Years ago, cookbooks instructed readers to cook pork until it reached a scorching internal temperature of 180 degrees. Back then, the pork chops that landed on our plates were dry and leathery, and we often used lubricants like applesauce or sauerkraut to help get them down. After more careful research, food scientists now tell us that pork is safe to eat after it reaches an internal temperature of 160 degrees. At that temperature, pork can be juicy, tender, and flavorful.
fresh pork leg
This makes a great roast for a large crowd. It's usually cured as ham, so you might have to special-order it to get it fresh. It's sold either boneless or bone-in, and either whole or halved. The bottom half is called the shank portion = shank roast = leg roast, while the upper is called a top leg roast = inside roast = butt portion = pork leg butt = fresh ham butt = pork leg roast sirloin portion. A steak cut from the leg is called a fresh pork leg steak.Learn more
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.Learn more
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.Learn more
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.Learn more
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.Learn more