5 Popular Cuts of Pork
When most people think of pork, bacon and pork chops are likely what comes to mind. Those are classic and delicious to be sure, but there are also many other cuts of pork, all distinctly different. From super affordable to slightly more expensive prime cut meats, pork is incredibly versatile.
At Lakewood Meats & Sausage, our handcrafted sausages have earned us a reputation as Lodi's best butcher shop. However, we also feature an extensive range of other premium, locally-sourced, and ethically-raised meats — including pork. To highlight this affordable and well-rounded meat, we compiled a handy guide to the five most popular cuts of pork.
1. Pork chops
Pork loin chops are cut from the center of the loin and are typically rather meaty. They're quite mild, making them ideal for a wide range of recipes. While you can find pork chops in both bone-in and boneless varieties, bone-in are more prevalent and tend to be a bit more affordable. They often resemble smaller T-bone steaks, but they're much leaner than beef, so it's important to not overcook pork chops or they become dry. Pork chops are best grilled or pan-fried.
2. Pork loin
This large cut comes from the pig's back with a hefty layer of fat and it can be either bone-in or boneless. Pork loin is especially diverse and is popular for smoking, roasting, and slow-cooking. Purchasing a large loin is a wonderful way to feed a family, as it's affordable and easily makes several meals. Boneless pork loins can also be sliced into smaller individual chops. Try this delicious recipe, a pineapple glazed pork roast stuffed with bacon wild rice from Half Baked Harvest.
Although they sound nearly identical, pork tenderloin and pork loin are distinctly different prime cut meats. According to Taste of Home, "Pork tenderloin is long and skinny, and it’s always sold as a boneless cut." Tenderloins are about one pound in size, which means they cook quickly, making them perfect for quick weeknight meals. Cook pork tenderloins in a pan on the stove or oven-roast them.
There are two main types of pork ribs: baby backs and spare ribs, also called St. Louis ribs. Baby back ribs are juicy and sweet, plus especially meaty. Spare ribs don't have as much meat on their bones, but are incredibly flavorful, thanks to a thick layer of fat. Whichever you prefer, roast or grill "low and slow" for the most tender ribs.
5. Pork butt
Pork butt, or "Boston butt," is a versatile cut that's most commonly slow-cooked and then shredded. This meat typically comes in large cuts of 5-10 pounds. Use simple seasonings and cook over very low heat, then shred the meat and turn it into pulled pork BBQ sandwiches or carnitas tacos.
Lakewood Meats & Sausage sells all of these pork cuts, plus other options including sausage-stuffed, bacon-wrapped pork loin and garlic-stuffed pork chops. We also offer a wide range of specialty prime cut meats, sides, and desserts. Stop into Lodi's best butcher shop Monday through Saturday or order meat online for shipping or pickup.