If you are a healthy eater, you may well have cut back on pork. Pork has the reputation of being a fatty, unhealthy meat and so a lot of people have sworn off it. That’s a shame because pork can be really tasty and actually very healthy.
The main problem with pork is what it goes into – sausages being a prime example. Processed pork, or any processed meat for that matter, is not very good for you. However, “real” unprocessed pork should be no unhealthier than beef or lamb.
Because as a nation we are more fat conscious than ever, pork is now bred to be leaner, and pork often contains no more fat than other meats, including poultry. Even pork chops, arguably the fattiest cut of pig-meat, can be bought very lean and any excess visible fat trimmed away using a sharp knife.
Pork is often much cheaper than beef, mainly because of those people who still think of pork as inferior and unhealthy. That’s great news if, like me, you want tasty meat but don’t want to have to break the bank buying it.
To me, pork is every bit as tasty as beef and sometimes preferably in some recipes. Roast pork is a family favorite, and I also like pork cooked in stews. Beef may be the more common meat for stews, but pork works well too.
So, hopefully, I have convinced you that you can put the pork back on the menu. Pork IS generally cheaper than beef but here are some of the cheapest pork cuts that are perfect for using in any of our pork slow cooker recipes (I will soon publish more recipes).
Spare ribs – an American and Asian favorite, slow cooker spare ribs are so moist and tender that the meat just slides off the bone. Season with garlic powder, salt, and pepper or use a barbecue sauce as preferred. Either way, you’ll love not just the taste but the price. Make sure you cook enough for everyone to have some! Slow cooker Spare ribs recipe here.
Chump – if you call someone a chump, they probably won’t be pleased because this cut of meat comes from the pig’s butt. However, don’t let that put you off! Chump pork is normally made into steaks, but you can use it in any recipe that calls for diced pork.
Belly – belly pork makes for a fantastic roast, especially when cooked low and slow. Cut from the long underside of the pig, belly pork is one of the fattiest pork cuts but it’s also one of the most tender. Trim off the fat if you want to save some calories or leave it on if you want your pork to taste awesome! Slow Cooker pork belly recipe.
Neck – in my opinion, this is one of the tastiest pork cuts. It is a little on the fatty side, and the meat is dark, but it is tender and tasty. Usually sold in chops, you can dice and use pork neck in most pork recipes. It’s often marbled with fat, which is what puts people off, but in the slow cooker, that fat melts right away; delicious.
Cheek – the face of a pig might seem like an odd thing to eat, but it’s often said that the only part of a pig you cannot eat is the oink! Pork cheek really comes into its own in the slow cooker and makes for a very tender, tasty meal. I like to cook pork cheek with cider to make a great-tasting stew.
Hand and spring – this odd-sounding pork cut comes from the upper part of the pig’s foreleg. It’s normally “on the bone” which makes it ideal for using as a roast. Leave the bone in because, as the bone heats up, it cooks the meat from within and adds extra taste.
Coppa – also known as pork collar, this juicy cut of pork is ideal for slow cooking and becomes supremely tender and tasty after a few hours in your crock pot. It’s unusual so you may need to ask your butcher for it but he’ll undoubtedly be impressed you know what this is!
Secrato – from the underside of the belly, this is also known as pork skirt. Like coppa, not many people have heard of secrato but that helps keep the price down. Ask your butcher for it and try not to look too pleased with yourself if he doesn’t know what it is!
Pork cooking tips
Get the most out of pork by:
1) Always browning the meat first. This helps preserve its shape and bring out the full flavor of the meat.
2) Do not overcook pork – it can become tough and chewy even in a slow cooker.
3) Combine pork with apples or cider for a classic taste combination
4) Lightly coat pork with vegetable oil to keep it from drying out during cooking. This is especially useful for roasts.
5) Do not partially cook pork and then finish cooking it later. Make sure pork is cooked thoroughly to kill any potential bacteria. Do not eat pork “rare.” If you marinade pork, discard unused marinade to avoid cross-contamination.
Pork and slow cooking is a match made in heaven. Don’t take my word for it though – check out and try these great pork slow cooker recipes for yourself!