Pork Cuts and How to Prepare Them

We're going to tell you about the different cuts of pork that you can find and how to get the most out of them at a culinary level by taking advantage of their nutrients.
Pork Cuts and How to Prepare Them
Saúl Sánchez Arias

Written and verified by the nutritionist Saúl Sánchez Arias.

Last update: 06 October, 2022

Pork meat is a product with many essential nutrients, which is why including it in our diets can generate certain benefits for our health. However, to get the most out of this type of meat at a culinary level, it’s crucial to know the different cuts that can be made and how to prepare them properly. Not all of them are used for the same dishes.

Before starting, it should be pointed out that the consumption of fresh red meat isn’t harmful to our health, contrary to what many people believe. It’s all about moderation and about avoiding processed versions. In the case of processed meat, there are usually certain additives, such as preservatives, which can damage the body in the medium term. With fresh cuts, however, this risk doesn’t exist.

The main types of pork cuts

Discover which are the main pork cuts and their indications at a culinary level. This way, you will know how to get the most out of them!

  • Pork shoulder: This is the upper part of the legs and shoulders that’s very suitable for cooking in stew and for mincing. In the case that it conserves a portion of bone, it can also be used to prepare a roast.
  • Pork loin: This boneless portion is usually presented in the form of fillets. Normally, it’s prepared grilled. High loin, chops, or shank stand out as the main versions.
  • Pork rib: Normally, the rib is grilled. It has a certain portion of fat that improves the juiciness of the final dish. It also goes great with a light marinade.
  • Ham: This is a very lean pork cut. It’s advisable to cook it with the bone so that it’s juicy. Otherwise, it will be very dry. A preparation with sauce may also suit it well.
  • Bacon: Due to its lipid content, it withstands roasts well. Bacon has a strong flavor and can be included in many different preparations to improve its organoleptic characteristics.
  • Chamorro: This is a portion of the front legs next to the hooves. It’s usually prepared in the oven, as it’s usually quite juicy.
  • Pig’s feet: These are the pig’s feet and are usually cooked or stewed. They can also be prepared in vinaigrette.
Pork cuts to grill
The various cuts of pork should be cooked in different ways to get the best possible use out of them.

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The benefits of pork

The inclusion of pork in the context of a varied and balanced diet generates a series of health benefits. Overall, it’s important that there are no deficits of essential nutrients in the body since certain important physiological mechanisms could be put at risk otherwise.

First of all, the protein contribution of this food should be highlighted. According to a study published in the Annals of Nutrition & Metabolism, at least 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight is necessary for sedentary people to maintain lean mass over the years. In athletes, these requirements can easily double due to tissue wear and tear.

On the other hand, good quality pork can concentrate a significant proportion of fatty acids of the omega-3 series. Of course, this is the case of pigs that have been fed on acorns and raised free-range. In this case, the lipid profile undergoes positive modifications. In fact, these fats have been shown to be able to keep the human body’s inflammatory mechanisms under control.

Finally, reference should also be made to the presence of essential micronutrients in pork. Above all, the iron content stands out. This element is key in the prevention of anemia, as stated in a study published in the European Journal of Haematology. This will ensure the correct supply of oxygen to the tissues and help to prevent situations of fatigue and tiredness.

Pork meat
Meat from free-range pigs provides a better nutritional value.

However, in order to achieve a good rate of iron absorption at an intestinal level, it’s advisable to consume this micronutrient with a dose of vitamin C. For this reason, the combination of pork and peppers is especially beneficial for our health.

Like this article? You may also like to read: Check Out the Calories and Protein in Each Chicken Cut

Prepare pork by taking advantage of the different cuts

As you’ve seen in this article, pork is a healthy food from which different cuts can be extracted. Depending on the type of cut that you choose, you will have to adapt the way of preparation to get the most out of it.

The less fatty pieces will be good grilled, while those with a higher lipid content are optimal for roasting or for cooking in stews since they will be tender and juicy.

Finally, always remember that to maintain a good state of health, it’s essential to ensure variety in your dietary patterns. It’s a very good idea to alternate between the consumption of the different types of meat, besides assuring the presence of fish in your diet. Marine products concentrate a higher proportion of omega-3, as well as essential micronutrients that will help prevent various diseases.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Richter, M., Baerlocher, K., Bauer, J. M., Elmadfa, I., Heseker, H., Leschik-Bonnet, E., Stangl, G., Volkert, D., Stehle, P., & on behalf of the German Nutrition Society (DGE) (2019). Revised Reference Values for the Intake of Protein. Annals of nutrition & metabolism74(3), 242–250. https://doi.org/10.1159/000499374
  • Ishihara, T., Yoshida, M., & Arita, M. (2019). Omega-3 fatty acid-derived mediators that control inflammation and tissue homeostasis. International immunology31(9), 559–567. https://doi.org/10.1093/intimm/dxz001
  • Elstrott, B., Khan, L., Olson, S., Raghunathan, V., DeLoughery, T., & Shatzel, J. J. (2020). The role of iron repletion in adult iron deficiency anemia and other diseases. European journal of haematology104(3), 153–161. https://doi.org/10.1111/ejh.13345

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.