What to Look for When Buying Pork: Guide to the Freshest Meat

by Fish n Chix

Are you envious of people who can buy pork products so fast? Well, it's about familiarizing yourself with different cut types and knowing what to look for when buying pork.

There are a few things to remember when buying raw pork and we've listed below some tips so you could start preparing the best pork sandwiches and pork chops for you and your loved ones.

#1: Choosing the Cut

As you probably know, there are different cuts of pork. Choosing which type of cut to get depends on what you're planning on cooking. Here are some examples of common cuts and dishes you can use them for.

Shoulder (Kasim)

Kasim is one of two primal cuts and is very versatile. It comes from above the front leg and has an ample amount of skin, fat, and meat. Pork shoulder is most commonly used for dishes like Menudo, Roast Pork, and Barbecue.

 

Hock (Pata)

Hock is a flavorful cut that comes from the front and back legs of the pig. Although not as fatty as other cuts, the hock is packed with flavorful meat and bones. Some of the most famous dishes for pata are Crispy Pata and Pata Tim.

Belly (Liempo)


The belly might be the most famous part. This cut comes with alternating fat and meat for a rich flavor. You may enjoy some mouth-watering dishes like Pancetta, Lechon Kawali, Bacon, and Grilled Liempo with this cut.

Loin (Lomo)


Loins come from the back and produce tender meat when properly prepared. Pork tenderloin is the most tender among loin cuts. Enjoy eating pork chops or rib roast. For pork tenderloin, you may enjoy some fillet mignon or tenderloin medallions.

Ribs

Pork ribs come from the pig's ribcage. It has the highest meat-to-bone ratio, packing it with extra flavor. Eat some yummy Baby Back Ribs, Spareribs, Sinigang, or Braised Pork Ribs with this cut.

#2: Quality Checking

If you're already set on choosing which cut to buy, the next thing you should know is how to check its quality. Remember to only buy quality meat from credible retail stores like Fish n' Chix or fresh local markets. Here are some things you should look out for when buying pork.

  • The meat should have a pinkish-red color with no dark spots. Avoid dark-colored pork as it may be spoiled and tough when cooked.
  • When buying packed meat, avoid getting ones that have residual liquid inside the packaging.
  • Touch a piece of meat. It should be firm and a bit wet. If it's mushy, slimy, or dry, do not buy it.
  • Fresh pork should not have any unpleasant, sour, or ammonia-like smell.

#3: Packaging and Storage

When buying from shops, whether you're getting a rack of ribs for your tenderloin medallions or lean pork chops, you should know the two types of packaging and storage. While both types are fresh, it's still good to know before buying. See how they vary below.

Service Case vs Meat Case

Service case meat is the ones pre-packed. It is regularly when looking for uncommon or special cuts. Service case meat is usually packed over styrofoam or hard plastic and is wrapped with clear plastic, or vacuum sealed.

The meat case is where you can see the more common cuts of meat. This is where you can handpick specific cuts. Packing and weighing are done after you hand over your selected meat to the seller.

#4: Scrutinizing the Labels

When buying packed meat, scrutinize the labels. Gather all information you can find, and check if it's quality meat. To ensure food safety, policies for pre-packed food labels are in place. Here are things you should check.

  • Is the label not blocked by any elements?
  • Can you see the name and address of the manufacturer/distributor?
  • Is the date of preparation or production indicated?
  • Is there a sell-by or use-by date? 
    • The "Sell-By" dates are for the seller. Never buy meat post the date. Fresh meat should last safely for about 2 to 5 days after the indicated date.
    • The "Use-By" date states that it should be consumed prior to the indicated date.

If the packaging does not include these, do not buy it!

Terms to Know when Buying Pork

Improve your shopping with these useful terms.

  • Specific Food Cuts - these are fresh meat cuts made for specific dishes.
    • Adobo/Menudo Cut - both cuts come from the shoulder, then chopped down to bite-size pieces.
    • Sinigang Cut - this type of cut may come from either chopped neck bones or ribs.
  • Lean Meat - Lean types of meat contain less fat. This can be commonly seen when buying ground pork.
  • Bone-in Cut - Meat with bone-in cuts are types of meat where the bone is left inside the meat, usually coming from the rib bone.

Shopping at Fish n' Chix for the Freshest Pork

The next time you head to meat counters, remember to check the color of meat, stay away from tough meat, scrutinize the label, and avoid packaging with any amounts of liquid. If you're still unsure, ask questions from the seller.

For delicious flavor, always buy your raw meat or frozen pork from credible meat counters so you could almost always avoid poor-quality meat. Also, remember to always put your fresh pork in an airtight container and place it in your fridge or freezer once it reaches your home to prolong its freshness.

Buy your next set of frozen pork and favorite meats from Fish n' Chix and see what fresh pork looks like! You may also check out our other quick reads and learn different cooking methods and recipes.