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About Pork

Different Cuts of Pork, Types of Pork, Tips for Buying & Storing Pork

Tips for Buying Different Cuts of Pork

Before you head out to the grocery store to pick up some pork for dinner, take some time to educate yourself on the wide variety of pork available.

A section, or cut, of pork may be made up of just one muscle or parts of several muscles plus some bone. Frequently-used muscles, such as those in the legs and shoulders, will produce tougher pork than less-used muscles, such as those in the midsection.

Often, pork cuts contain streaks of fat interlaced throughout the meat. These streaks of fat, referred to as marbling, can add flavor and help tenderize the pork as it cooks. The more marbling a cut of pork has, the better.

DIFFERENT CUTS OF PORK

Different Cuts of Pork - Shoulder Cuts, Loin Cuts, Side Cuts & Leg Cuts

Different Cuts of Pork

The cut of pork you choose will help determine how you should prepare the pork. No matter what method you choose to prepare your pork, make sure it is cooked to an internal temperature of 160°F to ensure any harmful bacteria are eliminated.

Shoulder Cuts Loin Cuts

Pork shoulder cuts are somewhat fatty, which provides the cuts with lots of flavor. These economical cuts are often best cooked using slow, moist heat cooking methods, such as braising and stewing. Shoulder cuts are often also used for making sausage and ground pork. Examples of shoulder cuts include blade roasts and steaks, picnic roasts and hocks.

The loin section provides the leanest and most tender cuts of pork. Tender cuts are usually best cooked using dry heat methods, such as sautéing, grilling, roasting and frying. Many loin cuts are available either boneless or bone-in. Examples of popular loin cuts include tenderloin, loin chops, back ribs and sirloin roasts.

Side Cuts

Leg Cuts

Pork side cuts are tender, flavorful and contain a considerable amount of fat. Cuts from this area are usually best cooked using dry heat methods, such as sautéing, grilling, roasting, and frying. Popular examples of side cuts include spareribs, bacon and brisket.

The leg section, consisting of the rump and back legs, provides lean, flavorful cuts that are not as tender, and often more economical, than loin cuts. Leg cuts are usually best cooked using slow, moist heat cooking methods, such as braising and stewing. Leg cuts can be purchased boneless or bone-in and are often either cured or smoked. Popular examples of leg cuts, include ham roasts and steaks as well as leg cutlets.

Types of Pork - Fresh, Cured & Smoked Pork

Tips for Buying & Storing Pork

Types of Pork - Fresh, Cure & Smoked Pork

There are many different types of pork to purchase, whether it is fresh, smoked or cured.
Fresh pork is meat that has not been cured or smoked. Cured pork, such as prosciutto, is meat that has been salted and then stored until the salt has penetrated the meat. Smoked pork, such as ham, is meat that has been cured and then smoked to give the meat extra smoky flavor.

Tips for Buying & Storing Pork

Pork that you purchase should be pink, firm and moist, while any fat on the edges should be creamy white. The packaging should be cold and in good condition.

Refrigerate fresh pork and use it within two days of purchase. You can freeze ground pork for up to three months or cuts of pork for up to six months.

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