What Cut Is Pork Stew Meat? (According To Experts)

Are you a fan of hearty, flavorful pork stew on a cold winter night? If so, you may be wondering what cut of pork is best for this delicious dish.

Look no further!

In this article, we’ll explore the different cuts of pork that are ideal for stewing and braising, as well as some tips for selecting the perfect cut. Whether you’re a seasoned chef or a beginner in the kitchen, this guide will help you create the perfect pork stew every time.

So grab your apron and let’s get cooking!

What Cut Is Pork Stew Meat?

Pork stew meat is typically cut into serving-size chunks or cubes, perfect for cooking with stewing or braising methods. The meat is usually sold boneless and comes from areas of the pig that will stand up to the low, slow processes needed for stewing.

The best cuts of pork for stewing are those that have a good deal of collagen, connective tissue, and/or fat in them. This helps the meat stay moist during long, slow cooking. Lean meat, even if stewed in a liquid, will come out dry and tough.

The most common cuts of pork used for stewing are pork shoulder or pork butt (also known as Boston butt). Both cuts are dense, fatty cuts and are perfect for the “low and slow” style of cooking. They turn succulent and fork-tender in the slow cooker.

It’s important to note that sometimes you can find pre-cut pork stew meat at the grocery store, but these chunks are often discards and scraps from other pieces of meat put together by the butcher. They are often a mish-mash of different cuts and don’t always cook evenly, resulting in some chewy, not tender, pieces. It’s best to purchase the whole roast and cut it up yourself.

Understanding The Importance Of Choosing The Right Cut

Choosing the right cut of pork for stewing is crucial to achieving a delicious and tender result. As mentioned earlier, the best cuts of pork for stewing are those with a high amount of collagen, connective tissue, and/or fat. These cuts will break down during the long cooking process, resulting in a rich and flavorful stew.

Pork shoulder or pork butt are the most commonly used cuts for stewing, but it’s important to note that not all pork shoulder or butt cuts are created equal. Some may have more fat or connective tissue than others, which can affect the final result. It’s best to look for a cut that has a good balance of both fat and connective tissue.

Another factor to consider when choosing a cut for stewing is the muscle used by the animal. Muscles that are used more often, such as those in the shoulder or leg, tend to have more connective tissue and are better suited for slow cooking methods like stewing. On the other hand, muscles that are used less often, such as those in the loin or tenderloin, are better suited for quick cooking methods like grilling or sautéing.

When purchasing pork for stewing, it’s also important to consider the quality of the meat. Look for meat that is fresh and has a good marbling of fat throughout. If possible, choose meat from animals that have been raised without antibiotics or hormones.

The Best Cuts Of Pork For Stewing And Braising

When it comes to braising and stewing, the best cuts of pork are those that are tougher and have a good amount of fat and connective tissue. These cuts benefit from the low and slow cooking method, which breaks down the collagen and tenderizes the meat.

One of the most popular cuts for braising and stewing is pork shoulder. This cut is also known as Boston butt and is a dense, fatty cut that is perfect for slow cooking. It’s often sold bone-in or boneless, and both options work well for braising and stewing.

Another great cut for braising and stewing is pork belly. This cut is quite fatty, but when cooked slowly, it becomes incredibly tender and flavorful. It’s important to note that the excess fat can be skimmed off during cooking to make it less greasy.

Pork ribs are also a great option for braising and stewing. Baby back ribs are leaner and cook faster, while spare ribs are meatier and offer more flavor. Both cuts work well for braising and stewing, resulting in tender, fall-off-the-bone meat.

Pork tenderloin is a very tender cut of pork that can also be used for braising and stewing. It’s important to note that it cooks much faster than other cuts, so it’s best to monitor it closely to avoid overcooking.

Lastly, pork leg or ham can also be used for braising and stewing. This cut is sold as large roasts and can be fresh or cured. It’s a leaner cut of meat compared to the other options mentioned above but still benefits from slow cooking methods like braising and stewing.

How To Select The Perfect Pork Stew Meat

When selecting pork for stewing, it’s important to choose the right cut based on your cooking method. If you plan on cooking low and slow, look for pork shoulder or pork butt. These cuts are tougher, flavorful, and well-marbled with fat, making them ideal for long cooking times.

On the other hand, if you plan on a quicker cook, like roasting, choose more tender and mild-tasting cuts like pork tenderloin.

When purchasing pork shoulder or pork butt, look for a roast that is well-marbled with fat and has a good amount of connective tissue. This will ensure that the meat stays moist and tender during the long cooking process.

It’s also important to note that bone-in cuts will add more flavor to your stew. You can always remove the bone before serving, but leaving it in during cooking will add depth and richness to your dish.

If you prefer to cube your own pork for stewing, consider buying a whole pork shoulder or butt roast and cutting it up yourself. This way, you can control the size and consistency of the cubes and ensure that they cook evenly.

Tips For Preparing And Cooking Pork Stew Meat

When preparing and cooking pork stew meat, there are a few tips to keep in mind to ensure a delicious and tender result.

Firstly, it’s important to choose the right cut of pork. As mentioned above, pork shoulder or pork butt are the best cuts for stewing. Look for meat that is well-marbled with fat and has some connective tissue.

Before cooking, it’s a good idea to trim any excess fat from the meat. However, don’t trim it all off as some fat is necessary for flavor and tenderness.

When cooking pork stew meat, it’s best to use a low and slow method. This allows the collagen and connective tissue to break down, resulting in tender meat. A slow cooker or Dutch oven is perfect for this type of cooking.

To add flavor to your pork stew, consider browning the meat before adding it to the pot. This will create a nice crust on the outside of the meat and add depth of flavor to the finished dish.

Adding aromatics such as garlic, onion, and herbs can also enhance the flavor of your pork stew. Be sure to deglaze the pan with broth or wine to scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the pot for added richness.

Finally, be patient when cooking pork stew meat. It can take several hours for the meat to become tender and flavorful. But trust us, the end result will be worth the wait!

Delicious Pork Stew Recipes To Try At Home

If you’re looking for a delicious pork stew recipe to try at home, there are plenty of options to choose from. Here are three different recipes to get you started:

1. South-of-the-Border Pork Stew: This recipe incorporates lots of aromatics and fire-roasted vegetables for a smoky, slightly spicy flavor. The pork is cooked with Anaheim peppers, red bell pepper, Roma tomatoes, and onion, and seasoned with garlic and tequila (optional). The stew is simmered for 2-2 1/2 hours until the meat is tender and served with cilantro and lime juice over roasted potatoes or rice.

2. Classic Pork Stew: This recipe uses pork shoulder or Boston butt, cut into chunks and browned in a Dutch oven with sausage. The meat is then cooked with onion, garlic, jalapeno pepper, diced tomatoes, beans, and broth for about 25 minutes until the flavors meld together. The stew is finished with green onions and cilantro and served with lime wedges.

3. Paprika Pork Stew: This recipe uses pork shoulder or butt cut into cubes and seasoned with garlic, paprika, thyme, and salt. The meat is browned in olive oil and deglazed with broth before adding tomato sauce and bay leaf. The stew is simmered until the meat is cooked through, about 10 minutes.

No matter which recipe you choose, be sure to use a cut of pork that has enough fat and connective tissue to stay moist during long cooking times. And don’t be afraid to experiment with different herbs and spices to create your own unique flavor profile. Happy cooking!