BBQ Lover’s Short Guide to Cuts of Pork

Pork, aka “the other white meat” is one of the most versatile proteins in the world. And depending on where on the pig it came from, it can be lean, fat, or somewhere in between. Here we will go through some of the more common cuts of pork.

Pork Shoulder

A usually boneless cut, this is from the upper part of the shoulder. It is generally tough cut, with many layers of fat. It should be slowly cooked, such as stew or barbecue. The layers of fat will keep the meat moist.

Picnic Ham

This cut is below the pork shoulder but before the hocks. It’s tough and fatty but usually sold with bone in. And can be cooked the same way as a pork shoulder.

Country-Style Ribs

Lots of fat and lots of meat, but a bit big to be eaten with your fingers, they can be barbecued or roasted.

Pork Loin

One of the leanest and most tender cuts of pork, they are often sold as whole “roasts.” Depending on how you cut it, with or without bone, with or without skin, it can be cooked in many different ways, from pan-roasting to grilling.

Pork Chop

A pork chop is cut from the pork loin, but depending on which part of loin they came from, they can be tougher or meatier. Usually has a bone on one side.

Baby Back Ribs

Ribs from the spine to the sides, they are smaller than spare ribs and can be picked up by hand. They are very thin and needed to be cooked carefully, lest they dry out.

Pork Belly

Pork belly is from the belly of the hog. Pork belly is often turned into bacon or pancetta. Pork belly is multi-layered and quite flavorful. It should be braised.

Spare Ribs

Spare ribs are from the belly of the hog, and are bigger and wider boned than the back ribs. However, there will usually be less meat on those ribs. They make excellent barbecue material, as their meat requires prolonged cooking. They also have the least fat of all ribs.


Sirloin is roughly the “lower back” of the hog, before ham. It is rather odd-shaped and should be marinated and grilled.


Technically, any pork meat from the rear legs is considered ham. If you’re thinking of the salty meat, that’d be “cured ham.”


There are other cuts that only your local butcher would know, like jowl/cheek. They are not offered in stores.

Here at Rio de Brazil, you can enjoy multiple cuts of pork, including pork loin and ribs, plus many other different types of meat. One thing is certain, you will not leave our restaurant hungry! Contact us today to make a reservation and see what all the hype is about.