Pork is one of the most versatile meats on the market, with a whole array of different cooking techniques, curing processes and innovative recipes that make it many people’s favorite meat. Today we will be explaining some of the classics, and not so classic methods of cooking pork in the hope that we may inspire you to try something new next time you come in store.
Cuts of Pork
Everyone knows what cuts of beef should be used for what dishes, but when it comes to pork many of us aren’t so sure. So, here’s a quick guide to pork cuts to get you started!
Pork shoulder: Best for slow cooking such as roasting or braising, the pork shoulder is typically sold as a boneless 5-10 pound piece. Due to the layering of fat, it stays moist making them perfect for long cooking periods, and if you love pulled pork this cut is a particularly good for you!
Pork Loin: The pork loin is to pork what the fillet is to beef. It is lean, tender, and needs to be treated carefully to get the best flavor and texture from the meat to ensure it doesn’t dry out. Try slow cooking this cut on a low heat, or slice into loin chops and pan-fry to perfection for a quick and tasty pork steak.
Pork Chops: Probably the USA’s best-known cut (courtesy of Homer J Simpson), this versatile cut offers great taste and texture but is easy to cook. The fat and bone keep the flavor and moisture locked in, meaning you can fry, grill, bake or braise! But be aware, chops from the shoulder-end tend to be better for baking or lower heat grilling, whilst those from the loin end tend to be better for frying and high heat grilling. Check with your butcher to guarantee you get the correct ones!
Of course, there are many more cuts of pork which we have not mentioned here including pork belly, ribs (of various types), Hock, Trotters, Sirloin, and even ears, snout and tail! We recommend visiting the Modern Farmer to get the low-down on these various cuts.
Interesting Pork Dishes
As well as cuts, there are many great pork products for you to try. Here are some that we found especially interesting.
Bacon Jam: We know what you’re thinking, “This is just getting silly now”, but in fact, bacon jam has got more and more popular in the last few years and is now being sold at many BBQ restaurants around the country. If you’re feeling adventurous, try making it yourself at home using this recipe from The Savoury Sweet Life for a bacon jam with a bourbon hum!
Andouille: This delicious French sausage is made entirely from pork offal (yes, that’s pig’s innards). Although this sounds off-putting, the sausage is regarded as a delicacy, and with a strong flavor and particularly soft texture. It is surprisingly tasty, fitting in well with any charcuterie plate!
Pickled Pigs Feet: Mmmm sounds yum…right? A delicacy from China, Scandinavia and right here in the US, the pickling process started as a way of preserving pig’s trotters, but it soon became a delicacy in many cultures. Due to the high-fat content of this cut, they are full of flavor and resemble something like ham hock. Just try to forget that you’re eating feet!
Pork is much more than just a meat for roasting occasionally or for frying bacon for breakfast. This blog is just the tip of a pork iceberg when it comes to the dishes you could be exploring so pop in store, try out a new cut of pork and show us on social media what exciting new dishes you create!