Spare Rib (Shoulder)
Can be roasted on the bone, although the blade bone in the centre makes it difficult to carve. It’s more usually boned out, then rolled and tied to a neater joint. It has a really excellent flavour, as meat from nearer the head of the pig is always sweeter and more succulent, with a little more fat to keep it moist. It has a dry skin with a reasonable layer of fat underneath, so is one of the best joints to get good crackling from.
Has good flavour. If buying a loin of pork on the bone – which sits up like a rib of beef and looks like a long line of pork chops – get your butcher to chine it for you. This means that he will semi-detach the back bone from the ribs, which can then be easily removed after cooking for easy carving. If you can, ask for a piece of loin cut from the end nearest the head, i.e. the part with the rib bones in it, as this has a slightly sweeter flavour. To serve, carve between the bones or slice the meat away from the bones in one piece and then carve the meat thinly. A loin of pork can also be boned out and rolled for ease of carving. It’s not always the easiest joint of pork to stuff, because there’s very little space for the stuffing to go. One of the more expensive cuts of pork.
A very lean cut of meat that is excellent when roasted, if helped by the addition of an extra layer of fat to prevent it from drying out during cooking (usually bacon). Also excellent when cooked en croute (in buttery pastry).
A large, rectangular slab of meat that’s excellent for roasting, and is considered to be one of the the tastiest cuts. It’s easier to carve if boned first. As always, the skin needs to be scored before cooking, and because it is quite a fatty joint, with a good layer of fat directly beneath the skin, it will give very moist, succulent meat and really good crackling if properly cooked. It can also be rolled up into a more compact joint for roasting.
A large joint, on the bone, more usually boned out and divided into more manageable-sized joints. This is one of the most commonly bought and most popular joints for roasting because of its leanness, but is also the joint responsible for the perception that roast pork is dry and that it’s difficult to make good crackling. A leg of pork is one of the most expensive roasting joints but it does give nice lean, uniformly shaped slices, and can be stuffed if you wish, prior to tying into shape.