As the name indicates, the tenderloin is one of the most tender cuts of pork. Typically, pork tenderloin weighs between ¾ and 1 ½ pounds.
Pork tenderloin makes an elegant entrée for a small dinner party but also can be roasted or grilled whole for a quick weeknight dinner. When sliced crosswise (like a loaf of French bread), the resulting medallions also may be sautéed.
Pork tenderloin has a mild flavor, so it’s best when prepared with an added spice rub, marinade, stuffing or flavorful sauce. To keep the tenderloin juicy, be careful not to overcook it.
Canadian-style bacon comes in precooked, cylindrical portions that can be sliced or cut as desired. It is delicious as a breakfast meat, on a sandwich, on a pizza or in a salad.
Pork chops can be found under a variety of names including loin, rib, sirloin, top loin and blade chops.
- Has a characteristic T-Bone Shape
Top loin Chops
- Sometimes called Center cut Chops
- 1 ¼ inch-thick top loin chop is also called an “America’s Cut”
- Blade chops are usually thicker and more marbled
- Often are butterflied and sold as pork loin country-style ribs
It’s important to note that all pork chops cook the same. The length of cooking time depends on the thickness of the chop. Thickness can vary from ½ to 2 inches. Whether you choose boneless chops for convenience or chops with the bone attached, the cooking time is the same. Pork chops are likely the least intimidating of all pork cuts because they are so easy to prepare.
A thin, tender cut of pork that are great for a quick meal. They may be prepared to stand alone as a dinner entree or may be used in sandwiches.
Cutlets are best when quickly cooked, either by sautéing or grilling.
Loin roasts are sold either bone-in or boneless. Loin roast can be rolled and tied with string. Loin roasts with a bone tend to be juicer and more flavorful, but the bone can make carving a bit tricky.
Loin roasts are delicious when brined or rubbed with a spice mixture and barbecued over indirect heat. Pork loin roast should not be braised or stewed as they have a tendency to lose tenderness and fall apart when cooked using moist heat.
Pork Rib Roasts
- Contains a bit more fat which makes it flavorful.
Pork rib roast/rack of pork
- Pork equivalent of a standing beef rib roast or a rack of lamb
- Is a simpler version of a pork crown roast, which is a pork rib roast/rack of pork turned into a circle and tied
This cut makes a show-stopping centerpiece for an elegant dinner. Before roasting the pork rib roast, it should be “Frenched”. Simply cut the meat away from the end of each rib, so that part of each bone is exposed. A butcher can do this for you.
- Attractive special-occasion entree created using a pork rib roast/rack of pork
- Formed from a pork rib roast/rack of pork that is tied into a circle, ribs up
Before roasting the crown roast should be “Frenched”. Simply cut the meat away from the end of each rib, so that part of each bone is exposed. A butcher can tie and French the crown roast for you. After the crown roast is cooked, the tips of the bones are often decorated with paper frills. The roast’s hollow center section is often filled with mixed vegetables or other stuffing.
Smoked hocks and shanks are flavorful, inexpensive cuts. Hocks and shanks are often available both fresh and cured/smoked. Ham hocks are most often available cured.
Hocks and shanks provide a rich, smoky flavor that is ideal for flavoring soups, stews and rustic vegetables. Osso buco pork is an example of a delicious Italian dish that is made using shanks.
Long, slow cooking methods will yield tender results.
Hocks are best enjoyed when the mat becomes so tender that it nearly falls away from the bone. Simply chop the meat and add to the dish near the end of cooking time to enhance flavor.
Pork shoulder is sometimes referred to as a picnic. Cuts from the picnic are Boston blade roast and blade steaks.
Boston blade Roast
- A well-marbled cut
- Can be pot roasted whole, cut up for stew or cooked over moist smoke in a smoker to transform it into classic pulled pork barbecue
- Whether it is roasted, braised or barbecued, becomes tender and flavorful
- Also called pork steaks
- Flavorful like roasts because of rich marbling which keeps them tender during cooking
- Popular, quick-cooking cut for grilling