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Selecting Cuts based on Cooking Methods

When shopping for pork there are several things that you need to consider so that you will be assured of purchasing the correct quantity, quality and type of pork to satisfy your needs. It is important to be familiar with the different cuts that are available, know what to look for when visually checking the meat, and be able to determine how many servings per kg the cut will provide. The following information will help you make a purchase suited to your needs.

Decide how much time and effort you want to use in preparing and cooking the cut you select. Chops and steaks will take less time to cook than a roast but require more attention during the cooking process.

· When feeding a large group, preparing and cooking a large roast may be less effort than trying to cook individual chops or steaks for each person. It also gives you time to attend to other dishes since the roast will need little attention while it is cooking.

· Cuts from the loin are very popular and easy to cook but are more expensive than the cuts from the shoulder, which contain more fat but are very flavorful and tender.

· Ribs are always a favourite, but will the mess created by ribs be suitable for the occasion?

· Select the right thickness of chop for the intended use. To grill, broil, braise or stuff, select chops 2.5 – 4 cm thick, or for a quick sautéing, select chops that are no more than 1cm thick.

Different cuts have several methods of cooking that are best suited to that cut. If you want to use a particular method of cooking, you will want to purchase a cut that is suited to that method. See the chart below for the suggested cuts best suited to the different cooking methods.

The shoulder consists of cuts that contain a high level of fat, which provides flavor and tenderness. Roasting, braising and stewing are cooking methods used for these cuts. The steaks from this area are best when grilled, broiled or braised. Cuts from the loin are tender and lean. Chops from the loin are generally grilled, broiled, pan-fried or braised. The roasts are generally roasted or braised. Cuts from the leg/ham are lean but not as tender as the loin. The roasts from this cut are generally braised and the steaks are grilled, broiled, pan-fried and braised. The cuts from the side/belly are very flavorful, but contain a fair amount of fat and are generally broiled or pan-fried. Ribs are generally roasted, braised, grilled and broiled. See the chart above for cooking methods to use for different cuts.

Grilling and broiling

Pork chops / cutlets, pork loin steaks, pork neck steaks, escalope, pork belly- thick cut, ham steaks, tenderloin / fillet medallions, bacon, minced pork, patty, sausages


Collar / neck roast, rack roast, loin roast, belly roast, shoulder roast, crown roast, ham, loin ribs, ribs - St. Louis style, tenderloin


Cubes (from shoulder, belly and topside)


Shoulder, neck, belly, ribs, cutlets, pork shanks (hocks), sausages (saucission vaudois)


Strips, cubes-small (strips and cubes can be trimmed from cuts of the shoulder, neck and loin)


Pork chops / cutlets, pork loin steaks, pork neck steaks, escalope, pork belly - thick cut, ham steaks, tenderloin / fillet medallions, bacon, minced pork, patty, sausage


Cutlets, escalope, cubes, strips (It is difficult to deep fry larger cuts and achieve proper doneness without burning the outer surface.)


Ribs, cutlets, ground pork, cubed or diced pork


Shoulder, neck, pork knuckle (shanks/hocks), uncooked sausage (poach briefly before frying, grilling or broiling)


Pork chop / cutlets, neck steaks, tenderloin medallions, bacon, pork patties, strips (all cuts should be no more than 1cm thick to sauté properly)


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