Pork Cut Sheet FAQ and Explanations
This sheet is intended to accompany the cut sheet that you can fill out with your order and get back to us. We will take that order with us to the butcher and relay the information. The cut sheet is nearly identical to the butchers in order to make mistakes as minimal as possible.
To start off, the hog is broken down roughly into 5 basic primal cuts. These are: The loins, ribs, hams, shoulder, and belly. Out of these areas you get a variety of cuts. Sausages are made from scraps and other sections of the hogs. We will go through each section below.
From the loin we get pork chops, boneless pork chops, loin, and or tenderloin. There are several cuts here depending on what you want. Because several cuts share the same pieces of meat and/or bone, you can’t have everything. For example, if you want pork chops then that means the tenderloin is part of the chop. You can’t have pork chops AND tenderloin as they are the same piece of meat, just prepared differently.
Common combinations from the loin:
- Bone in pork chops. This will leave you with a nice loin roast and butt roast from the tail end of the loin. The tenderloin lies under the loin is is part of the chops. These roasts tend to be in the 3lb range for our hogs.
- Boneless pork chops and baby back ribs. (The bone in baby back ribs is part of the same bone on bone in pork chops)
- Whole or cut tenderloin roast and baby back ribs.
If you had something special in mind send us an email or call. The butchers can probably do it(such as center cut ribs roast, or canadian bacon, etc) but we’ll have to check with them to see what you won’t be getting. It’s all tradeoffs when you’ve only got so much meat to work with. 🙂 We personally go with #1 for the abundance of meals with bone in chops. Delicious!
Spare ribs are the most common cut here. They grill up amazingly on the grill and are an excellent summer treat.
The country style ribs aren’t actually a rib, but we placed them here. They are actually more like a steak. The cut comes from the front of the loin where it meets the front shoulder. The often have a small bone, but lots of meat. Since it’s so close to the shoulder they also tend to have more fat and marbling than other cuts. They cook well on the grill, broiled in the oven, or fried.
By far one of the best cuts on the hog. Also known as Boston butt and Picnic shoulder. You can do a couple things here.
- Get one large roast for a big party. 7-9lbs
- Get the shoulder split into half for two smaller roasts. 3-4 lb roasts.
- Get the shoulder made into blade steaks.
- Turn the shoulder into sausage
You can get the shoulder fresh or smoked. Fresh is good if you plan to cure and smoke it yourself. If not, we recommend getting it smoked. It’ll help lock in the ,moisture when you’re cooking, and provide a bit of subtle smoky barbecue flavor to it.
We also highly, highly, highly recommend the two small roasts. They are absolutely phenomenal on the grill or even in the oven. One of the best cuts on the entire animal. Plus, with two small roasts you can try one as is, and have another to experiment with sauces or seasonings.
The ham is very similar to the front shoulder.
- Get one large roast for a big party. 7-13lbs
- Get the ham split into half for two smaller roasts. 3-7 lb roasts.
- Get the shoulder made into Ham steaks.
- Turn the shoulder into sausage
- Combo! Make ham steaks from the meaty center section of the ham, and leave the ends of the ham in tact as small ham butt roasts. (3-4lb roasts)
Almost always we go with #5. We love ham steaks. They make a quick and easy meal on busy days. Plus, we’re able to get a couple small ham butts for nice dinners or barbecues when we have company over.
As with the shoulder, we strongly recommend getting them smoked if you’re not going to do it yourself. Non smoked cuts tend to dry out much more during cooking and do not retain the same level of tenderness.
From the belly comes our bacon. If you don’t want bacon you can always turn it into sausage. If you do want bacon, it should be smoked for the ultimate in fine pork dining. We just need to know how thick you would like it sliced, and how many lbs per package. Most packages in stores and farmers markets are 1 pound.
Everything that isn’t made into delicious cuts is made into ground sausage. Actually, if you wanted to turn the entire hog into sausage you could certainly do that. Anything that you don’t really want could be turned into sausage.
Most side of pork have enough meat to make two batches(or flavors) or ground sausage. Occasionally on small hogs there is only enough meat for one flavor. The butchers require at least 25 lbs to mix the spices up in the proper ratios. Larger hogs we generally always get a choice of two flavors.
You can have just plain ground pork as well if you’d like some versatility in adding your own seasoning depending on the dish. Ground pork is great when cut with beef to make meatloaf, burgers, meatballs etc. Most common packages are in 1 pound.
The left over parts which will come with everything will be Fatback, leaf lard, sliced heart, and sliced liver.
The Fat back is great for rendering down and making suet blocks for the birds, making cured fatback, or adding to beans other cooking dishes.
Leaf lard is the classic source of cooking lard for pies and pastries.
Let us know if you have any questions or need anything at all clarified. Thank you!