As versatile as it is flavorful, pork makes a great starting point for plenty of dinners. Here is a cheat sheet for a few of our favorite cuts of pork, plus a delicious recipe that brings out the best in each one.When it comes to cooking pork for dinner, it’s all about choosing the right cut, then using the best method to cook it. Use this guide to help demystify the meat case.Lean meal: tenderloin What it is: Like the name implies, this cut is very tender. It’s also lean, which means it can quickly dry out if overcooked. How to cook it: You can take two approaches to cooking tenderloin: Roast, broil or grill it whole, or cut crosswise into medallions and saute or grill.Quick dinner: chops What they are: Rib chops are the most common type of supermarket pork chop, but all pork chops can be cooked in the same way. How to cook them: Chops do well with high heat, so consider them for fast, hot cooking methods like grilling or broiling. Bone-in chops take slightly longer to cook, but they’ll be juicier.Big flavor: bacon, prosciutto What they are: Cured meats use salt or smoke as a preservative, which also amps up the meaty flavor. How to cook them: Think of cured pork as a flavor-adding ingredient rather than a protein source. It can add rich, savory flavor to pasta dishes, sauces, soups and chilis.Hands-off cooking: shoulder roast, pork butt roast What they are: Both of these large, well-marbled cuts come from the front legs of the pig. How to cook them: Their large size and layers of fat make them ideal for long, slow cooking, such as braising or stewing. The result? Tender, succulent meat.
Chili-lime pork with corn salad
• 5 ears corn (4 cups kernels)
• 1 small jalapeño, seeded if desired, minced
• 1 scallion, thinly sliced
• 1/2 cup fresh cilantro
• 1 avocado, sliced
• 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided, plus more for grill
• 2 limes
• Coarse salt and pepper
• 1 teaspoon chili powder
• 2 pork tenderloins (1 pound each), each cut into six 1-inch-thick medallions
1. Boil corn 5 minutes in a pot of salted water. Drain and rinse under cold water to cool. With a sharp knife, cut kernels from cobs. Transfer to a bowl and toss with jalapeño, scallion, cilantro, avocado, 2 tablespoons oil and juice of 1 lime. Season with salt.
2. In a separate bowl, combine chili powder, 2 teaspoons salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper and remaining 2 tablespoons oil. Place plastic wrap over pork medallions and press each to flatten to about 1/2 inch thick. Brush both sides with chili mixture.
3. Heat a grill or grill pan to medium-high. Clean and lightly oil hot grill. Grill pork 3 minutes to 4 minutes per side for medium. Remove from grill and squeeze juice of remaining lime on top. Serve with corn salad.
Nutritional information per serving: 571 calories, 29 grams fat (6 grams saturated fat), 52 grams protein, 28 grams carbohydrates, 7 grams fiber, 46 percent of calories from fat.
Orange-and-honey glazed pork chops
• 2 oranges (1 zested and juiced, 1 cut into 8 wedges)
• 1/4 cup white-wine vinegar
• 3/4 cup honey
• Salt and pepper
• 4 bone-in pork chops (about 8 ounces each, 1 inch thick)
• 5 sprigs rosemary
1. In a bowl, whisk together orange zest and juice, vinegar, honey and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Place pork, orange wedges and rosemary in a shallow dish or zip-top bag and coat with marinade. Refrigerate pork at least 2 hours or overnight.
2. Remove pork, orange wedges and rosemary from marinade; transfer pork and oranges to a wire rack set on a foil-lined rimmed baking sheet. Season pork with salt and pepper. Transfer marinade to a small saucepan and simmer over medium heat until reduced by half, about 5 minutes.
3. Heat broiler, with rack in upper third. Broil pork and oranges, about 3 minutes, then flip pork, brush with reduced marinade and add rosemary. Broil until pork is lightly charred and cooked through, about 5 to 7 minutes. Brush with more reduced marinade and serve.
Nutritional information per serving: 425 calories, 11 grams fat (4 grams saturated fat), 24 grams protein, 61 grams carbohydrates, 2 grams fiber, 23 percent of calories from fat.
Bacon, pea and fresh herb pasta
• Salt and pepper
• 1/2 pound short pasta, such as cavatappi
• 1 1/2 cups peas, fresh or frozen
• 4 ounces bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
• 4 ounces fresh goat cheese
• 1 1/2 cups fresh parsley
• 1/2 cup chopped fresh dill
• 1/4 cup sliced fresh chives
• Half a lemon, zested and juiced
1. In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta according to package instructions. If using fresh peas, add 2 minutes before pasta is done cooking; if using frozen, add just before draining. Reserve 1 cup pasta water, then drain.
2. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, cook bacon over medium heat until crisp, about 8 to 10 minutes. With a slotted spoon, remove bacon and drain on paper towels. Discard all but 1 tablespoon bacon fat from skillet.
3. Increase heat to medium-high; add pasta, goat cheese and 3/4 cup reserved pasta water and stir until goat cheese melts. (Add remaining pasta water, if necessary.)
4. Stir in bacon, parsley, dill, chives, and lemon zest and juice; season with salt and pepper.
Nutritional information per serving: 394 calories, 13 grams fat (6 grams saturated fat), 18 grams protein, 51 grams carbohydrates, 4 grams fiber, 30 percent of calories from fat.
Serves 4 to 6
• 3 pounds pork shoulder, excess fat trimmed, cut into 1-inch pieces
• Salt and pepper
• 1 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced
• 1 cup green tomatillo salsa
• 1 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
• Fresh cilantro and lime wedges, for serving
Season pork with salt and pepper. In a large Dutch oven or other heavy-bottomed pot, add pork, onion, salsa and broth. Bring to a boil, then cover and reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer until pork pulls apart easily, 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Skim fat off top. Season with salt and pepper. Top with cilantro and limes to serve.
Nutritional information per serving, based on 6: 341 calories, 14 grams fat (5 grams saturated fat), 47 grams protein, 4 grams carbohydrates, 0 grams fiber, 37 percent of calories from fat.