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Pork is the meat from hogs, or domestic swine. The domestication of "pigs" (immature hogs) for food dates back to about 7000 B.C. in the Middle East. However, evidence shows that Stone Age man ate wild boar, the hog's ancestor, and the earliest surviving pork recipe is Chinese, at least 2000-years old. While it is one of the most common meats eaten by the Chinese and Europeans, it is considered inedible under Islamic and Orthodox Jewish law.

Retail Cuts of Fresh Pork

There are four basic (primal) cuts into which pork is separated: shoulder, loin, side and leg.


  • Shoulder Butt, Roast or Steak
  • Blade Steak
  • Boneless Blade Boston Roast
  • Smoked Arm Picnic
  • Smoked Hock
  • Ground Pork for Sausage


  • Spare Ribs/Back Ribs
  • Bacon


  • Boneless Whole Loin (Butterfly Chop)
  • Loin Roast
  • Tenderloin
  • Sirloin Roast
  • Country Style Ribs
  • Chops


  • Ham/Fresh or Smoked and Cured

Other parts include pigs' feet. Sausage is often made from miscellaneous meats, and scrapple is another aggregate meat-food derived from pigs. Pork intestines are called chitterlings or chitlings. Some pork products figured prominently in the traditional diets of southern African-Americans, such as pigs' feet, hog jowls, and other parts not wanted by whites, because they were a) available to them and b) affordable for the very poor. (See soul food).

Pork products are often cured by salt (pickling) and smoking. The portion most often given this treatment is the ham; pork shoulder, or front haunch, is also sometimes cured in this manner.

Safety considerations


Pork must be adequately cooked to eliminate disease-causing parasites and bacteria that may be present. Humans may contract trichinosis (caused by the parasite, Trichinella spiralis) by eating undercooked pork. Much progress has been made in reducing trichinosis in grain-fed hogs and human cases have greatly declined since 1950. Today's pork can be enjoyed when cooked to a medium internal temperature of 160 F or a well-done internal temperature of 170 F.

Some other foodborne micro-organisms that can be found in pork, as well as other meats and poultry, are Escherichia coli, Salmonella, Staphylococcus aureus and Listeria monocytogenes. They are all destroyed by proper handling and thorough cooking to an internal temperature of 160 F.

Hot Fat

Additionally, pork contains fats, when cooked the fats partially liquefy. These rendered fats are flammable. Water drops coming in contact with hot grease or fat may cause splattering and possible burns. Appropriate fire and personal safety measures should be taken when cooking pork or any other fatty meat.

From Wikibooks, the open-content textbooks collection
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