Pork Loin Cuts

Pork Loin Cuts
This is where we get the leanest and most tender pork cuts. Since they're lean, these cuts tend to dry out if overcooked. Pork is safe to eat if it's cooked to an interior temperature of 160 degrees. There are three main parts of the loin: the blade end, which is closest to the shoulder and tends to be fatty; the sirloin end, which is closest to the rump and tends to be bony; and the center portion in the middle, which is lean, tender, and expensive.
pork back ribs
pork back ribs
These ribs are meatier than spareribs, but they're not as meaty as country-style ribs. Allow 2/3 pound per person.
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pork blade roast
pork blade roast
This somewhat fatty, economical roast is sold either bone-in and boneless. If you buy it as a bone-in roast, make sure that the butcher has cracked the backbone between the ribs so it's easy to carve. Country-style ribs are cut from this piece.
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pork butterfly chop
pork butterfly chop
This is a thick chop taken from the loin eye which is cut almost in half so that it forms a butterfly pattern when opened on the hinge.
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pork center loin roast
pork center loin roast
For many cooks, this lean and tender cut makes the best pork roast of all. One drawback is that it includes part of the animal's backbone, which adds flavor but can make the roast hard to slice after cooking. One solution is to ask your butcher either to cut off the bone and tie it back on or to cut through the backbone in several places so that you can easily slice the cooked roast into chops. If the backbone is removed and the ribs are "Frenched" or trimmed of meat, this cut is called a rack of pork. To make a crown roast of pork, get two racks and tie them into a circular crown. Your roast will be moister if the butcher doesn't trim the big slab of fat that usually comes with this cut. The roast will be moister if you cut the fat off after the roast is cooked. Steaks cut from this roast are called pork loin chops or pork rib chops.
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pork chop
pork chop
Pork chops usually turn out juicier if they're thick and if they're attached to bone. Several different cuts are called pork chops. The most tender and expensive ones are the pork loin chop and the pork rib chop. Next in the tenderness hierarchy are the pork sirloin chop, pork top loin chop, and the pork loin blade chop. Pork arm steaks and pork blade steaks are relatively tough and fatty, but they're very flavorful. They're better if they're braised rather than grilled, broiled, or fried.
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pork country-style ribs
pork country-style ribs
These have more meat than spareribs or back ribs, but they aren't as easy to eat with fingers. Allow 1/2 pound per person. They come boneless (pictured) or bone-in.
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pork loin blade chop
pork loin blade chop
These are cut from the blade roast, which is the part of the loin that's closest to the shoulder. You can grill, broil, braise, or panfry them. Don't confuse this cut with the pork blade steak, which is cut from the Boston butt and is fattier.
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pork loin chop
pork loin chop
This is distinguished by a T-shaped bone that's off to one side. It's a great chop to grill, broil, or panfry.
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pork rib chop
pork rib chop
This is similar to the pork loin chop.
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pork roast
pork roast
You can oven-roast several pork cuts. Many cooks think that the pork center loin roast is the best choice--it's moist, tender, and flavorful. Pork tenderloins are also popular because they're lean, tender, and boneless. As you move away from the center of the pig, the roasts become either bonier or fattier or less tender, but they're more economical and often packed with flavor. Good choices include the pork top loin roast, fresh pork leg, pork sirloin roast and Boston butt.
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pork sirloin chop
These lean chops are cut from the pork sirloin roast.
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pork sirloin cutlet
pork sirloin cutlet
These lean steaks are similar to sirloin chops, only meatier and boneless.
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pork sirloin roast
This is a fairly lean and economical roast. A bone-in sirloin roast contains parts of the hipbone and backbone, so it's tough to carve. It's usually worth the extra money to get a rolled and tied boneless sirloin roast.
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pork tenderloin
pork tenderloin
This cut is lean, tender, and boneless, so it commands a high price. It's delicious roasted, grilled, or broiled as long as you don't overcook it. Tenderloins are usually sold in pairs, and sometimes cut up into tenderloin pieces. If there's a silver membrane on the tenderloin, remove it before cooking.
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pork top loin chop
pork top loin chop
If boneless, these chops are sometimes called pork loin filets.
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pork top loin roast
To make a boneless roast, the butcher puts two top loins together and ties them up, fat sides out.
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