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Common Pork Cuts: A Quick Guide by Premier Food Choice



For those new to cooking, you've probably had a little confused moment when it comes to choosing from different meat cuts. What parts are used for what dishes? What cooking methods are best for each part? Perhaps sometimes, even those who have been cooking for quite a while at one point also had to take a step back to check if they were using the right cut. If you've ever found yourself asking these questions, worry not! Below, we've rounded up the most common pork cuts and a brief guide on what cooking methods pair up with them best!


Pork Belly

  • One long cut of meat with plenty of fat worked into the meat

  • Usually cured into bacon or pancetta, braised, or grilled

SHOP ON OUR WEBSITE: Premier Pork Belly Sliced

Pork Loin Chops

  • Thicker cuts with bone still attached are the juiciest and most flavorful

  • Great for grilling, broiling, or pan-frying

  • Comes in several cuts

  • Pork Loin Chops

  • Pork Rib Chops

  • Pork Sirloin Chops

  • Pork Top Loin Chops

Pork Shoulder

  • Well marbled with fat and a bit tougher than other chops

  • Great for braising, slow and low roasting, or barbecuing

Picnic Ham

  • Often sold bone-in

  • Good for braising or smoking

  • Sizeable fat cap is also good for cracklings

Front Hock/Ham Hock

  • Usually sold brined and smoked

Pork Loin

  • Large, lean, and most tender pork cuts

  • Best for slow roasting

  • Can become dry if overcooked

  • Includes three sections:

  • Blade End

  • Sirloin End

  • Center Pork

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Pork Baby Back Ribs

  • Cut from the section of the ribcage closest to the backbone

  • Much leaner than spareribs

  • Good for grilling and barbecuing

SHOP ON OUR WEBSITE: Premier Pork Baby Back Ribs SHOP ON OUR WEBSITE: 6-Hr Smoked Pork Baby Back Ribs (Ready to Heat) SHOP ON OUR WEBSITE: Premier Pork Meaty Riblets

Pork Country-Style Ribs

  • Meaty, tender, boneless ribs from the upper side of the ribcage

  • Good for braising and shredding into pasta sauce or pounding flat for grilling and pan-searing as cutlets

Pork Spareribs

  • Least meaty of the pork ribs but popular for their tender-chewy texture

  • Good for grilling and barbecuing

Leg Ham/Rear Leg

  • Often cured, smoked, or processed in some way

Rear Hock

  • Usually sold cured and smoked

OUR TIP FOR YOU When purchasing pork, look for firm, pink flesh as a sign that your pork is fresh and of good quality.

When cooking pork, remember that primal pork cuts from the top of the pig (e.g. pork loin) are leaner and more tender compared to tougher cuts (e.g. shoulder and hocks). For the latter, try cooking methods that are low and slow to make them tender and juicy.