Cuts of Pork

Pork is an economical meat that is very versatile and can be used in a variety of ways – from bacon, sausages and ham to BBQ ribs, pulled pork and chops, to name a few, and all have different cooking methods.

To get the best cut, visit your local in-store community butcher who can best advise on a cut to suit your needs, and also recommend some top cooking tips!

Loin

Pork loin comes from the back of the pig and is relatively large, lean and tender. As it is lean, it can dry out quickly, so slow cooking is key.

How to cook pork loin

The loin should be seasoned well. Take a large casserole dish with oil, once the oil is heated, sear the pork on all sides (this should take no longer than 10 minutes). Move the pork to a platter (if you are making roast potatoes to go alongside this, drain the fat from the casserole dish and keep it for later). Wipe the casserole dish down and place the pork back inside.

Slow roasted at a low temperature (around 140c) for around four hours to leave tender, juicy meat. Cooking for too long or on too high a heat will leave it dry very quickly.

 

Belly

Pork belly is essentially unsliced, uncured, and unsmoked bacon and comes from the underside of the belly. This cut’s high fat content makes it perfect for roasting to make melt-in-your mouth tender pork with strong, rich flavour.

How to cook pork belly

Score the fat on the top of the pork belly, but do not cut into the meat. With kitchen roll, pay the pork belly dry all around, then rub with oil and generously season with salt and ground pepper. You can add any other seasons you like also. Roast the belly for around 30 minutes in the oven at 220c / gas mark 7 until the skin has crisped, then lower the heat to 160c / gas mark 3. Let the pork roast for around 2 hours. After that, remove the pork belly from the oven, cover it with foil and allow it to rest for around 20 minutes.

 

Shoulder

A pork shoulder is a very large piece of meat and will produce a lot of portions, but it is also relatively cheap. It is quite a tough cut layered with fat. It is great for braising, slow and low roasting, and even barbecuing.

How to cook pork shoulder

Preheat the oven the 220c / 200c fan / gas 7. Thoroughly season the skin with salt and rub it with oil. Set the pork on a rack in a roasting tray. If you do not have a rack, you can simply place it into the roasting tray. Roast for 30 minutes or until the skin begin to crackle, blister and brown. Then reduce the heat to 180c / 160c fan / gas 4.

Leave the shoulder to roast for around 2 hours or until the meat is tender and will fall apart. If you want to get a little extra crackle, after the 2 hours you can turn the oven back up to finish it off, but be sure to check every minute or so that the meat is not burning. Then remove from the oven and allow the shoulder to rest.