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Pork - Choice cuts and how to cook them

Even though pork is quite “misunderstood” by quite a few cultures and religions, it holds a special place in Greece and many other countries, where it is consumed often in pieces and even used to make sausages and deli meats.

It is a red meat and it is divided into the following categories:

  1. Boston butt: Soft, tasty meat due to the fat it offers. It is found between the 3rd and 4th vertebrae. This is the part chosen for soft steaks, perfect for gyro or souvlaki; great for cooking in the pan, in the oven or in the pot.
  2. Neck: A tender area that is chosen for soft steaks; perfect for grilling or baked in the oven. If boneless you can fry them. This is the area ribs are taken from.
  3. Pork chops: They are found on the back, from the middle of the chest up to the coccyx. Great rib chops and center cuts. They are tastier than beef steaks since they have more fat and are perfect for cooking in the pan or on the grill. Boneless they are perfect to be stuffed and rolled.
  4. Spare ribs: These are found where the ribs end close to the belly. They are the most common cuts for bbq’s all over the world.
  5. Tenderoin: This is one of the finest cuts, found on the inside of the spinal column on the along the back. It is perfect mainly for grilling but is also great for roasting in the oven.
  6. Shoulder: This is the front part connected to the shoulder blade. It is perfect for making stews, roasting and grilling (Greek kontosouvli!). This is also the area ground pork comes from.
  7. Leg: This is quite a tough piece that is divided into the pork knuckle and the ham hock. It is ideal for roasting, making schnitzel, ground pork and souvlaki. This is also the part most deli meats are made from.
  8. Chuck: This cut comes from the thigh. The whole leg is ideal for roasting. If cut into smaller pieces, it is ideal to make juicy schnitzel and stews.
  9. Pancetta: It comes from the same part as the pork chops, but from their inner part. It is a quite fatty meat with bone. Perfect for the grill and pot stews.
  10. Knuckle: This is the lower section of the leg. It is ideal for boiling, stews or roasts.

It is also divided into another three categories, depending on weight and age:

  1. Suckling pig: Male or female, up to 20 kilos.
  2. Sows: Female pigs over 20 kilos.
  3. Hogs: Male, castrated over 20 kilos.