Bacon – A cut of pork from the hog’s sides and belly that has been cured and/or smoked. It consists of fat interspersed with strands of meat. Available sliced or in a “slab” (one piece).
Bacon Bits – Small chips of dried, crisp bacon. Bacon bits can also be made from bacon-flavored soy or other vegetable proteins.
Bacon, Canadian-style – A cut of pork from the eye of the loin, located in the middle back of the loin. Canadian-style bacon is cut into round or oblong slices. It more closely resembles ham rather than regular bacon. Also called back bacon.
Bacon Grease – The fat rendered from bacon.
Banger – British slang for sausages traditionally made from ground pork and breadcrumbs.
Barbecue; Barbeque; Bar-B-Q v. – A method of slowly cooking pork in an open pit or on a spit using coals, hardwoods, gas or electricity as a heat source. The same effect can also be achieved using a grill by placing the pork on the rack away from the heat source. The food is frequently based with a tangy tomato- or vinegar-based sauce.
Barding – A process of wrapping thins sheets of pork fat or bacon around lean meat or poultry to prevent it from drying out during roasting.
Blade Steak; Pork Steak – A relatively tender piece of pork from the shoulder. Available with bone or boneless.
Boar – An uncastrated male hog.
Bologna; Baloney (bah-LOH-nyah; bah-LOH-nee) – A precooked, highly seasoned sausage made from a mixture of meats, such as pork, beef, veal and/or chicken. Bologna is typically served as a cold cut or sandwich meat.
Braising – A method of cooking pork by simmering it in liquid in a tightly covered pan over low heat. Braising is similar to stewing, but uses a smaller amount of liquid.
Bratwurst (BRAHT-wurst; BRAHT-vursht) – A fresh German sausage made from pork and seasoned with ginger, nutmeg, coriander or caraway.
Braunschwieger (BROWN-shwi-ger; BROWN-shi-ger) – A soft German sausage made from pork liver and enriched with eggs and milk.
Butterfly – A process of cutting boneless meat evenly to but not through the opposite edge, leaving the uncut edge as a “hinge.” When the meat is open, it resembles the wings of a butterfly. Pork loin chops and tenderloins are sometimes butterflied.
Carnitas (Kahr-NEE-tahz) – Mexican for “little meats” or small shreds of browned pork. Usually eaten with salsa or used as a filling for tacos and burritos.
Casing – A membrane used to encase ground meat for sausages before they are cooked or cured. Natural or animal casings come from the intestines of cattle, hogs, goats and sheep. Artificial casings, made from collagen, are edible. Some artificial casings (cellulosic casings and fibrous casings) are not edible and are peeled away before the product is packaged (skinless franks, for example).
Cervelat (SER-vuh-lat) – A type of sausage made from pork and/or beef and seasoned with herbs, spices and other flavorings such as mustard or garlic. Cervelats are cured, dried and smoked. They range from semi-dry to moist to soft.
Chicharrón; Chicharón (chee-chah-RROHN) – A Mexican pork snack made from pork skin that has been fried twice at different temperatures.
Chitterlings; Chitlins; Chitlings (CHIHT-lihnz) – Cleaned, small intestines of freshly slaughtered hogs. Chitterlings are used in soup or battered and fried, or used as sausage casings.
Chop n. – A cut of pork from the loin. Depending on the section of loin where originated, pork chops are named loin, rib, sirloin, top loin and blade chops. Chops are available boneless or with bone attached; thickness varies from 1/2 to 2 inches.
Cracklings; Cracklin’s – The crisp skin of fried or roasted pork after the fat has been rendered.
Crown Roast – A rack of pork or rib roast turned into a circle and tied.
Cure; Curing – A process of infusing meat with a solution of salt, sugar and nitrite to enhance flavor, color and shelf life. Cured products may also be smoked.
Cutlet – A thin, boneless piece of pork cut from the loin. Thickness varies from 1/8 to 1/2 inch.
Dry-Heat Cooking Methods – Cooking methods using air or fat to transfer heat through conduction or convection. Common dry-heat methods for pork include roasting, broiling, panbroiling and sautéing.
Fatback – The layer of fat running along the hog’s back. It is available unsmoked and unsalted, and used for making lard and cracklings.
Finger Meats – Slivers of pork between the ribs. Also called rib fingers.
Frankfurter – A cooked, cured and often smoked sausage. Frankfurters are either skinless or stuffed in a natural casing and linked. Frankfurters are made from beef and/or pork and up to 15 percent poultry.
Fresh Pork – Pork that has not been frozen, cured, smoked, precooked or otherwise processed to a form that changes it from its original meat.
Frill – A strip of paper curled and rolled at one end, and slipped over a protruding bone for decoration. Often used on a pork crown roast.
Frizzes (FRIHZ-ihs) – Dried Italian pork or beef sausages that are squiggly in shape and flavored with garlic and anise.
Frizzle – To cook thin slices of fat, usually bacon, until it is crisp and the edges curl.
Grades for Pork – Pork grades are: U.S. No. 1, U.S. No. 2, U.S. No. 3, U.S. No. 4 and Utility. Pork grades are a general indication of product yield, with less emphasis on the quality. Pork carcasses are seldom graded since carcasses are processed to trimmed primals and subprimals before sale to retailer or further processed cured products.
Grilling – A method of cooking pork over direct heat on an electric, gas or charcoal grill.
Ground Pork – Pork that has been ground or finely chopped. Ground pork is unseasoned and usually available fresh with an average lean-fat ratios of 70% lean, 30% fat.
Ham – A cut of pork from the hind leg that has been cured and smoked.
Ham Hock – The lower portion of the hog’s hind leg, corresponding to a human’s ankle. Available fresh, but more often ham hocks are cured and/or smoked.
Ham, Cooked/Fully Cooked – Cooked ham is ham heated to a temperature of at least 145ºF. This product must be kept refrigerated at all times. Fully cooked ham is ham cooked for lengthy periods at temperatures as high as 250ºF. Both cooked and fully cooked hams are cured and/or smoked. They can be eaten as is, but the flavor is generally improved by further heating prior to serving.
Ham, Country; Country-Style – A dry-cured ham. The ham is hand rubbed with salt, sugar and nitrate; packed in the curing ingredients and usually smoked. A country ham is much drier than injected-cured hams and has a sharper flavored due to its high salt content.
Ham, Fresh – A cut of pork from the hind leg. Fresh ham has been neither cured nor smoked. Also called pork leg or leg of pork.
Ham, Green – A fresh ham.
Ham, Picnic – A cut of pork from the upper part of the foreleg and includes a portion of the shoulder. By definition, it is not a true ham. However, the Picnic is cured in the same manner as ham, giving it a ham-like flavor.
Ham, Smithfield – A ham processed and cured in the area of Smithfield, Virginia. Originally, the hogs were raised on hickory nuts, peanuts and acorns, but today’s hogs are grain-fed. The ham is processed by dry-curing, seasoning, hickory smoking and aging for 6 to 12 months. The result is a meat that is lean, dark in color and has a salty flavor.
Ham, Wet-Cured – A ham treated with a brine solution of water, salt, sugar and spices. The brine ensures that the meat stays moist and tender and lends ham to its appealing taste and texture.
Hock – The lower portion of the hog’s foreleg (Picnic shoulder), corresponding to a human’s ankle. Also called shank.
Hog – A domesticated pig weighing more than 120 pounds.
Hog Jowl – The cheek of a hog. It is usually cut into squares, then cured and smoked. Also called jowl bacon.
Hog Maw – A hog’s stomach stuffed with sausage, then simmered and baked.
Hot Dog – Usually refers to a frankfurter served on a bun. Also refers to just the frankfurter or wiener itself.
Lard – Solid or semisolid white fat made from rendered pork.
Lard, Leaf – Lard made from fat around the hog’s kidneys.
Larding – To insert strips of fat, usually pork or bacon, into a lean cut of meat before it is cooked. The purpose is to add flavor and moisture. The strips are inserted with a special tool called a larding needle.
Lardon; Lardoons (LAHR-don; lahr-DOON) – 1. Long strips of fat use for larding meat. 2. A French term for bacon that has been diced, blanched and fried.
Leg of Pork – An uncured cut of pork from the hind leg. Also called fresh ham.
Liverwurst (LIHV-uhr-wurst; LIHV-uhr-vursht) – A soft, ready-to-eat sausage made from 30 percent pork liver mixed with other meat. Available smoked or cooked, and in links, loaves and slices. Also called liver sausage.
Loin Roast – A roast cut from the loin section. Depending on the specific roast cut, a loin roast can be available with bone (crown roast, for example) or boneless (top loin roast, for example).
Marinade – A seasoned and/or acidic liquid used for marinating.
Marinate – A process of soaking meat in a seasoned liquid to enhance its flavor or in an acidic liquid to tenderize less tender cuts of meat.
Medallion (meh-DAL-yuhn) – A term referring to a small round or oval boneless slice of meat.
Moist-Heat Cooking Methods – Cooking methods using water or steam to transfer heat through convection. Common moist-heat methods for pork are braising and stewing (cooking in liquid).
Natural – Pork processed and handled in compliance with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) natural standards. These standards prohibit the use of artificial ingredients, coloring ingredients or chemicals, and allow only minimal processing.
Nitrates/Nitrites – Approved food additives used as curing agents, color stabilizers and/or preservatives in processed meats. Sodium or potassium nitrites, used in the curing process, inhibit the growth of “Clostridium botulinum” spores (the growth of which can result in botulism). Sodium and potassium nitrates, approved only for drying and curing and in certain dried sausage products, naturally convert into nitrites during dry curing and in the intestinal tract.
Pancetta (pan-CHEH-tuh) – Italian pork-belly bacon cured with salt and spices, but not smoked. Available rolled in a cylinder and used to flavor pastas, sauces, meats and vegetable dishes.
Pig – A young domesticated hog weighing less than 120 pounds.
Pig, Suckling – A 6- to 8-week old pig. The meat is light in color, moist, flavorful and tender.
Pigs Feet – The front feet of a hog that have been removed from the shoulder slightly below the knee joints. Pigs feet are available fresh, cured, cooked or pickled.
Pigs in Blankets – Small cocktail sausages wrapped in pastry or bread dough, then baked. The term also refers to breakfast sausage wrapped in pancakes.
Pork – The fresh or salted meat from hogs when prepared for use as food.
Pork Belly – The boneless side portion of the hog remaining after removal of the loin, fatback and spareribs.
Porketta (por-KET-ta) – An Italian-style pork roast seasoned with fennel and garlic.
Primal – The major divisions when a carcass is separated. Pork primal cuts are leg, loin, belly, spareribs, shoulder and jowl.
Prosciutto (proh-SHOO-toh) – An Italian-style ham that has been seasoned, salt-cured and air-dried, but not smoked. This sweet, delicate flavored ham is thinly sliced before using.
Prosciutto Cotto (proh-SHOO-toh KO-tao) – Prosciutto that has been cooked prior to eating.
Prosciutto Crudo (proh-SHOO-toh KROO-doa) – Prosciutto that can be eaten raw because it has been fully cured.
Rack of Pork – The pork equivalent to a rack of lamb. Also called pork rib roast.
Render – A process of cooking meats over low heat to melt and extract fat from connective tissue.
Rib Roast—See Rack of Pork.
Riblet – Pork bones with meat and some fat.
Ribs – A cut of pork from the loin or side. Pork ribs come in three basic cuts—back ribs, spareribs and country-style ribs—depending on the section of the hog where originated.
Ribs, Back – A cut of pork from the blade and center section of the loin. Also called baby back ribs because they are smaller than spareribs.
Ribs, Country-Style – A cut of pork from the rib end of the loin. Country-style ribs are sold as either “slabs” (one piece) or in individual pieces. They are the meatiest variety of ribs.
Ribs, Spareribs – A cut of pork from the belly of the hog. This variety has the least amount of meat per bone, yet a favorite because of their delicious taste. Plan one pound per serving.
Rillettes (ree-YEHT; rih-LEHTS) – A French appetizer made from slowly cooking meat, usually pork or poultry, then mashing it into a paste and packing it into small ramekins. It is served chilled used as a spread on toast.
Roast n. – A large cut of pork from the loin, leg or shoulder. Common pork roasts include crown roast, loin roast and rib roast.
Roasting v. – A method of cooking pork in the oven in an uncovered pan, and without adding liquid to the pan.
Rub – A mixture of spices, herbs and sometimes salt that is used to season pork.
Salami (sah-LAH-mee) – A highly seasoned, Italian-style sausage made from pork and beef. Salami is rarely smoked, yet similar to cervelates in that both styles are cured and air-dried.
Salt Pork – A fatty pork cut from the hog’s sides and belly that has been cured in salt. Usually used as a cooking fat or flavoring.
Sausage (SAW-sihj) – Highly seasoned ground meat typically stuffed into a casing. Available in links, patties and bulk. Sausage products may be cooked or uncooked, cured or uncured and smoked or unsmoked. The sausage family contains hundreds of varieties.
Sautéing (saw-TAY-ing; soh-TAY-ing) – A method of preparing pork by cooking it over direct heat in a small amount of fat.
Scrapple – A Pennsylvania Dutch dish made from chopped “scraps” of pork simmered with cornmeal and seasonings, then packed into a loaf pan and chilled. Scrapple is usually sliced and fried in butter or bacon fat before serving.
Shank – A cut of pork from the upper or lower portion of the foreleg (Picnic shoulder).
Shank End – The lower portion of the foreleg (Picnic shoulder). Also called hock.
Shoulder – Pork from the front leg (either the upper arm Picnic section or lower blade Boston-style section). The terminology for pork shoulder can vary widely depending on the region. The Boston-style section is also called a shoulder butt or Boston Butt.
Smoked; Smoking – A process to preserve and flavor pork by exposing it to smoke, or applying liquid smoke externally as a curing ingredient.
Sow – An adult female hog.
Spam – A registered trademark name for a canned ground pork shoulder and ham product introduced by the Hormel Company in 1937.
Stewing – A method of cooking a less tender cut of pork by simmering it over low heat in enough liquid to cover the meat. Also called cooking in liquid.
Subprimal – Basic cuts of meat from a primal. Subprimal cuts are further produced into retail cuts.
Sweetbreads – The thymus gland or pancreas of calves or lambs, and sometimes young hogs. Pork sweetbreads are slightly stronger in flavor than sweetbreads from other young animals, and usually need to be special ordered.
Tenderloin – An elongated, tender muscle from the loin. Available whole as a tenderloin roast or sliced as tenderloin filets or medallions.
Tripe – The stomach lining from cattle, and sometimes hogs and sheep. It has a subtle flavor and tender texture.
Variety Meats – The edible organs and glands from meat animals. Variety meats include the brain, heart, kidney, pancrease (sweetbreads) and hog intestines (chitterlings).
Wiener (WEE-nuhr) – See Frankfurter.
Wild Boar – A wild hog in which most domesticated hogs were derived. The lean meat is darker and richer in flavor than pork.
Wurst (WURST; VURSHT) – German for “sausage.”