Which Piggy Went to Market?

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When pork makes its debut on a menu, there are a variety of cuts available to consumers. We see titles like shank, loin and chop adorning the menus around town, and are left wondering, what’s the difference? What is the most tender of these cuts? Well, all deliver rich flavor and protein. Pork successfully breaks up the mass onslaught of red meat items blaring from every steakhouse menu. But today, we help you make slightly more informed dining decisions, by telling you what each cut is, and who is here to give you the best of that cut in Jackson.

The pork loin is where the leanest and most tender cuts of pork come from. The loin muscles get little use, which is why the meat is so tender. Because these cuts are so lean, they can dry out if overcooked. A pig has two loins, each running alongside the spine from the shoulder blade to the leg. The ember pork loin at Hayden’s Post delivers a shining example of a pork loin. These blackened pork loin medallions are paired with smashed sweet potatoes and drizzled with a bourbon maple sauce. Cure this craving when Hayden’s Post reopens this weekend, on Saturday. 

Pork shank is the lower portion of a ham. Most commonly butchered as a part of the leg bone, pork shank can be lean but tough. Therefore, slow roasting, braising or simmering can add tenderness to this cut of meat. Local is serving up a succulent example of this cut with their crispy pork shank entrée. The Snake River Farms pork shank is paired with a rich, and subtly spicy, creamed corn, as well as salsa verde.

The pork chop is cut from a section of the pork loin. Because the loin runs along the entire spine, pork chops can be a part of numerous sections of the loin, resulting in: shoulder chops, rib chops, loin chops, or sirloin chops. Rendezvous Bistro’s grilled pork chop is a rich, comfort dish typical of their style of elevated nostalgia. This chop is served up on a bacon and white bean ragu. In Italian cuisine, ragu is a meat-based sauce, and this version delivers on those elements of richness. Also on the plate are sautéed greens, adding both color to the plating and lightening the heaviness of the dish. Finally, thank Wyoming Whiskey for the bite to the maple glaze. Maple, a quintessential fall flavor, will have visions of Vermont dancing through your dreams. Hurry in, though, because Rendezvous Bistro likes to switch up their seasonal pork chop offerings. big hole bbq pulled pork

When it comes to pulled pork, Big Hole BBQ has it covered. Pulled pork tends to come from shoulder cuts of the meat. The meat is slow-cooked by smoking. At home, without a barbecue, the meat can be similarly cooked with a slow cooker. Big Hole BBQ is serving up pulled pork as a sandwich and entrée, or as an addition to quesadillas, salads, and tacos.

Want to make an incredible pork dish at home? In Park City, readers went nuts for Savoury Kitchen’s apple-apricot stuffed pork loin. Now, it’s our pleasure to share the recipe with our Jackson readers as well:

Savoury Kitchen's Apple-Apricot Stuffed Pork Loin

Ingredients

    For the brine:
  • 2 quarts water
  • 1 pint apple cider
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2/3 cup salt
  • For the chutney:
  • 1/4 yellow onion
  • 1 cup apple, diced
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup dried apricot
  • 1 cup golden raisin
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup water
  • For the pork:
  • 1, 3- to 4-pound pork loin
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

    For the brine:
  • Heat water to a boil and stir in the rest of the ingredients. Cool liquid, then soak pork loin in prepared brine for 18-24 hours.
  • For the chutney:
  • While the pork is soaking, make the chutney. Sweat onion in a bit of canola oil in a medium-hot pan until translucent. Add apples and lightly coat with the sugar. Cook another 2-3 minutes. Add apricot, raisin, cider vinegar, salt and water. Simmer until thick.
  • For the pork:
  • To prepare pork loin, remove from brine and pat dry. Using a chef’s knife, butterfly the loin. Once the loin is butterflied, lay plastic wrap over the loin and use a meat mallet to pound the meat to an
  • approximate thickness of 3/4 inch. Place approximately 3/4 cup of prepared chutney evenly on the pork loin. Roll the pork loin and truss, using butcher’s twine (you can use skewers to close off the loin once rolled as well) to keep securely closed. Coat the pork loin in salt and pepper to your liking. Sear all sides of the loin in a hot sauté pan with canola oil. Once pork loin is seared, brush on the pure Vermont maple syrup and place in 375 F oven. Cook for 30-40 minutes or until it reaches an internal temperature of 145 F. Let rest for 10 minutes, then slice and serve with chutney on the side.
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About Author

Raised in the land of casseroles and deep fried cheese curds, Sam Simma left rural Wisconsin for the mountains of Wyoming in summer 2012. Her appetite for adventure is the only thing that rivals her passion for food. She has always used writing to document and critique her travel and dining experiences. Her warmest memories among family and friends have been associated with the food that was at the center of the occasion. From staging cooking shows with siblings to perfecting turtle brownies with her dad, today Sam enjoys connecting people over food by hosting cookie decorating parties, wine pairing nights, and Midwest-inspired potlucks. A dessert fanatic, she has come to impress friends and family with key lime pies, Oreo bon bons, and Snickers ice cream cakes that are far simpler than they could ever imagine. Shhh! Don’t tell.

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