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5 Popular Cuts of Pork

Updated on June 4, 2010

You have a recipe that calls for pork. That sounds easy enough? However, when you get to the grocery store, you'll see that you have many different cuts of pork to choose from. Luckily most recipes call for one of the five main cuts of pork. If you know when it's right to be these five options then you'll probably be able to make a good pork selection whenever a recipe calls for it.

The top five cuts of pork are:

  1. Pork loin. Pork loin is one of the most common cuts of pork. It is also the most confusing for people. That's because there are several different types of pork loin that are different from one another. For example, you have tenderloin and center cut loin. You also have the all-popular pork chops which come from the loin. When it boils down to it, though, you don't need to know a lot about these differences to properly select loin as your pork when you are making a meal. Pork loin is good for most types of pork recipes. Most importantly, it is generally the best cut of pork for tossing on the grill.
  2. Pork shoulder. One of the great things about pork shoulder is the variety of ways that it can be cooked. You can slice it, put it in a pan and fry it up. You can stick it into the oven and roast it. Heck, you can even just simmer it in its own sauces if you want. This makes pork shoulder a good choice for a lot of recipes that call for pork.
  3. Fresh ham. Fresh ham is generally best for recipes that are going to require you to roast or braise the meet. Although there are some recipes in which you may pan fry or boil fresh ham, ham is typically something to look for when you are going to roast your pork.
  4. Pork belly. This cut of pork seems to be increasingly popular, showing up on menus at rather pricey restaurants. As its name suggests, it comes from the belly of the pig. It is typically cooked by sauteing or pan frying it although it can also be simmered for some recipes. Even if you don't eat whole cuts of pork belly, you probably do eat this product, That's because bacon comes from the belly of the pork. As you might have guessed, this part of the pork tends to be fatty compared to some of the other parts.
  5. Pork ribs. Also called pork spareribs, this is a popular dish if you're someone who enjoys eating ribs. In addition to spareribs, you also have loin ribs. You know them better by the name "baby back ribs". Pork ribs are usually grilled or smoked although they may also be braised. And of course they are often slathered with BBQ sauce!

If you have any experience with eating these different cuts of pork then you know that they all vary a lot from one another in terms of taste and texture. As you get more familiar with selecting these cuts, you'll get a better sense of which one is the right one for a particular meal.


Submit a Comment
  • profile image

    Iunia Dinu 

    8 years ago

    Thanks SOOOOO much! I was doing a science project on pigs and this really helped! I will continue to read this hub because it also helps me with my cooking.

  • MM Del Rosario profile image

    MM Del Rosario 

    9 years ago from NSW, Australia

    thanks for sharing this hub, my favourite is the pork chop, easy to cook...

  • ethel smith profile image

    Ethel Smith 

    9 years ago from Kingston-Upon-Hull

    This will be a very useful hub especially for new cooks.

  • K9keystrokes profile image

    India Arnold 

    9 years ago from Northern, California

    The loin has to be my favorite simply because of ease, quality and versatility of the cut. Thanks for writing this. I will continue to follow.

  • Peter1771 profile image


    9 years ago

    Great Hub, Now if we could only find Pork produced from naturally fed environments.


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