Different Pork Cuts, and How to Cook Them
How you cook it is not the only thing that makes meat soft, juicy, and delicious. The other important factor is the meat cut that you use.
5-Minute Crafts would like to tell you about different pork cuts and how to cook them correctly.
Main pork cuts
The most common pork cuts are:
- Fillet, or the tenderloin that comes from the top side of the pig.
- Boneless pork chop comes from the loin area which stretches from the pork shoulder to the rump.
- Spare ribs are located down the side of the pig and reach right down toward the lower rib cage.
- Baby back ribs come from the highest part of the pig’s back.
- Pork belly comes from the fleshy underside of the pig.
- Ham hock comes from the rear leg of the pig.
- Hock comes from the lower shank of the leg.
- Pork shoulder comes from the top of the leg down to the front trotter. It consists of pork butt and picnic shoulder.
- Cheek comes from the cheek area of the pig.
- Trotters are the hooves and sometimes knuckles of the pig.
More detailed information about each cut
1. Fillet (tenderloin)
How to cook: Due to the fact that the meat is low in fat and boneless, it’s very easy to make it dried out and chewy. In order to preserve the flavor and texture of the meat, it’s best to quickly fry or bake it.
This lean meat tastes good even when cooked without additional seasoning.
2. Boneless pork chop
The meat that comes from the area that stretches from the pork shoulder to the rump is one of the most tender cuts. It can be cut into large pieces, chops, or medallions.
Since this type of meat is relatively lean, it’s recommended to choose pork chops on the bone so that they remain juicy during cooking and don’t dry out.
3. Spare ribs
This cut is located down the side of the pig and reaches right down toward the breastbone of the animal. The ribs there have a neat rectangular shape, they’re flatter and straighter compared to the rest of the ribs. There’s not much meat on them, but quite a lot of connective tissue and fat.
4. Baby back ribs
How to cook: Use slow cooking methods such as braising, smoking, or slow roasting.
5. Pork belly
Dishes made from this pork cut go well with starchy foods such as bread, rice, noodles, and potatoes.
6. Ham hock
This meat comes from the rear leg of the pig. It contains a large amount of connective tissue and bones.
How to cook: The meat from the rear leg has a lot of muscles that used to work a lot, so it’s better to use slow braising or roasting to cook it properly. To keep the meat juicy, you can cook it with a lot of moisture, for example in a broth.
8. Shoulder (pork butt and picnic shoulder)
This is the part behind the head, at the top of the leg down to the front trotter. This meat contains a lot of fat and connective tissue. Usually, this large cut is divided into smaller ones: picnic shoulder and pork butt. The meat of pork butt is thicker with more fat marbling. Picnic shoulder is less tender and more marbled than pork butt, although it’s still quite fatty.