All about pork cuts

All about pork cuts

You can buy with confidence knowing that our Meat Department sources only the highest quality meats from local farms who follow strict organic standards and comply with humane animal treatment.  Our meat never contains antibiotics, hormones, or artificial ingredients. Learn more about our local suppliers by visiting We Love Local. Read on for more information about different meat cuts and some preparation suggestions. And be sure to checkout our Co-op Rub and Marinade recipes.

Boston Butt/Shoulder
This is the choice cut for southern style barbeque or for pulled pork. The name comes from pre-revolutionary New England; lower cuts of meat (nearly everything except the loin and the ham) were packed into barrels called ‘butts’. In Boston the way they butchered pigs became the standard way and thus this cut is referred to as a Boston butt. This cut can also be sliced into shoulder steaks or made into ground pork.

Picnic
This cut of pork is best when braised. It is available in roast or steak form. The roast can be used to make barbecue pulled pork. This is also a good choice for ground pork, cubed kabobs, or sliced thin for stir-fry. Though it is similar to the Boston butt, it has a slightly different flavor.

Loin
The cuts from the loin of the pig are the most tender pork cuts. They also tend to be relatively lean, which means they dry out easily if overcooked. The loin can be divided into three main parts: the blade end (closest to the shoulder), the sirloin end (closest to the rump), and the center portion. Back ribs or baby back ribs are cut from the top of the rib cage between the spine and the spare ribs.

From the blade end we get the blade roast which, can be cut thin into chops. Also from the blade end we get country-style ribs, which have more meat than spare ribs or baby back ribs.

From the center section of the loin come center cut loin roasts and center cut loin chops, sometimes called pork loin filets. This is also where the tenderloin comes from. This cut of meat is very expensive as it is lean, tender, and boneless. This can be cooked whole or cut into medallions.

The sirloin can be found as a sirloin roast, sirloin pork chops, or as sirloin cutlets, which are similar to chops but without the bone.

Spareribs
Spareribs are cut from the lower section of ribs, just below the back ribs and behind the shoulder section of the pig. This cut is generally roasted or barbecued.

Bacon
In the United States this cut of meat is most often made into bacon, however recently the popularity of cooking with fresh pork belly has risen. Fresh (uncured) pork belly is extremely popular in Chinese and Korean cuisine.

Ham
The ham section of the pig is most often smoked and sold as roasts (either whole hams or ham ends) or ham steaks. Ham is a traditional centerpiece for family holidays such as Thanksgiving, Christmas, or Easter.

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