Pork Leg Primal Cut – Ham and Roasts

The leg primal cut is where the hams come from. The entire leg is IMPS Item No. 401, and can be broken down into further processing into the inside, outside, and the leg tip (the pocket roast). The pork leg meat is lean and richly flavored. While cured ham is most commonly processed from this cut, fresh roasts and smaller cuts are also taken from the leg. Pork at the top of the leg is called the butt portion (the butt end of the cut), or the leg “sirloin” roast as it is close to the sirloin. This is also called the Pork Leg, Sirloin On. The bottom part of the leg is called the shank portion as it contains the shank, the portion below the knee. The shank can be Frenched, “pork drumstick roast”, where it is trimmed of meat and fat and the shank bone is partially exposed. The bottom part of the leg is preferred for carving since there is less bones to cut around. Fresh Ham – Pork Leg Roasts and Steaks Fresh ham is the uncured fresh pork leg, cut into roasts or steaks as bone-in or boneless. Since it is not cured, fresh ham will taste like roasted pork or pork chops, rather than the typical smoky flavor of a cured ham. The Steamship Leg of Pork is a large roast from the upper leg, and is typically slow baked and sliced to serve large parties or buffets. The smaller steaks from the leg area are tougher than other smaller pork cuts (like the loin chops) but turn out great after a bit...

Pork Shoulder Primal Cut – Boston Butt, Picnic Shoulder

Pork Shoulder Primal Cut The pork shoulder is the primal cut IMPS Item No. 403, Pork Shoulder. This includes the Boston shoulder and picnic shoulder. These cuts are well marbled, and low and slow cooking methods will break down connective tissues resulting in perfect pulled pork barbecue. Boston Butt The Boston butt has a curious name since it doesn’t even come from the back end of the animal. Boston butt comes from the upper part – or “butt end” of the arm. The name Boston butt comes via a bit of history. According to the Food Standards and Labeling Policy Book from the USDA, the name Boston butt came from Colonial New England butchers who would store and pack this cut of meat (barrels were called ‘butts’, and they came from the general area, thus “Boston butts.”). From the Boston butt, which can be bone-in or boneless, you’ll get the roasts of the same name along with blade steaks and a portion of fat back and lard. Boston butt is IMPS Item No. 406 – Pork Shoulder, Butt, Bone-In, the entire pork shoulder with the picnic removed. Breaking this down, you get the Boston butt boneless (406A, all bones, cartilage, and skin removed) and the lean butt (406B, M. trapezius muscle removed and trimmed of surface fat). Picnic Shoulder The picnic shoulder contains the picnic (boneless or bone-in), arm pork roast, and the shoulder cushion. It is the lower portion of the shoulder, and the term “picnic” cannot be used unless accompanied with the primal or subprimal cut. This is also called the shank end of the shoulder as...

The Seven Basic Retail Cuts of Meat

Meat processors take fabrication step by step. It starts with a side of meat, which is a half. The next processing is quarters followed by the primal cuts. The primal cuts are cut into subprimals and then retail cuts. You may see whole subprimals at a retail store that you can further break down at home, but rarely the actual primal cuts. Here are a couple of charts that detail the basic retail cuts and the bone groups. The picture of the seven basic retail cuts of meat shows a side of beef, but you can substitute lamb or veal here. Pork is slightly different on the bottom, but essentially the same. Images courtesy National Live Stock and Meat Board.   Renee Shelton Renee’s love for tri tip almost surpasses her love for cake. Almost. Really, it’s a tough call here. When she’s not tasting BBQ and dipping in the sauce, Renee can be found at...

Primal Cuts and Bone Structure of Pork

Image courtesy National Live Stock and Meat Board. Renee Shelton Renee’s love for tri tip almost surpasses her love for cake. Almost. Really, it’s a tough call here. When she’s not tasting BBQ and dipping in the sauce, Renee can be found at...
Whole Hog Cooking Guide

Whole Hog Cooking Guide

What to feed a crowd by cooking a whole pig and don’t know where to start? Begin with this guide, courtesy of the North Carolina Pork Council. Select Your Menu What do you plan on serving? Here are some recipes to get your started. All recipes feed a crowd. Carolina Eastern-Style Slaw Piedmon-Style Slaw (Red Slaw) Brunswick Stew Potato Salad Hush Puppies And for the sauces: Basic Eastern Carolina Hot Vinegar Barbecue Sauce Piedmont Lexington-Style Sauce Eastern Carolina Pig Pickin’ Sauce Western Carolina Ketchup-Based Barbecue Sauce Select Method of Preparation For whole hog or shoulders, etc. using wood, charcoal, or gas. Cooking Time For Whole Pig Barbecue Weight of PigCharcoalAmount of GasWoodCooker TemperatureApprox. Cooking Time75 lbs.60 lbs.40 lbs.1/3 cord225-250 degrees6 - 7 hours100 lbs.70 lbs.Cylinder1/3 - 1/2 cord225 - 250 degrees7 - 8 hours125 lbs.80 lbs.1/2 cord225 - 250 degrees8 - 9 hours/* Here you can add custom CSS for the current table */ /* Lean more about CSS: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cascading_Style_Sheets */ /* To prevent the use of styles to other tables use "#supsystic-table-5" as a base selector for example: #supsystic-table-5 { ... } #supsystic-table-5 tbody { ... } #supsystic-table-5 tbody tr { ... } */ Important – Do not exceed 225 degrees F. cooking temperature for the first 2 hours of cooking. If using an “open” grill allow 1 hour per 10 pounds of pork. In order to achieve maximum tenderness an internal temperature of 180 degrees F. or above must be reached. If using gas cooker, read manufacturer’s instructions. When using charcoal or wood distribute more coals under the hams or shoulders and less in the center for...