Knowing Your Pork Cuts


Knowing Your Pork Cuts

On the Menu @ Butcher Block

Thursday, July 16, 2020

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Pork is a very popular meat; it's easy to cook, adaptable to just about any recipe, and very tender and juicy. Thursday Food , with the help of Butcher Block Master Meat Crafter Gregory Burrowes, highlights the different pork cuts and two pork chops recipes.

There are four main primal cuts of pork and from which retail cuts of meat are produced. These are the shoulder, the loin, the leg, and the side or belly of the pig.

Hocks: The hock or knuckle is the joint between the tibia/fibula of the leg and the metatarsals of the foot. The pork hocks come from the front; the ham hocks come from the rear legs.

Leg or Ham: The leg or ham is the rear leg of the pig and is typically eaten cured, smoked, and processed in some way.

Pork Belly: The pork belly is, as the name implies, the belly of the pig. Bacon is pork belly, cured, smoked, and sliced.

Spareribs: These come from the picnic ham which is the lower portion of the pig, specifically the belly and breastbone. They start behind the shoulder and include 11 to 13 long bones. Country-style spareribs contain a combination of both dark and light meat.

Pork Shoulder: Pork shoulder (also called pork butt) is the cut of pork that comes from the upper part of the shoulder from the front leg and may contain the blade bone. Boneless pork shoulder is popular as a roast. The pork shoulder or pork butt is the most common cut used for pulled pork, a staple of barbecue in the southern United States.

Picnic Ham: The picnic ham (sometimes referred to as the picnic shoulder) is the lower part of shoulder of the pig and is typically sold bone-in.

Loin: The pork loin comes from the pig's back and is typically large, lean, and very tender.

Sirloin: To the rear of the loin is the section of the back that the sirloin is cut from. This meat is typically cut into chops and is lean and tender.

Baby Back Ribs: The most tender rib option is the baby back rib. Since these ribs come from the pork loin, the meat in-between the bones is a loin meat rather than belly meat.

Chops: Pork chops are the most popular cut from the pork loin, which is the strip of meat that runs from the pig's hip to shoulder.

How To Cook A Pork Chop

It's important to note that all pork chops cook the same. The length of cooking primarily depends on the thickness of the chop. Thickness can vary from to 2 inches. Whether you choose chops boneless for convenience or chops with the bone attached for their attractive appearance, the cooking time is the same. Pork chops are likely the least intimidating of all pork cuts because they are so easy to prepare.

Pork Chop Grilling Tips

Don't be afraid to ask your butcher for advice picking out the best chop for the occasion.

Bone-in chops often provide the most flavour. There is fat (flavour) found around the bone, and the bone does a lot to keep the meat from drying as it's cooked.

Avoid using sharp utensils to pierce the meat when flipping, which would allow valuable juices to escape.

Don't overcook your chops! Pork is best enjoyed (and safe!) when cooking to 145 F, followed by a three-minute rest.

Thai Ribeye Pork Chops

Serves: 4

Serves: 4


4 New York boneless ribeye (rib) pork chops (about 3/4- to 1-inch thick)

1/4 cup soy sauce

1/4 cup cilantro (chopped or 1 tablespoon dried cilantro)

3 cloves garlic (crushed, about 3 tablespoons)

3 tablespoons brown sugar

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1 lime (juiced)


Whisk together the soy sauce, cilantro, garlic, brown sugar, vegetable oil and lime juice in a bowl.

In a large baking dish, arrange the ribeye pork chops in an even layer. Pour the marinade over the pork chops, reserving about 1/4 cup of the marinade in the refrigerator for later use.

Marinate the pork chops for 20 to 30 minutes.

Heat an indoor grill pan or outdoor grill to medium-high heat. Remove pork chops from the marinade, discarding the excess marinade. Place pork chops on the hot grill for 4 minutes on each side, flipping once until the internal temperature of the pork measures between 145 degrees F (medium rare) and 160 degrees F (medium) on a meat thermometer.

Transfer the grilled pork chops to a cutting board and let rest for 3 minutes before slicing against the grain.

Pour the reserved marinade over the sliced pork before serving.


4 pork chops (thick-cut boneless, top loin, about 1 1/2-inches thick)

2 tablespoons smoked paprika

4 1/2 teaspoons hot pepper sauce

1 teaspoon cayenne pepper (or to taste)

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon onion powder

2 cups cherry tomatoes (halved)

1 cucumber (peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dices)

1/4 red onion (halved and thinly sliced)

1/4 cup fresh parsley (chopped)

1/4 cup blue cheese dressing (or more to taste)

Salt & pepper


In a small bowl, combine smoked paprika, hot sauce, cayenne, salt, garlic powder and onion powder, stirring to make a paste. Divide paste into two small bowls, with about 2/3 of paste in one bowl, and 1/3 in another. Arrange pork on a plate or platter and use a butter knife to thinly spread about 2/3 of the spice paste from one bowl over both sides of the meat. Loosely cover with plastic wrap and set aside at room temperature for 30 minutes.

Prepare a grill to medium-hot heat and lightly oil the grate. Grill pork until the internal temperature reaches 145 degrees F (medium rare) to 160 degrees F (medium), 4 to 5 minutes per side. (It's okay if some of the spice paste sticks to the grill.) Transfer chops to a platter and spread remaining spice paste from second bowl on top, and set aside to rest 3 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the cool cucumber-tomato salad: In a large bowl, combine tomatoes, cucumber, onion, parsley and salad dressing, tossing gently. Add more dressing and salt and pepper to taste.

Serve chops with cucumber-tomato salad alongside. Pass additional hot sauce at the table.

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