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Pork "dark meat" - what cut??

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?

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

    6 Replies
    1. re: Dmnkly

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

      1. re: orangewasabi

        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

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

          1. re: Uncle Bob

            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

              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

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

      2. 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

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

        2. 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

            boneless roast, you got it right.

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

          2. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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

                          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: The Professor

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

                              1. re: hugocole

                                "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

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

                          1. 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

                              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. 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.