How to Cook different pork cuts through Smoking
Pork, or the meat from domestic pig, is one of the most commonly consumed types of meat around the world. In fact, it has high nutritional value since it is an excellent source of protein which is important for muscle building and keeping the organs healthy. It also provides variety of vitamins and minerals needed by the body.
Pork may be cooked, eaten and processed into different forms, depending on one’s preference. Another option for cooking pork, and probably the most popular among the many ways, is through smoking or exposing the meat to the smoke from burning wood.
Pork can be classified into different cuts – head, spare rib roast, loin, belly, leg, shoulder, spare rib, hock, and trotters. And the best way of eating and enjoying them? Of course, through grilling or smoking.
The Best Ways to Smoke the Different Pork Cuts
One of the most popular cuts of pork is ribs. In smoking pork ribs, it is important that it should be cooked low and slow with a good amount of smoke, otherwise your ribs will end up having a hard time chewing. If you really want the seasoning to taste, you can remove the membrane by laying the ribs on a flat surface with the meat side down and gently peel the membrane from one corner near the bone.
But be careful and don’t get carried away in peeling it off since the fat still gives a dose of flavor. Aside from this, preparing the ribs for smoking must include rubbing the seasoning and wrapping it in a plastic wrap and leave it overnight. This way, the seasoning will definitely sip through the meat.
Pork loin is another meat cut created from the tissue along the top of the rib cage. In preparing your smoked pork loin, the temperature should depend on the thickness of the meat, usually at minimum of 145 degrees Fahrenheit. Also, keep the top vent or chimney of your smoker about ¼ open to increase the smoke flavor in the food. To keep the loin from drying out, it is best to wrap it with bacon or sear it with hot oil. Another method could be rolling over the meat in a hot grill for a few minutes before smoking it.
In making smoked pulled pork, the entire front leg and shoulder of a hog is your best bet. Pork butt or the cut of meat from the pig’s shoulder can also be used. Don’t worry about the fat and collagen attached to the meat since it will melt during the smoking process and at the same time, keeping the meat moist.
Also, the collagen will break down into sugars that will make the smoked pork shoulder or smoked pork butt sweet and tender. However, any loose pieces of fat or skin should be cut off. When smoking, rubbing the seasoning must be done the night before and must be applied liberally in order for the flavors to sink in and take the meat out of the fridge an hour before putting it in the smoker wherein it will be cooked in a long, slow manner.
Other than these, there are various parts of the hog that are ideal for smoking. Pork chop is a meat chop cut perpendicularly to the spine of the pig. It usually contains a rib or part of a hog’s vertebra. In making smoked pork chops, it should be marinated first to add flavor before smoking. And since it has to be cooked more thoroughly, there is tendency of drying out the meat so it may be brined to maintain its moisture.
Pork tenderloin or the muscle along the hog’s central spine portion, is another choice since it is the most tender part of the pig. Cooking smoke pork tenderloin is relatively easy since after marinating it, the meat can be cooked in less than three hours, depending on the temperature of the grill.