Pork is a very versatile meat – cuts such the tenderloin, shoulder, chops, and ribs all have distinct characteristics and flavors. Chefs Tom Douglas and Thierry Rautureau discuss their favorite cuts and ways to cook them.
Thierry, given any choice of cut, would pick the shoulder. “I love pork shoulder because it’s very diverse,” Thierry says. “You can make a roast, you can do a braise, you can cut it into cubes and make a nice stew, it’s a very diversified piece of meat.”
“I think people think you have to cook it a long time,” Tom adds, “because that’s what you do with pulled pork. But really, it cooks up beautifully medium-rare, too.” For example, he says, you can make pork ka-bobs.
Tom would choose either a rack of ribs or pork sausage. “It’s very versatile,” he says. “Meat balls, meat loaf, you name it.” He recommends adding fennel to give it an Italian flavor, or flavoring it with chili spices.
Thierry thinks many people struggle with pork tenderloins – he says they have a lack of flavor “and it doesn’t have as much personality as a shoulder or a butt.” He says many people try to enliven the cut with sauces or gravy.
Tom prefers cutting the loin into rounds, dredging it in flour and pan-frying. “It’s the Indiana State Fair way of cooking a pork tenderloin,” he says.
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