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Dec 15, 2011 06:43 PM

What kind of pork should I get?

This Christmas I am departing from our traditional roast beef or goose (economic times are hard folks)- I want pork - beautiful, delicious, juicy succulent pork! What cut of pork should I get to roast? Boneless or boned is fine. Delicious is the only criteria. By the way, all of the pork tenderloins at the supermarket seem to be pre-brined and I have read on Chowhound that that is not a good thing.It needs to be generally supermarket available. There will only be four people eating it but leftovers are desired.
Thanks in advance

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  1. Fresh ham (that is, the uncured hind leg). Makes a glorious roast. Shank half (the lower half, as opposed the sirloin half, which is the upper half) is easier to carve if you are going to choose a half.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Karl S

      Fresh Ham is definitely one of my favorite roasts....but I could easily say the same for a Boston Butt or Picnic Shoulder. A cut less traditional for the holiday roast is Pork Belly....After watching a recent episode of the F word on BBC I plan on making this very soon.

      1. re: Karl S

        I also like fresh ham roast. For Americans, anyway, I suggest that you not even call it ham, though, because the taste will clash with some people's expectations (they expect a cured taste). It's basically a pork roast, and very delicious. Relative to the more usual shoulder roast, it's less full of fat pockets and therefore easier to carve straight away for dinner. You will probably have to special-order it, and you might do best to order a butt or shank portion rather than a whole ham.

        Of course, if the crowd has ample fat tolerance, a shoulder/butt roast can be amazing. And they're cheaper.

        Tenderloin, which you mention, is very lean and requires a different and more careful approach. Its flavors would come mostly from spicing and sauces, because there is so little fat.

      2. A crown roast would be nice (and an impressive presentation), or a loin (not a tenderloin) made into porchetta would be great. You could also do a whole shoulder, roasted pernil-style until falling apart and succulent.

        4 Replies
        1. re: biondanonima

          I second a crown roast.

          Buy it rolled and tied. Then fill the center with your favorite bread stuffing.
          A apriocot or peach chutney would go good!

          1. re: biondanonima

            Our family will be having crown roast this year. I prefer a cornbread apple stuffing with it myself but it seems like we will be stuck with roast potatoes yet again. Perhaps they won't be raw this year.

            1. re: melpy

              Hi Melpy. I suggest that you par boil the potatoes first and throw them in near the end of the cooking cycle.

              1. re: Kellz

                I should have elaborated, some else is on charge if the potatoes and default seems to be roasted but not quite long enough. This year they made something akin to au gratin which again was underdone despite the fact that they did precook before baking the whole casserole.

          2. For a roast, I wouldnt look further than a bone-in leg joint. Leftovers make a great hash or sandwich.

            The OP's ref. to "economic times" is interesting as, where I am, I'd expect to pay more for a good pork joint than beef.

            8 Replies
            1. re: Harters

              In the US, beef is dearer than pork. By a significant margin. Of the most common roasting flesh meats, I would say they'd typically rank from high to low:

              1. Lamb (premium cuts) & Veal (premium cuts)
              2. Beef (premium cuts) & artisinal country hams/cured meats
              3. Goose (often only available frozen, except around the Jewish High Holidays and Chanukkah/Xmas)
              4. Duck (ditto)
              5. Rabbit (often only available frozen, except in Italian markets); tougher cuts of lamb & veal.
              Then there's often a significant gap to the next level....
              6. Pork (premium cuts)
              7. Beef (tougher cuts)
              8. Pork (tougher cuts)
              9. Turkey
              10. Chicken

              1. re: Harters

                What part is a "joint"? I don't think that's a USA usage.

                Edit: unless you're lighting up some contraband...

                  1. re: wattacetti

                    More commonly, fresh ham, the front legs being referred to as arms in US usage.

                  2. re: Bada Bing

                    A "joint of meat" is a "piece of meat"

                    1. re: Harters

                      Okay, thanks. So even a tenderloin or a boneless shoulder is still a "joint" in British usage? (I know my question might seem odd, but the term implies bones to me!)

                      1. re: Bada Bing

                        Generally speaking, any cut of meat you're going to roast will be a "joint". It wouldnt be , say, pork choips that I decided to cook in the oven - they'd still be chops.

                1. I say pork belly. I'm doing porchetta.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: wattacetti

                    Yeah, belly all the way. Skin on, obviously.

                  2. It has already been said but I would go with a ham. It is a traditional holiday meal. It is festive and looks very nice on the carving board. It is inexpensive, easy to cook and guarantees plenty of leftovers.

                    A crown roast of pork looks very nice but will cost as much as that goose.

                    You could go with 2-3 tenderloins. They would taste great and be tender. I don't have any trouble finding tenderloins that are not prebrined at my grocery store so I am not sure what to tell you there.

                    I think a turkey is fine for Christmas dinner. I would make a spread just like I did at Thanksgiving. Most people only have turkey once a year. Christmas is a month from Thanksgiving...plenty of time so people don't go,"but we just had turkey".