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.
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: