high, clean the grates and grease them. Scrape off the marinade form the pork neck chops and grill over direct heat. If you’d like to create grill marks, rotate the chops 45 degrees after about 2 minutes of grilling on the first side. Repeat after you flip them to the other side.
- Doneness. Even though pork is food safe at 145 F, we recommend that you go higher than that. Grill the chops until they look appetizingly charred, yet are still juicy. Thicker chops will need a bit longer, if the thickness varies between individual chops remove thinner ones from the grill earlier and let them rest loosely covered with foil.
TIP: Making several half inch deep incisions around the periphery of each chop is a signature practice in Vietnam. It allows the marinade to penetrate deeper into the pork and flavor it better. You can do this when you use other marinades as well.
Serve Vietnamese Pork Chops
If you choose to prepare neck fillet pork chops Vietnamese style as shown, then we most enthusiastically recommend that you try the vibrant looking scallion ginger sauce you see in the pictures. It tastes pleasantly sweet, with a playful zing and perfectly complements the flavors of the grilled pork. We like to pair the so presented grilled chops with either white rice or cold vermicelli noodles.
Otherwise select sides that work with the flavor profile of the marinade you used.
Other Recipes You Might Enjoy
- 4 pork collar chops (about 1 inch thick each)*
- 4 tbsp vegetable oil (or other neutral cooking oil)
- 1 1/2 tbsp rice vinegar
- 2 tbsp fish sauce
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tbsp shallot, finely chopped
- 1 tbsp garlic, minced
- 3 tbsp brown sugar
- 1 stalk lemongrass, trimmed and finely chopped (or 2 tbsp dried or 2 tbsp lemon grass paste)
- 1/4 tsp pepper
1. Pat dry the pork neck chops and use kitchen scissors to snip four to five incisions around the periphery of each, about 1/2 inch deep each (optional**).
2. Mix the rest of the ingredients to make the marinade. (If using dried lemon grass soak it in water first for 2 hours.) Alternatively, mix your favorite pork marinade or choose one of these Pork Marinade Recipes.
3. Place the neck chops in a freezer bag or a non-reactive container and completely cover with marinade. Refrigerate for a couple of hours (overnight works great) and occasionally move them around to be sure the marinade flavors all the possible surfaces of the meat.
4. Bring the marinated chops to room temperature. Preheat the grill to medium-high, clean and grease the grates.
5. Scrape off the marinade and grill chops over direct heat. If you’d like to create grill marks, rotate the chops 45 degrees after about 2 minutes of grilling on the first side. Repeat after you flip them to the other side. Grill until temperature is above 145 F (about 170 - 180 F is ideal, more fat has rendered) and they look nicely charred and appetizing.
* Other names for pork collar chops include pork neck chops, pork neck steaks, pork collar steaks or coppa steaks.
**Making incisions is an authentic Vietnamese practice for pork chops. The small cuts allow the marinade to penetrate deeper into the meat and flavor it better. You can do this before you use other marinades as well - it is a clever trick.
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 265Total Fat: 16gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 8gCholesterol: 45mgSodium: 123mgCarbohydrates: 15gFiber: 0gSugar: 9gProtein: 24g