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Pork Parts – Know Your Cuts

Pork is a very popular meat type in the world today and learning more about pork parts and the type of cuts available will help you navigate the world of wholesale pork. There are the 4 main primal cuts of pork that make up the wholesale pork market and from which retail cuts of meat are produced. These are the shoulder, the loin, the leg, and the side or belly of the pig.

From these primal cuts, more of the popular retails cuts originate. Here is a brief description of the most popular pork cuts. Let’s start from the bottom up.


The hock or knuckle is the joint between the tibia/fibula of the leg and the metatarsals of the foot. The pork hocks come from the front; the ham hocks come from the rear legs.

Leg or Ham

The leg or ham is the rear leg of the pig and is typically eaten cured, smoked, and processed in some way.

Pork Belly

The pork belly is as the name implies, the belly of the pig. Bacon is pork belly, cured, smoked, and sliced.


These come from the picnic ham which is the lower portion of the pig specifically the belly and breastbone. They start behind the shoulder and include 11 to 13 long bones. Country-style spareribs contain a combination of both dark and light meat.

Pork Shoulder

Pork shoulder (also called pork butt) is the cut of pork that comes from the upper part of the shoulder from the front leg and may contain the blade bone. Boneless pork shoulder is popular as a roast. The pork shoulder or pork butt is the most common cut used for pulled pork, a staple of barbecue in the southern United States.

Picnic Ham

The picnic ham (sometimes referred to as the picnic shoulder) is the lower part of shoulder of the pig and is typically sold bone-in.


Thick or thin, bone-in or bone-less, the pork chop is cut from meat perpendicular to the spine, often from the loin.


The pork loin comes from the pig’s back and is typically large, lean, and very tender.


To the rear of the loin is the section of the back that the sirloin is cut from. This meat is typically cut into chops and is lean and tender.

Baby Back Ribs

The most tender rib option is the baby back rib. Since these ribs come from the pork loin, the meat in between the bones is a loin meat rather than belly meat.

Shopping for Wholesale Pork

If you are in the market for fresh, local source of wholesale pork, let Interra International introduce you to the best pork products worldwide.  Our quality relationships, our full-service food distribution offerings, and our outstanding service makes us the leader in quality wholesale meat and pork.  Contact Interra for more information.

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