What Is Pork Temple Meat? What You Need To Know

Are you a foodie looking to expand your culinary horizons?

Have you ever heard of pork temple meat?

This unique cut of meat comes from the head of a pig and is known for its tender texture and rich flavor.

While it may not be as well-known as other pork cuts, such as bacon or pork chops, pork temple meat has been used in traditional dishes like jambalaya and can also be used in a variety of other ways.

In this article, we’ll explore what exactly pork temple meat is, where it comes from, and how it can be prepared to create delicious meals that will impress your taste buds.

So, let’s dive in and discover the wonders of pork temple meat!

What Is Pork Temple Meat?

Pork temple meat is a cut of meat that comes from the head of a pig, specifically from above the cheek/jowl area. According to the USDA, cuts taken from the head include the temple, the mask, the snout, the ear, and more.

This unique cut of meat has a tender texture and is known for its rich flavor. It is often compared to pork cheek meat, which is also a popular cut used in traditional dishes like jambalaya.

While pork temple meat may not be as widely available as other pork cuts, it can be found in specialty butcher shops or ordered online. It’s important to note that this cut may require some preparation before cooking, such as removing any excess fat or skin.

Where Does Pork Temple Meat Come From?

Pork temple meat comes from the head of a pig, specifically from above the cheek/jowl area. This area is considered part of the head, according to the USDA, and includes cuts like the temple, the mask, the snout, and the ear.

The temple meat is located above the cheek/jowl and has a similar texture to pork cheek meat. It is a lean cut of meat with a layer of subcutaneous fat that may be left attached for added flavor.

Due to its location, pork temple meat is not as widely available as other pork cuts. Only two pieces of temple meat can be harvested from each hog, making it a relatively rare cut. However, it can be ordered online or found in specialty butcher shops.

When preparing pork temple meat for cooking, it’s important to remove any excess fat or skin before cooking. This cut of meat can be used in a variety of dishes, including traditional dishes like jambalaya or as a substitute for pork cheek meat in Italian stuffed pasta dishes.

How To Prepare Pork Temple Meat

Before cooking pork temple meat, it’s important to prepare it properly. Here are some steps to follow:

1. Remove any excess fat or skin: Pork temple meat may come with a layer of subcutaneous fat attached. While some may prefer to leave this on for added flavor, others may want to remove it for a leaner cut. Use a sharp knife to carefully trim away any excess fat or skin.

2. Marinate the meat: Marinating pork temple meat can help enhance its flavor and tenderize the meat. A simple marinade of olive oil, garlic, and herbs can work well. Let the meat marinate for at least 30 minutes before cooking.

3. Choose a cooking method: Pork temple meat can be cooked in a variety of ways, including grilling, braising, or slow-cooking. For grilling, season the meat with salt and pepper and cook over medium heat until browned and cooked through. For braising or slow-cooking, sear the meat in a pan before transferring it to a pot with liquid (such as broth or wine) and cooking on low heat for several hours until tender.

4. Serve and enjoy: Once the pork temple meat is cooked to your liking, let it rest for a few minutes before slicing and serving. This flavorful cut of meat can be enjoyed on its own or used in dishes like jambalaya, tacos, or sandwiches.

By following these steps, you can prepare pork temple meat to perfection and enjoy its unique flavor and texture in your favorite dishes.

Traditional Dishes That Use Pork Temple Meat

Pork temple meat is a key ingredient in several traditional dishes, especially in Southern and Cajun cuisine. Here are some popular dishes that use pork temple meat:

1. Jambalaya: This classic Louisiana dish is made with rice, vegetables, and meat, usually chicken and sausage. However, for an authentic jambalaya, pork temple meat is the preferred choice. The meat is usually browned before being added to the pot, where it simmers with the other ingredients to create a savory and flavorful dish.

2. Head Cheese: This dish may sound unappetizing to some, but it’s actually a beloved delicacy in many cultures. Head cheese is made by simmering the pig’s head (including the temple meat) until the meat falls off the bone. The meat is then mixed with gelatin and spices before being molded into a loaf or terrine. It can be served cold as an appetizer or sandwich filling.

3. Tacos de Cabeza: This Mexican street food favorite features slow-cooked beef or pork head meat (including the temple) that’s seasoned with spices like cumin and chili powder. The tender meat is then chopped and served on soft corn tortillas with onion, cilantro, and lime.

4. Boudin: This Cajun sausage is made with pork meat (including temple meat) and rice, along with onions, peppers, and spices. The mixture is then stuffed into casings and cooked until crispy on the outside and tender on the inside.

5. Pork Rinds: While not a traditional dish per se, pork rinds are a popular snack made from the skin of a pig (which often includes some temple meat). The skin is fried until crispy and seasoned with salt or other spices for a crunchy and savory treat.

Health Benefits And Nutritional Value Of Pork Temple Meat

Pork temple meat is not only delicious but also packed with various essential nutrients that offer several health benefits. This cut of meat is a rich source of high-quality protein, which is essential for building and maintaining muscle mass. As we age, muscle degeneration becomes a common problem, leading to conditions such as sarcopenia. However, consuming high-quality protein like pork temple meat can help slow down or reverse the effects of sarcopenia.

Pork temple meat is also rich in B-vitamins such as thiamin, niacin, riboflavin, vitamin B12, and B6. These vitamins help the body convert food into energy and are essential for the brain and nervous system to make DNA, hormones, and red blood cells. Vitamin B12, in particular, has been found to play an important role in preventing depression.

Additionally, pork temple meat is a good source of selenium, an essential mineral necessary for normal thyroid function. The high levels of beta-alanine protein compound carnosine found in pork temple meat can help lower fatigue and improve physical fitness.

Furthermore, pork temple meat is low in carbohydrates and sugar, making it an excellent choice for people on low-carb weight-loss diets like the Ketogenic diet. Regular consumption of lean pork meat has also been found to have promising effects in fat reduction and weight loss.

Where To Buy Pork Temple Meat

If you’re interested in trying pork temple meat, there are a few places where you can purchase it. One option is to check with your local butcher or specialty meat shop to see if they carry it. You can also try searching online for retailers that specialize in pork cuts and exotic meats.

Some grocery stores may also carry pork temple meat, though it may not be a regular item in their meat department. If you’re having trouble finding it locally, consider reaching out to a farmer or livestock producer in your area who may be able to provide this cut.

One specific location mentioned by a TVWBB Super Fan is Lamendola’s in Gonzales, Louisiana, which has been known to sell pork temple cutlets. However, it’s important to note that availability may vary depending on your location and the season.

When purchasing pork temple meat, be sure to inspect the cut for any excess fat or skin that may need to be trimmed off before cooking. As with any meat product, it’s important to handle and cook it properly to ensure food safety.