The skin is dry with a reasonable layer of fat underneath, making this one of the best joints to get good crackling from. Slow-roast pork shoulder with sage, garlic and lemon smaller cut from the bone-in spare rib.
If you can, ask for a piece of loin cut from the end nearest the head, i.e. the part with the rib bones in it, as this has a slightly sweeter flavor. Garlic and marriage pork fillet with roast cherry tomatoes very lean cut of meat that is excellent when roasted, if helped by the addition of an extra layer of fat to prevent it from drying out during cooking (usually bacon).
Easy pork tenderloin with roasted feta, rosemary, sage and olive oil potatoes large, rectangular slab of meat that’s excellent for roasting, and is considered to be the tastiest cut by the Chinese. As always, the skin needs to be scored before cooking, and because it is quite a fatty joint, with a good layer of fat directly beneath the skin, it will give very moist, succulent meat and wonderful crackling if properly cooked.
Almond and herb stuffed leg of pork with comfit potatoes, apples and Madeira Allow the meat to come to room temperature before you cook it. Knowing when pork is cooked: pierce the center of meat from the underside of the joint with a fine skewer.
Clear juices indicate the pork is sufficiently cooked, but that the meat will still be beautifully moist. Perfect roast pork should have lovely moist, evenly cooked meat surrounded by crisp, sharp crackling.
If the pork needs to be stored before cooking, leave it unwrapped in the fridge on a lower shelf. Pork cooks much better when the skin is thoroughly dried, and it's essential if you want crisp crackling, so uncovered is best.
At the time of cooking, the pork should be at room temperature, not cold straight from the fridge. Remove it an hour or more ahead of time and leave it covered in a cool, not warm, place.
Even if your butcher has already scored the skin, it helps to add a few extra slashes. Use your hand to massage oil and salt into the skin and make sure it runs into the cracks.
Pork should reach a minimum temperature of 145 F (62 C) according to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Once cooked, remove the pork from the roasting tin and place it onto a serving plate.
Cover it loosely with foil and place it in the oven with the door slightly ajar. If you need to keep the oven hot (i.e., for cooking potatoes or maybe Yorkshire pudding) then wrap the meat completely in foil and keep it in a warm place.
Knowing what pork cuts to choose can be super-confusing, so we’ve put together a guide with all the info you’ll need. This means the animal has led a happy and healthy life, often born and reared outdoors in small numbers where it can forage and exercise as nature intended, rather than being kept in confinement.
If you’re looking to trade up, look for higher-welfare certifications, such as ASPCA Approved or Certified Humane as a minimum. Pork is a great source of protein, vitamins and minerals, but just make sure you choose leaner cuts on most occasions, reserving the fattier pieces for weekend treats.
It can either be minced or diced for cooking slowly in stews, or kept on the bone and slow-roasted until tender and falling apart. The fillet from the top of the shoulder is just tender enough to be cut into steaks for grilling or barbecuing.
Pork fillet is the leanest of all cuts, so it’s the healthiest choice. Marinate or tenderize the fillet, then cook it quickly at a high temperature until slightly blushing pink in the middle for extra-juicy results.
Chump is a cheap cut with delicious flavor and texture. Serve with a tangy chutney or dressing to cut through the fattiness of the chop.
Pork belly is very high in fat, which makes it a delicious and versatile cut. It can be cooked slowly at a low temperature for soft meat that melts in the mouth, or it can be sliced and crisped up in a hot pan.
As a robust cut, it works well paired with aromatic flavors and Asian spices. Pork cheek is such an underrated cut and is really cheap to buy.
Chop and cook it slowly in a stew or reign, or keep whole and braise in a rich and sticky sauce. Italians use pig’s liver to add rich flavor to the base of stuffings or reigns.
Cook them quickly in a hot pan or gently braise them for a soft texture. Whether you have yet to explore the pork section of your grocery store meat case, you’re ready to take your repertoire beyond the pork chops in your weekly meal plan, or you know your stuff and are ready for something new, we are here to help.
This is your guide to getting better acquainted with the five most popular cuts of pork : chops, tenderloin, loin roast, spareribs, and shoulder. We’ll walk you through everything you need to know, from what to buy at the grocery store to how to handle the meat when you get home to the best methods for cooking each cut.
What they are: Pork chops are cut from the loin, which runs from the hip to the shoulder (it’s also where you’ll find the tenderloin). It takes on added flavors from marinades, rubs, and spices with ease.
The tenderloin is a considerably smaller cut, averaging about one pound, and benefits from different cooking methods than the larger loin. Pork loin roast has a bit more fat, although it’s still quite lean, with a mild taste.
Brown the whole slab under the broiler, then let them bake low and slow for several hours until they become super tender. It’s larger, tougher, and fattier than leaner cuts like pork tenderloin and chops.
It can require a lengthy cook time, but the reward is worth it when it hits the table. Kelli is the Food Editor for Plan & Prep content for Kitchen.
She's a graduate of the French Culinary Institute and author of the cookbooks, The Probiotic Kitchen, Buddha Bowls, and Every day Freeze Meals. In fact, in terms of nutrition, pork compares favorably with many proteins, including meats and poultry.
All are tender, juicy, and meaty, and because they’re cut like steaks, they’re perfect for the stove top and grill but equally good in the oven. Lauri Patterson/stock / Getty Images Plus The tenderloin is the full length of the pork’s loin.
Bone-in, it’s at its juiciest and most flavorful, but cooking time will be longer, and the bone can make carving a bit challenging. Whether bone-in or boneless, loin roasts are wonderful when brined, as in this Spice-Brined Pork Roast (here’s why brining works to make your meat so tender), or rubbed with spices and then cooked over indirect heat.
There are a variety of pork shoulder cuts, including the blade roast, which is well-marbled and becomes fork-tender in the slow cooker or with any kind of braising (moist cooking), making a perfect pulled pork. YingkoiStock/Getty Images Plus Ham is the hind leg, and it’s almost always been dry-cured (with salt and spices rubbed onto the surface of the meat) or wet-cured (which is the same thing as brining).
Spareribs: Cut from the belly, they’re larger than back ribs but somewhat less meaty, albeit full of rich flavor. It’s often made from pork shoulder, which gives it an average lean to fat ratio of 70:30.
Relatively speaking, it’s a bargain, so go ahead and try it in meatballs or meat loaf, or in this Jiffy Ground Pork Skillet. Sausage is seasoned ground pork and may be fresh, smoked or cured.
Olivia Sharing/stock/Getty Images Plus Thin-sliced, thick-sliced or sold in a slab; cured or uncured; sweet, salty, smoky or spicy: there are so many types of delicious bacon.