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The farmers’ guide to pork cuts

Pork is one of Australia’s favourite meats, second only to chicken. But how much do you really know about each cut? We take you through what’s what, and how to get the most from each delicious cut.

Pork consumption in Australia has nearly tripled since the 1980s with the average Australian now consuming 27.9kg of pork per year, putting it in between chicken and beef in the list of our most consumed meats.

Once considered a red meat, pork was reinvented as “the other white meat” through a marketing campaign categorising pork as a lighter, healthier option.

Improved production methods have resulted in leaner pork, as well as pork which is so perfect it can even be served pink.  But how well do you know the cuts of this very popular and versatile meat?

Here, at AustralianFarmers, with the help of Australian Pork Limited, we want you to get the most of every cut of this amazing meat. Here’s our guide to what’s what, and how to cook it to perfection.

Pork cuts - Source: Australian Pork Limited

Leg

The pork leg - or back leg of a pig - is very lean and very tender, used for steak and roasting cuts. Most commonly, the pork leg is cured and smoked to produce ham.

Cooking suggestion: Leg roast. For the perfect roast pork and the crispiest crackling, take these few simple steps from Australian Pork Limited.

Hock

The hock requires long cooking through stewing or braising, and is commonly used in German cuisine and to flavour soups and stews.

Cooking suggestion: Try this slow cooked Tuscan pork hock.

Loin

The pork loin, between the shoulder and back legs, is the leanest, most tender part of the animal, and becomes chops, cutlets and roasts. The loin is ideal for dry heat cooking.

Cooking suggestions:  Oven baked pork loin chops with rosemary and baby onions, Creamy mushroom and port loin steaks and Sticky Chinese pork stir-fry

Belly

While self-explanatory, the boneless pork belly is now popular for roasting, as the juicy layers of fat make it meltingly tender, or it can be rolled and processed to make pancetta.

Cooking suggestions: Honey roasted pork belly and Sticky BBQ pork ribs.

Shoulder

Once again, rather obvious, pork shoulder is meat from the shoulder of the pig. Pork shoulder is an inexpensive cut of meat layered with fat. This meat should be cooked low and slow for a few hours, transforming it into tender, juicy shreds that fall apart with the touch of your fork, such as pulled pork.

Cooking suggestions: Pulled pork sliders and Malaysian pork rendang curry.

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