Philippine Cuisine: Common Pork Cuts

Native dishes using pork are excellent viands on the dinner table. But a secret in cooking native recipes with pork as main ingredient is knowing what pork cut to buy for a particular native dish.

Shoulder pork cut or popularly called “Kasim” in the wet market is that part from the upper foreleg to the shoulders of a swine. It is sometimes also called “picnic.” This portion is usually best for native dishes like pork Adobo and pork Estofado. Stewed native recipes like pork Nilaga and pork Picadilio also go well with shoulder cuts.

Pork chops. Chops are found near the nape of the swine. They are pork portions attached to inverted T-shaped bones with a layer of fat and skin on top. Pork chops are very versatile cuts and can be used as a primary ingredient in most native dishes using pork, or as substitute ingredients for the same. For instance, if no “Kasim” is available for pork Nilaga, pork chops may be used instead. Pork chops are best for native recipes like fried or grilled or barbecued pork chops.

Tenderloin. Pork tenderloins are boneless, chisel shaped pork portions found in the upper mid section of a swine. As the name goes, they are super tender and super tasty. They are perfect as main ingredients for native dishes like roasted, baked, grilled, fried, and barbecued pork dishes. Tenderloins also go well as main ingredients of sauced native dishes like pork Mechado, Dinuguan, and Menudo.

Leg cut. Pork legs are often classified into the following: ham, leg, and ground pork. The ham part is often from the hind legs. It contains the edge bone, rear shank, and bulky muscles. Ham parts are one of the leanest parts of a swine. They can be used for stewed native dishes and native cuisines that need curing or smoking like native spiced or sweetened hams. Leg parts are best for native dishes as Paksiw na Pata, Crispy Pata, or Pata Roast. Ground pork from the leg part is good as a main ingredient or as supplementary ingredient.

Pork belly is a cut from under the loin. It is lavish with fat and contains the spareribs with strips of meat attached to the ribs. This is one of the tastiest parts of pork and is best for native dishes like Sopas (macaroni soup), pork Sinigang, and the native cuisine Chop Suey.

With native dishes that use pork as main ingredient, it is important that the right pork cut goes to the particular native cuisine being cooked.
 

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