What Is Pork
Pork is the culinary name for the meat of the domestic pig.
Pork is eaten both freshly cooked and preserved. Curing extends the shelf life of the pork products.
Ham, smoked pork, gammon, bacon and sausage are examples of preserved pork.
Pork is the most popular meat in the Western world.
It is also very popular in East and Southeast Asia including Mainland Southeast Asia, Philippines, Singapore, East Timor, and Malaysia.
This meat is highly prized in Asian cuisines, especially in China, for its fat content and texture.
Some religions and cultures prohibit pork consumption, notably Islam and Judaism.
Navigating yourself through the pork section at your local butcher or supermarket can sometimes be a hard task if you don’t know what you’re looking for to start with.
Don’t worry, we are here to help you understand the different pork cuts!
The following is a quick guide to what cuts of pork you might encounter and what they may be used for when cooking up a storm.
Please, refer to the pork cut diagrams while reading.
Pork cuts diagrams
Pork cuts of meat list
The head of the pig can be used to make brawn, stocks, and soups.
After boiling, the ears can be fried or baked and eaten separately.
The cheeks can be cured and smoked to make jowls.
The lower parts of the head as in the neck, is perfect slow cooked and pulled.
Above the front limbs and behind the head is the shoulder blade.
It can be boned out and rolled up as a roasting joint, or cured as bacon.
Also known as spare rib roast and joint, it is not to be confused with the rack of spare ribs from the front belly.
Pork butt, despite its name, is from the upper part of the shoulder.
The Boston butt, or Boston-style shoulder cut, comes from this area and may contain the shoulder blade.
The Loin comes from the pigs back. It is large, tender and simply delicious.
The Loin is typically used for roasting, however is also great sliced into steaks seasoned and fried up.
Pork Shoulder & Arm Shoulder
The Shoulder, yes, comes from the shoulder of the pig!
You will typically find this large cut in the roast section of your supermarket.
The shoulder is quite a tough cut, layered in fat which makes it exceptional for low and slow roasting, for a long period of time.
Pulled pork is a classic dish for the shoulder.
The arm shoulder can be cured on the bone to make a ham-like product or be used in sausages.
Belly is from the underside of the pig, and is a super versatile cut of pork, mainly because of its high fat content.
While it’s typically used for bacon, our fresh pork belly roasts are perfect for roasting and braising.
Pork Ribs are also taken from the belly, and are great for cook ups and feasts.
You will usually find the leg cured and smoked and served as ham, however the fresh leg is great for roasting and braising.
The Pork Chop is found running alongside the Loin, and can be cut from the shoulder end (fattier) or the loin end (leaner).
You will find these often bone in or out, cut thick and thin, however, they are simply a delicious cut.
The joint between the feet and the leg, known as ham hock or pork knuckles, is cooked in many countries.
Often a recipe will call for it.
Best Roast Pork Cuts & Cooking Times
For a pork roast, it is best to use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature of the meat – but this is not essential.
|Pork Cut||Oven temp||Cook time||Internal meat temp|
|Loin||160°C (320℉)||35-45 minutes per 500g of pork.||71°C (160℉)|
|Whole fillet||170°C (325℉)||25-30 minutes per 500g of pork.||71°C (160℉)|
|Scotch fillet||170°C (325℉)||25-30 minutes per 500g of pork.||71°C (160℉)|
|Shoulder||160°C (320℉)||35-40 minutes per 500g of pork.||71°C (160℉)|
|Leg||170°C (325℉)||30-35 minutes per 500g of pork.||71°C (160℉)|
|Rolled Leg||170°C (325℉)||25-35 minutes per 500g of pork.||71°C (160℉)|
Pork Cooking Tips
How to cook pork perfectly & exactly how you like it.
- Do not overcook pork or it will become dry and tough.
Pork doesn’t need to be overcooked to be safe. In fact, pork can be eaten with a hint of pink in the middle (with the exception of mince and sausages).
The threat of trichinosis is eliminated when the pork is heated to 71°C (160℉) to be safe.
- Like all meat, pork continues to cook after removal from heat.
For best results, let your dish rest uncovered for 1-2 minutes in a warm environment prior to serving (except for sausages and mince).
- When frying or sautéing, do not place a cover over the pan. This will lock in moisture and cause the meat to braise or steam.
- Lightly coat pork with vegetable oil to keep it from drying out during cooking.
- Before roasting pork, sear all sides to create a flavoruful crusty surface on the meat.
- Do not overcrowd pork cuts when cooking. Leaving space between them will allow them to brown and cook more evenly.
- If using a marinade for basting, set some aside before placing raw pork in it to marinate. Never reuse marinade that the meat was marinated in.
- Poach uncooked pork sausages for a few minutes before frying, broiling or grilling.
Sausage casings should not be pierced before poaching.
Piercing will cause the juices to be released and sausages will become dry.
- Do not partially cook pork and then store in refrigerator to use later.
It must be cooked until done.
It can be partially cooked or browned using one method, such as microwaving or searing, and then immediately cooked until done using a different method, such as roasting, frying, grilling or broiling.
- Always cut meat across the grain to keep tender.
- Avoid frequent prodding of the meat while cooking.
- For best results, meat should be brought to room temperature prior to cooking.