Some pork cuts include pork shoulder, picnic ham, front hock, pork loin and pork chops. Other cuts include baby back ribs, pork belly, spare ribs, sirloin and hock.
Pork shoulder, also called pork butt or Boston butt, comes from the front of the pig, generally packaged as 5- to 10-pound roasts. Picnic ham comes from just below the shoulder; some meat packers refer to it as a picnic shoulder. Picnic hams are fatty, tough and usually sold as bone-in hams.
Stores typically label the front hock from the pig as a ham hock. Stores sell this pork cut brined and smoked. The pork loin cut comes from the back of the pig and is tender, lean and sold as a whole roast. Stores sell pork chops bone-in or boneless in thick or thin slices. Butchers take the chops from the meat of the pig that is perpendicular to the spine, usually from the pig’s loin.
When butchers debone the loin, the ribs taken from the loin are baby back ribs. The meat between the ribs is loin meat, unlike spare ribs, which contain belly meat. Baby back ribs are tenderer than other ribs.
Pork belly comes from the pig’s belly. Meat packers use it to make bacon, packaging it as sliced, smoked or cured.