You can prepare perfect pork every time by knowing the characteristics of each cut.
A side of pork is made up of four main wholesale areas, called PRIMALS. They are the loin, the leg, the shoulder and the belly. Each has its own characteristics.
Click on this link to see the Canadian Fresh Pork Cut Chart
This is the most lean and tender of the premium-priced pork cuts. It is divided in three sections: the rib (closest to the shoulder), the centre and the sirloin. Cuts from the loin include roasts, chops, cutlets, tenderloins, back ribs, country-style ribs, cubes, and strips. The roasts and chops may be bone-in or boneless. Loin cuts are usually cooked by dry heat* cooking methods. Pork loins can be purchased whole, providing cost savings for buying bulk, and can be cut into smaller pieces (e.g. roasts, chops, strips, cubes) and frozen for future use.
The leg cut is very lean and more economical than the loin. The leg may be sold as a whole roast, or a half, or it may be sectioned into three muscle cuts – the inside, outside and leg tip. Leg cuts may be bone-in or boneless. Hams are cured and smoked legs of pork. Leg cuts can be cooked by dry heat*, but are best suited to moist heat* cooking methods.
This cut is the most economical retail cut. It is divided into two sections – the picnic and the blade. The cuts may be either bone-in or boneless and may be made into roasts, chops, steaks, cubes or ground pork. Moist heat* produces excellent results but dry heat* cooking can be used as well.
The belly provides side ribs, bacon and other processed pork products.
*See the Canadian Fresh Pork Cut Chart for dry and moist heat cooking methods.