Pork Cuts 101

Pork; the other white meat.

Pork is the most consumed meat in the world. There are a variety of different cuts of pork. The meats from the upper half of the pig tend to be leaner and more tender. “Low and Slow” grilling for the tougher meats will make the cuts juicy and tender. Most of the cuts can be found at the grocery store while others may need to be purchased at a butcher.

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Pork Shoulder / Pork Butt

Pork shoulder, commonly called “Boston Butt,” relatively tough cut of meat. A favorite for any barbecue. It can be found in the grocery store with or without a bone, in the 5-10lb range. Cooked “Low and Slow,” the layers of fat melt and make the meat very tender and juicy. Typically served as Pulled Pork Sandwiches.

Pork Belly

Pork belly is from the underside of a pig. It is a boneless piece of meat that is a real delight on the table.  Bacon is cured, smoked, and sliced pork belly. Sliced thin and cooked over high heat on a grill. Korean’s call this samgyeopsal.

Ribs

Cooked Low and Slow. Usually prepared either “wet” or “dry.” “Dry” is cooked with a dry rub that is applied to the port before grilling. “Wet” ribs are basted with Home made Sauces  or Store Bought Sauces while grilling. Brushed the last 30 minutes for best results and prevent any burning from sweet sauces.

Baby Back Ribs

Extremely tender ribs from the meat between the bones of the loin. They are named “Baby” back ribs because they are smaller than spareribs.

Spareribs

Spareribs can come either regular or St. Louis style. St. Louis style is squared and cartilage is removed. Cut of meat from the belly and have a meaty flavor.

Country Style Spareribs

Cut of meat found just below the Picnic Ham. It contains a lot of meat between bones of both white and dark. Knife and fork for these ribs. These are the meatiest of the pork ribs.

Pork Loin

Pork Loin includes cuts such as tenderloin, Crow Roast, and Pork Rib Roast or Rack of Pork

Tenderloin

One of the most tender cuts of pork, hence the name “tenderloin.” Tenderloin is a delight for small dinner, usually served with a sauce because of its mild flavor.

Pork Crown Roast

Crown Roast is decorative and attractive for special occasions and holidays. Usually purchased from a butcher “Frenched” and tied with string making a crown and filling the center with stuffing.

Rack of Pork

Rack of Pork contains a little more fat that adds flavor. Looks elegant on a plate to impress anyone. Usually purchased at a butcher and “Frenched”

Pork Chops

Pork chops are the most common cut of pork. Pork chops come in a variety, Porterhouse, Ribeye, and New York. All the styles of pork chops cook the same way, and are easy to prepare and grill.

Ham

Ham, the rear leg, is most often purchased cured, smoked and processed. Hams can easily be purchased in the grocery store, usually as cured, smoked, “Ham with water added,” and fully cooked. Read the label. Excellent sliced thin. Seen many times on the dinner table during holidays.

Sausage

Sausage is ground pork often in a casing. Ground pork can come from many cuts of pork, including shoulder and loin. Extremely usable and versatile in cooking a variety of meals from Stuffed Peppers, Sausage Links, Burgers, Spaghetti Sauces, and Stuffing.

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