The Tasty World of Pork: From Bacon to Tenderloin

Here’s the lowdown on the different cuts of pork, along with some mouthwatering recipes. No offense to Piglet, but we’re about to dive into a pork extravaganza that will make you forget about Peppa.

Bacon

Bacon is so beloved that it could easily be named the national food of the United States. According to market research experts, 65 percent of Americans would choose bacon without hesitation. It’s no wonder that bacon has become a breakfast staple, often paired with pancakes and syrup.

Bacon can be made from various cuts of pork, but it’s most commonly derived from the belly or the back. The key to its unmistakable flavor is its thin slices, salt, and sometimes smoking. Keep in mind that bacon prices can vary significantly, with the average retail price as of June 2021 being around $6.67 per pound.

Bacon Recipes

If you’re looking to elevate your bacon game, try these delectable recipes:

  • Gluten-free zucchini-bacon egg muffins
  • Maple bacon waffles
  • Bacon corn dip
  • Low calorie bacon cinnamon rolls

Ham

While we all enjoy a good Simpsons meme, did you know that steamed ham is an actual, delicious thing? Ham is a cured meat that comes from a pig’s leg. It can refer to whole cuts or slices of mechanically formed meat. Don’t be alarmed by the term “mechanically formed.” Sliced ham is completely safe and tasty to eat. In fact, there are plenty of healthy ham salad recipes out there.

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The price of ham can vary depending on the type and the store. On average, as of June 2021, ham costs around $3.78 per pound. Ham can be served hot or cold, smoked or salted, and it pairs perfectly with eggs.

Ham Recipes

If you’re craving some ham, check out these delicious recipes:

  • Maple glazed ham (perfect for the holidays)
  • Easy broccoli and ham quiche
  • Diabetes-friendly breakfast egg and ham burrito
  • Eggs benedict with ham, paleo-style

Pork Belly

Pork belly, as the name suggests, comes from the belly of the pig. It’s a boneless, fatty cut of meat that can be fried or baked to achieve a crispy rind. This unique combination of tenderness and crunch makes pork belly a popular choice in East Asian, Hispanic, and Scandinavian recipes.

One of the notable things about pork belly is its affordability. In 2020, the price of a pound of pork belly dropped to just $0.41, the lowest it had been since 1999.

Pork Belly Recipes

If you’re looking for flavorful and budget-friendly meals, try these pork belly recipes:

  • Crispy pork belly tacos
  • Sticky Chinese-style pork belly
  • Norwegian spiced Christmas pork belly ribs (Ribbe)
  • Lechon kawali (Filipino crispy fried pork belly dish)

Pork Chops

Apart from bacon and ham, pork chops are one of the most popular ways to enjoy pork in the United States. On average, as of June 2021, pork chops cost around $4.09 per pound. They are a lean and unprocessed cut taken from the shoulder, specifically from the sides and back between the lower ribs and pelvis.

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Pork chops can be cooked in various ways, including frying, roasting, grilling, or stuffing. They pair well with many flavors, but apple is a particularly delightful combination. Pork chops are available in boneless and bone-in varieties and are typically cut to a thickness ranging from 0.5 to 2 inches.

Pork Chop Recipes

If you want to add some pizzazz to your pork chops, give these recipes a try:

  • Apple cider glazed pork chops
  • Apple, bacon, and blue cheese stuffed pork chops
  • Malaysian-style garlic butter pork chops
  • Hoisin glazed pork chops

Pork Ribs

If you enjoy the delightful experience of savoring every bit of meat off the bone, pork ribs are the way to go. There are different types of pork ribs available:

  • Spareribs: These are ribs with hard bones and cartilage removed, typically from around the belly.
  • Baby back ribs: These shorter and leaner ribs come from around the spine or the “loin” in butcher terms.
  • Country-style ribs: A meatier option sliced from the shoulder end of a pig’s loin.

As for the price, it fluctuates depending on the type of ribs. As of July 2021, pork ribs cost an average of $2.45 to $3.59 per pound.

Pork Rib Recipes

Ribs can be cooked in a variety of ways, from skillet to slow cooker. Here are some rib recipes to whet your appetite:

  • Crispy fried pork ribs
  • Fall-off-the-bone oven-baked ribs
  • Crockpot ribs
  • Spiced skillet country-style pork ribs

Pork Shoulder

Pork shoulder, also known as picnic shoulder or picnic roast, is a cut from the shoulder of the pig. It’s perfect for roasting, and you can achieve a crispy crackling on the outside if that’s your preference. Compared to ribs and chops, pork shoulder is quite affordable, costing less than $2 per pound on average.

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Pork Shoulder Recipes

If you’re ready to explore the wonders of pork shoulder, here are some recipes to consider:

  • Pork roast with crispy crackling
  • Pernil (Spanish roasted pork)
  • Char siu (Chinese BBQ pork)
  • Schweinebraten (German roast pork shoulder)

Pork Steak

Pork steak, also known as pork blade steak, is a cut from the shoulder (or butt) of the pig. It differs from pork chops in terms of fat content, offering a more succulent texture. While specific price data for pork steak is unavailable, they tend to be cheaper than chops on average.

Pork Steak Recipes

For some succulent pork steak dishes, check out these recipes:

  • Tandoori pork steaks
  • Pork blade steaks with sage butter sauce
  • Air fryer pork steak
  • Filipino pork steak

Pork Tenderloin

Pork tenderloin, also called pork fillet, is a long, thin cut of pork that’s incredibly tender. It’s mainly composed of lean muscle and is commonly used in pork tenderloin sandwiches. While prices can vary, tenderloin tends to be on the expensive side, costing around $4.46 per pound on average. However, it’s usually sold by the slice rather than in pounds.

Pork Tenderloin Recipes

If you’re in the mood for some tenderloin cooking, here are some delicious recipes to try:

  • Juicy baked pork tenderloin
  • 30-minute roast pork tenderloin
  • Pork tenderloin with honey garlic sauce
  • Rosa di Parma (Italian stuffed pork tenderloin)

Don’t miss out on the amazing world of pork. From bacon-wrapped delights to succulent roasts, there’s something for everyone to savor. So fire up the stove, get cooking, and dive into a feast fit for a pork aficionado.

Hook’d Up Bar and Grill