Food Charcoal heats on the grill. Zach Boyden-Holmes/Juice

Charcoal heats on the grill. Zach Boyden-Holmes/Juice

Decoding the new pork cuts

Published on August 14th, 2013 | by Joe Lawler

Earlier this year the National Pork Board announced it was changing the names of many of its cuts of meat to make them more appealing to consumers. For some the reason is obvious (Boston butt, anyone?), but others seem a little more arbitrary. Joyce Hoppes, consumer information director with the Iowa Pork Producers, ran us through some of the changes so a trip to the meat counter won’t be so confusing.

What it was: Boston butt

What it is now: Boston shoulder roast

“This is where a lot of pulled pork comes from,” Hoppes said. “For some people, ‘butt’ might not be as appealing.”

What it was: Bone-in loin chop

What it is now: Porterhouse pork chop

“In Iowa, a lot of the time the thicker kind of that cut is called an Iowa chop, and when it’s thinner it was a bone-in loin chop,” Hoppes said. “I think retailers in Iowa will rename the thinner cut the porterhouse, but it’s tough to tell if they’ll give up the Iowa chop. If they see it has value, they’ll probably keep it.”

What it was: Bone-in rib chop

What it is now: Bone-in rib-eye

Not a big change. The boneless version is now called a rib-eye pork chop.

What it was: Boneless loin chop

What it is now: New York pork chop

Even if it comes from Iowa, New York is getting some credit.

What it was: Boneless sirloin chop

What it is now: Sirloin pork chop

“Some of these aren’t so big a change,” Hoppes said.

In addition to name changes, Hoppes said the pork industry is using new labeling with cooking suggestions for the cuts.

“It’s all voluntary, so this is a process that will take a while,” Hoppes said. “I think more retailers will adopt the new names over time.”

Touch your thumb to your pointer finger and that area will feel like rare meat, thumb to middle finger is medium rare. Thumb to ring finger is medium and thumb to pinky is well done.

About the Author

Joe Lawler covers music and more for Juice Magazine. E-mail him at or follow his updates on Twitter @JoeLawler

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