Before You Shop

Before purchasing pork, take a moment to consider your needs. Ask yourself a couple of quick questions: 

  • How many people are you planning to feed? The average serving size for pork is 3 ounces of cooked meat. Start with 4 ounces of boneless, raw pork to yield 3 ounces of cooked pork. A 3-ounce serving is about the size of a deck of cards.
  • What is the eating occasion?
    If time is limited for a weeknight meal, select smaller quick-cooking cuts such as pork chops, cutlets, cubes or strips. If you’re entertaining for a holiday meal and have several other dishes to prepare, consider choosing larger, slow-cooking cuts such as roasts that cook several hours and require little attention.

The “Skinny” on Pork 

Modern-day production has reduced pork’s fat content. In fact, pork is a major contender in the lean meat category and many cuts of pork are as lean or leaner than chicken. For example, pork tenderloin is just as lean as a skinless chicken breast with 2.98 grams of fat per 3-ounce serving and meets the government guidelines for “extra lean.” For the leanest cuts of pork, look for the words “loin” on the label. 


Reading the Meat Label

Here’s a quick overview of what’s on the label: 
  1. Type of meat - Listed first on every label, this indicates whether the cut is pork, beef, lamb or veal. 
  2. Primal/wholesale cut - This specifies which section of the animal the meat comes from. It is a good indicator of the relative tenderness of the cut and can help the shopper decide which method of cookery to use when preparing the cut. This part of the label may read shoulder, loin, leg, etc.
  3. Retail cut - This gives the shopper the specific name of the smaller cut taken from the primal cut. This part of the label may read blade roast, rib chop, sirloin roast, etc.
  4. Cost - To get the most for your money, calculate the cost per serving. Some boneless cuts may seem more expensive, but actually are a better buy because you are not paying for the bone. Cost per serving = Cost per pound / # of servings per pound.