What Are The Most Flavorful Cuts Of Pork?

Pork is a tasty — and incredibly versatile — type of meat. From crispy cracklins to melt-in-the-mouth shredded meat or a beautifully displayed crown roast, there's a dizzying variety of methods to prepare the protein.

Yet, with so many dishes focusing on highlighting the meat through technique, it's less noted which cuts have the most intrinsic flavor. Instead, it's simply a matter of whether pork is butchered bone-in, minced, or into a chop. We're here to help: If you're specifically looking for the most flavorful cut, purchase pork shoulder or butt roast.

These meat sections are filled with fat, which in turn translates to a richer pork taste. This compound melts down, lending more moisture and basting juices, which add flavor. As a result, the result is extra meaty and pork-forward, making it the perfect choice for those looking for a tasty cut of pork. The butt roast just edges out the shoulder in flavor due to more fat marbling. However, the latter is often kept skin and bone on, which has its advantages, too. So, with the right recipe, both will deliver terrific results.

Pork shoulder and butt roast deliver the most taste

Surprisingly, pork shoulder and butt come from neighboring sections of the animal. Butt doesn't allude to anatomy; instead, the cut comes from a frontal region, just above the first pair of legs, which is what is known as the shoulder cut. Due to the abundant fat, these cuts are excellent in slow-cooking methods.

Pork butt is the classic go-to in barbecue applications like Southern-style pulled pork. And the pork shoulder is employed in Mexican-style carnitas, an especially tasty preparation that braises the meat until very soft. Therefore this cut also works in a classic braise. Low and slow, these pork cuts both yield terrifically tender creations.

If you're looking to enjoy the meat's flavor without shredding, both cuts can also be prepared as a pork steak. With its contained moisture, there's no need to marinate or brine. A simple dry rub will do, along with a precise sear that avoids overcooking. Especially if there's a bone, inquire at the butcher for half-inch thick slices; these will yield the perfect consistency. Best of all, both cuts are among the most affordable, meaning such incredible flavor comes without extra cost.