HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >

Pork "dark meat" - what cut??

orangewasabi Mar 8, 2008 02:11 PM

So, you know in a pork loin roast there's two parts: 1/ the big lump that is "white meat" with no fat and 2/ "dark meat" that is the smaller lump and the little nub attached to the white meat. The dark meat usually has a couple streaks of fat in it.

Can you buy a cut of JUST that dark meat bit? does it have a name? are there other bits with a similiar dark meat/fatty texture?

anyone else have a clue what I am talking about?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Dmnkly RE: orangewasabi Mar 8, 2008 02:13 PM

    I believe that's just the tenderloin, isn't it?

    6 Replies
    1. re: Dmnkly
      orangewasabi RE: Dmnkly Mar 8, 2008 02:32 PM

      is it? the tenderloin always seems to be 'white meat' like to me but obviously I'm kinda clueless

      1. re: orangewasabi
        Dmnkly RE: orangewasabi Mar 8, 2008 02:58 PM

        I'm sometimes a little fuzzy on how the pieces of the puzzle all fit together (I'd really like to watch the whole beast being broken down into the individual cuts sometime), but I'm 98% sure that's the tenderloin. If you cut that pork loin roast into chops, you have yourself pork T-bones, don't you? In which case, yeah, on one side you have the loin and on the other side you have the tenderloin. And when it comes to large-scale commercial pork, the tenderloin usually has a nice red color as opposed to the practically white loin. Not that the tenderloin is a terribly flavorful cut.

        In any case, if you're into darker pork (right on!), you might want to try avoiding the supermarket and hunting down some heritage pigs. I think you'll find the whole critter then has that intensity of flavor you're looking for.

        1. re: Dmnkly
          Uncle Bob RE: Dmnkly Mar 8, 2008 04:53 PM

          Pork T-bone..????? That would be a center cut (bone-in) pork chop.

          1. re: Uncle Bob
            Dmnkly RE: Uncle Bob Mar 8, 2008 05:43 PM

            Yes, that wasn't clear... I meant the pork equivalent of a T-bone :-) I was trying to illustrate that it's the same basic structure -- T-shaped bone with the loin on one side and the tenderloin on the other.

            1. re: Dmnkly
              orangewasabi RE: Dmnkly Mar 9, 2008 10:15 AM

              Yeah, I really need to see a whole animal broken down too, but I did totally get your pork t-bone picture and yeah, that totally makes sense -- maybe that's why the loin roast falls into those two parts, the separation is where the bone was? I am having a hard time processing that the dark bit is tenderloin though, just because pork tenderloin is so blah and that dark bit is more flavouful, moist and fatty Yay! The logic makes sense though.

              Heritage pigs . . . here I come.

        2. re: orangewasabi
          torty RE: orangewasabi Mar 8, 2008 02:59 PM

          To me the loin is the really lean white one, and the skinny tenderloin is the "dark" meat.

      2. h
        Hank1 RE: orangewasabi Mar 8, 2008 02:36 PM

        I also favor the "dark meat". One of the best ways to get it is with country style ribs.

        In fact country ribs w/ sauerkraut and potatoes slow cooked in the crockpot is tomorrows dinner.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Hank1
          orangewasabi RE: Hank1 Mar 9, 2008 10:17 AM

          is country style a cut? what makes country style vs your regular pork or babyback ribs?

        2. Uncle Bob RE: orangewasabi Mar 8, 2008 02:41 PM

          Maybe check out a Boston Butt...Pork shoulder....If I am following you it sounds as if your pork loin roast came from the blade (front of hog) end of the loin where it connects to the shoulder...

          1 Reply
          1. re: Uncle Bob
            orangewasabi RE: Uncle Bob Mar 9, 2008 10:16 AM

            boneless roast, you got it right.

            I'll check out the boston butt, thanks. i gotta find some more of this fatty stuff.

          2. Uncle Bob RE: orangewasabi Mar 8, 2008 04:51 PM

            Are you talking about a bone-in roast or a "bonless" roast.?? Sorry if I assumed boneless. If you are talkling about bone in...then the larger portion is loin, the smaller portion the tender loin...Your local grocery carries pork tenderloins. Look for thiem or just ask

            1. r
              Rick RE: orangewasabi Mar 8, 2008 06:07 PM

              I know exactly what you're talking about. I buy a large pork loin at Costco and I get that dark and white meat just like you do. The dark is definitely better but I've never seen it sold by itself. I'm guessing that the dark part is much worse for us, but don't know for sure.

              1. Mild Bill RE: orangewasabi Mar 8, 2008 07:43 PM

                Like Uncle Bob said, a Boston Butt Roast...

                Those dark reddish pork steaks you see with the small bones thru them are sliced from this cut...

                Great hunk-a-meat...

                1. m
                  mommycook RE: orangewasabi Apr 10, 2008 05:48 PM

                  Check out the website of the National Pork Board - www.theotherwhitemeat.com.
                  Click on "All About Pork", then go to "Getting to Know the Cuts" - and you can get more specific from there... They have some diagrams that might be helpful.

                  1. yumyum RE: orangewasabi Apr 11, 2008 08:14 AM

                    In the Boston area, I often see this "dark meat" labeled as sirloin. Either sirloin chops or a sirloin roast. Much more flavor than the tenderloin (white meat) and my preference when I am making a pork roast.

                    1. FoodFuser RE: orangewasabi Apr 11, 2008 07:34 PM

                      Here's a neat pork myology site with cross-sections thru the whole animal. Best I've seen.


                      Play around there and you'll find the answer to the muscle you have. The "fabrication" videos are also great.

                      1. h
                        hugocole RE: orangewasabi Feb 21, 2012 01:10 PM

                        I know this is an old thread, but can't help but add my 2 cents because this question has plagued me for the past couple of years and I've cooked many, many roasts trying to recreate the slippery, slurpy pork roasts that have comprised my favourite pork experiences.

                        First, the tenderloin is definitely dark meat, but with almost no fat. This makes it quite lovely, but lacks the slipperiness that I like and which requires heavy marbling of fat and connective tissue.

                        I quickly was directed to the shoulder, but got misguided somewhat by claims that "the meat next to the bone is moister". This led me to make a lot of bone-in picnic roasts, which almost never satisfied me. Too dry. Lots of white meat. Not nearly enough dark. I experimented with water, temperature, cooking vessel, never was satisfied.

                        Finally I somehow ended up trying what my grocery store calls "shoulder blade roast". Bingo. Exactly what I was looking for. Bone in, boneless, doesn't matter to me. ALL dark meat, tons of fat and connective tissue marbling, just perfect. I am barely interested in any other cut of pork any more. I double brown it - once in the frying pan, and then uncovered in the oven at 450 until it's got crispy edges. Then I put a bit of water in the bottom of the roasting pan, cover it and turn it down to 250 and leave it for 2 hours or more, depending on size. I may overcook it a little, but I'm still learning the finer points. The important thing for me was to get onto the right cut.

                        I am not sure exactly how "shoulder blade" and "Boston butt" correspond, but clearly they are in the same part of the pork.

                        5 Replies
                        1. re: hugocole
                          GretchenS RE: hugocole Feb 21, 2012 03:21 PM

                          Interesting, glad you posted. According to this site http://www.mealsforyou.com/cgi-bin/cu...

                          Pork shoulder blade (Boston) roast contains the top portion of whole shoulder, the blade bone exposed on two sides, and some intermuscular fat. It is usually prepared by roasting.

                          1. re: GretchenS
                            The Professor RE: GretchenS Feb 21, 2012 03:36 PM

                            For me, this cut is king!

                            1. re: The Professor
                              hugocole RE: The Professor Feb 21, 2012 03:43 PM

                              That and pork hocks for me. Loin makes me angry.

                              1. re: hugocole
                                hotoynoodle RE: hugocole Feb 21, 2012 04:29 PM

                                "the other white meat". folks can have at it. loin is pointless and utterly flavorless. i have easy cheap access to shoulder and butt. yum. i like braising as a technique cuz it is so "set it and forget it." one piece makes many meals.

                                1. re: hugocole
                                  The Professor RE: hugocole Feb 21, 2012 08:46 PM

                                  Hocks! Yes!!!!
                                  The shoulder butt, the hocks, and the belly make me want to thank the pig.

                          2. f
                            foreverhungry RE: orangewasabi Feb 22, 2012 06:23 AM

                            It's not the tenderloin. From what I can tell, the tenderloin is a pelvic muscle called the psoas major.

                            The loin is closer to the head (more anterior), and is part of the dorsal muscle group, a muscle called the longissimus. The longissimus runs the length of the ribs, and is surrounded by a few different muscles, and it's these adjacent muscles that are the "dark" meat when you get a loin. Depending on where along the loin you're talking, they can include the spinalis dorsi, the multifidus dorsi, and the quadratus lamborum.

                            The tenderloin and the loin - psoas major and longissimus - can be found together at the posterior end (back end) of the loin, and the front end of the tenderloin, so they do overlap. But they are usually not sold together, because the tenderloin fetches a higher price than the loin, so they are typically separated.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: foreverhungry
                              FoodFuser RE: foreverhungry Feb 22, 2012 07:06 AM

                              I've always had homonymic chuckles
                              at muscles such as the "psoas major".

                              So many directions we can go from that phrase.

                              Not only have we eaten them,
                              but also we've met them.

                            2. o
                              OldDSF RE: orangewasabi Jun 5, 2014 04:48 PM

                              I've found this type of meat at Latin restaurants...Mexican and Puerto Rican. It looks a lot like turkey dark meat and is great. I've been looking for it and my next attempt will be to a Latin serving grocery.

                              Show Hidden Posts