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Pork 101: A complete guide to pork cuts from Tender Belly

Posted June 26, 2018

Photo ofPork 101: A complete guide to pork cuts from Tender Bellyby Tender Belly

At Tender Belly, we believe in "waste not, want not," which means we use every piece of the pig—nose to tail. It keeps us creative and means we have a lot of meat to work with in order to create delicious and sustainable products.

We know firsthand the options can be a little overwhelming to the novice pork chef. To help you navigate the never-ending world of pork cuts, we created this guide solely dedicated to helping you choose the absolute best cut for your all of your pork needs. 

Keep reading to find out more about each of our delicious Tender Belly pork cuts that are available for purchase. 

BELLY

What is it?

Pork belly comes from exactly where it sounds like: the hog’s belly. We have three types of pork belly available for purchase. The Rib-In Pork Belly is one side of the whole belly primal that has the spareribs attached. The Single Rib Pork Belly is our thickest, boneless belly cut, which includes one side of the belly with the spare rib meat attached. Unlike the Rib-In Pork Belly, the Single Rib Pork Belly does not include the rib bones, just the extra meat. Finally, the Berkshire Belly is a boneless and skinless cut of fatty belly meat that displays the most luxurious, rich intramuscular marbling.

How should it be prepared?

The Rib-In Pork Belly cut is a good option for the home chef that wants to save some cash by cutting the spareribs off themselves. More experienced chefs may want to leave the sparerib on and cut a pork belly chop. The Berkshire Belly is most often used to make bacon, but is equally delicious when braised or roasted.

Why buy it?

These fatty cuts have a unique milky flavor!

 Pork Belly

PORK TENDERLOIN

What is it?

Pork tenderloin, which comes from the hog’s back is a boneless cut that has a rich, buttery flavor and marbling that rivals the finest steaks. This small, lean, and delicate cut is one of the most tender pork cuts available.

How should it be prepared?

This cut is best when grilled, roasted, panfryed, or even slow cooked.

Why buy it?

The quintessential pork cut comes from the finest loins around, meaning you won’t be disappointed by this fresh and delicious cut!

 Tenderloin

PORTERHOUSE PORK CHOP

What is it?

Similar to the beef porterhouse, the Porterhouse Pork Chop cut comes from the hog’s back and includes the tenderloin and the loin. The meat displays intramuscular marbling that creates a tender, juicy, and perfect chop. A hand saw or butcher saw is required in order to cut the porterhouse into chops.

How should it be prepared?

This chop is perfect for grilling or roasting.

Why buy it?

This bone-in loin is the premiere choice for pork chop lovers. It is no wonder that this is our most popular cut of pork sold.

Porterhouse 

RIBS

What are they?

We offer two types of pork ribs: Baby Back Ribs and St. Louis-style spareribs. Baby Back Ribs come from deboning the pork loin located on the hogs back, while St. Louis-style spareribs come from the hog’s belly. Because of this difference, Baby Back Ribs are the more tender option.

How should they be prepared?

The Baby Back Ribs taste great cooked on the grill or in the oven. A little salt and pepper is all that is needed on these ribs. St. Louis-style spareribs are great for smoking, braising, grilling, or cooking in the oven. They can be doctored up with a secret family sauce, or like the Baby Back Ribs, they will be delicious with just some salt and pepper.

Why buy them?

We pretty much guarantee that our ribs are the best ever! Bonus: Our 100% ABA Berkshire baby back ribs are even juicier than the average rib because of the intramuscular marbling that keeps the meat tender, so customers can look forward to fall-off-the-bone goodness with each bite.

Ribs

STRIPLOIN

What is it?

The striploin comes from the loin, which is located on the hogs back. This is one of the leaner, more tender cuts on the hog.

How should it be prepared?

This is the perfect cut for roasting, slicing into chops, or making schnitzel. Due to the beautiful intramuscular marbling of this section of meat on the Berkshire hog, our Striploin is more moist than conventional pork, so it is unnecessary to tenderize this cut or use strong flavored ingredients when preparing it.

Why buy it?

It's called America's cut for a reason: it's everyone's favorite!

 Striploin

BOSTON BUTT

What is it?

Fear not, this is not actually the butt of the hog. It instead comes from a section of the hog’s shoulder! The Boston Butt was given its unique name during colonial times when the English would ship this prized section of the hog overseas from Boston in barrels called “butts.”

How should it be prepared?

The best way to cook the Boneless Boston Butt is by low roasting, braising, or smoking it whole for delicious carnitas tacos and pulled pork sandwiches. It is also an ideal cut for slicing into steaks or grinding into homemade sausage.

Why buy it?

This is one of the tastiest and most versatile cuts. The intramuscular marbling keeps this cut moist, tender, and delicious.

 Boston Butt

 

We'd love to know: what's your favorite Tender Belly pork cut and how do you prepare it? Share your tips on social using the hashtags #tenderbelly and #certifiedawesome. 

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