Pork Cuts 101 – Everything You Need to Know About Pork Cuts

Pork cuts rib chops

In honour of our new range – Cedric Walter Hot Roast Pork – we thought we’d spread some basic pork education that every foodie should know. In this post, we’re going to go through the most popular cuts of pork and their ideal cooking methods. This information is adapted from Australian Pork and Jamie Oliver.

Shoulder

Shoulder meat is highly versatile and well marbled. Shoulder can be minced, diced or kept on the bone and slow roasted to perfection. The best way to cook cuts from the shoulder is low and slow, as this will ensure that the connective tissues in the muscle break down and leave you with fall-apart tender meat.

Loin

Pork cuts loin

Pork loin is lean, tender and a classic joint for roasting. It can be cooked in one piece with the bone in, deboned or stuffed and rolled. The layer of skin on the outside of the loin makes for delicious crackling. You can also cut the loin into chops, which are great for pan-roasting and grilling.

Tenderloin

The tenderloin is one of the most tender cuts of pork available. Pork tenderloin has a delicious mild flavour, and it tastes great when paired with a spice rub, marinade, stuffing or side sauce. Tenderloin can be roasted or grilled whole, or sliced clockwise into medallions, which taste best when sauteed (fried quickly in hot fat).

Leg

Leg is usually roasted whole, but can also be boned and cut into smaller roasting joints or thinly sliced to make steaks (called ‘escalopes’). Pork legs are very lean, so they can easily dry out when cooked too slowly. Cooking the meat on the bone will help to keep the meat moist and produce juices that are perfect for making gravy. Escalopes should be grilled or fried quickly – to ensure tenderness, consider marinating the escalopes or tenderising them with a meat tenderizer (or the end of a rolling pin) before cooking.

Belly

Pork cuts pork belly

Pork belly is quite fatty but very tender and flavoursome. Belly is versatile – it can be cooked slowly (braised or roasted) at a low temperature, or sliced and crisped up in a hot pan. Streaky bacon is taken from the pork belly.

Hock/Shank

Pork hock/shank/knuckle is an economical cut that can be made fall-apart tender with low and slow cooking (thanks to its collagen, which breaks down during cooking). This cut is a favourite in Germany, and can be used to infuse soups (like pea and ham soup) or stocks with delicious smoky flavour.

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Want to know more? Find out more about pork cuts.

Don’t forget to head to your local Woolworths and pick up some of our Cedric Walter Hot Roast Pork!