Pork Buying Guide

Pork is one of the few meats that work well for breakfast, lunch or dinner. This pork buying guide outlines your options and tells you what to look for when comparing various cuts.

Pork 101

Pork is a delicious and versatile meat that makes a great main course, side dish or flavour enhancer in a variety of different recipes. It’s also very affordable. Savoury pork offerings like roast, chops, sausage and burgers are all family favourites, but usually cost less than their beef and lamb counterparts. There are a wide variety of cuts available, each with its own unique benefits. If you’re looking to enhance a veggie dish or soup, use a cut like pork hock that has a higher fat content. If you want a leaner dish, choose a boneless pork loin. The more fat content a cut of pork has, the more flavour it adds to a dish. 

Types of Pork


Pork Ribs

Pork ribs can be roasted in the oven, but nothing beats grilled pork ribs, especially when slathered with a rich and savoury sauce. There are two basic types: back ribs generally have more meat, are more tender, and therefore a little more expensive. Side ribs have a great flavour, but are usually a little less tender and require more cooking time. Boiling pork ribs beforehand will ensure the meat falls away from the bone after grilling or roasting.

Ground Pork

Ground pork that is a bright pink colour indicates that it is fresh. Ground pork offers a lot of versatility in terms of cooking options. You can make your own pork burger patties, or get adventurous and make pork sausage. Both will benefit from the addition of herbs and spices. You can also stir-fry ground pork with some favourite veggies, or prepare a meatloaf by combining the pork with ground beef. Ground pork usually has a 70%-85% lean meat to fat ratio, so it’s also great for burgers and pasta sauces.

Pulled Pork

Pork shoulder is the best cut to use for making pulled pork. It’s relatively inexpensive with a good fat content. It’s also a very forgiving cut — so even if it’s accidentally overcooked, it still tastes great. To make pulled pork, coat the pork shoulder in a spice rub, and then roast or barbecue the meat until it’s tender enough to pull apart. Then mix the pork with your favorite sauce and serve it with buns for dipping or sandwiches. 

Pork loin

The loin is located on the back of the animal, running from shoulder to rump. It’s one of the leanest cuts of pork, and also one of the quickest to cook. Choose cuts that are light pink in color with some marbling. Since it is so tender, pork loin is best suited for sautéing, pan-frying, or roasting. You can use it to make pork chops for a quick and tasty meal, or make a delicious pork roast in the oven or slow cooker. 

Pork Tenderloin

Pork tenderloin comes from the thinner, end part of the loin. As the name suggests, it’s also the tenderest part of the loin. The tenderloin is a little more expensive, but it delivers more value for your dollar because it’s boneless and contains very little fat. The flavour of this cut is mild, but its full potential can be achieved by marinating with herbs and lemon, or soy sauce. Avoid overcooking your tenderloin to ensure it retains its juiciness.

Pork Chops

When you’re shopping for pork chops, look for a light pink color, white fat, and a small amount of marbling. To ensure tender chops, prepare a solution of ¼ cup of salt to 1 cup of water, and soak the chops overnight prior to cooking. Before you fry or grill pork chops, season them with salt, pepper, garlic, and cayenne pepper. Lean chops can be enhanced by breading or serving with a savoury sauce. 

Pork Roast

The three most popular cuts for roasting are the loin, the leg, and the shoulder. Whichever cut you decide on, make sure the meat is light pink with a little bit of marbling. Oven roasting will help you achieve a delicious crispy shell, but you should use a meat probe and check it for doneness towards the end of your cooking time. A slow cooker is more convenient and can make an equally tasty roast.  

Pork Hock

The pork hock is taken from the ankle joint and is often used to add flavour to soups or veggie dishes. Simmer the pork hock in your favourite pea soup to add some extra zest, or serve it with collard greens. Since it is primarily made up of skin and tendons, this cut of pork often needs to be stewed or braised for long periods of time. 

Pork Buying Tips:

• Pork should be light pink color with a little bit of marbling
• Pork should be firm
• Pork fat should be white with no dark spots
•  Pork should always have at least a small amount of fat around the outside of the bone

Pork Safety & Storage Tips:

• Raw pork should be purchased immediately before checkout at the store and refrigerated as soon as possible
• Thoroughly wash all surfaces that come in contact with raw pork before using them for other purposes
• Pork that is sealed and pre-packed can be kept in the fridge for 2-3 days, and in the freezer for 6 months
• Wrap your cut of pork in specially coated freezer paper, aluminum foil, or plastic bags for effective freezer storage
• Make sure to cover bones that are jutting out with extra paper, so they do not tear the wrapping
• Push as much air out of the package as possible and label it with the name of the pork cut and date
This article is intended as general information. Always be sure to read and follow the label(s)/instruction(s) that accompany your product(s). Walmart will not be responsible for any injury or damage caused by this activity.



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