For years, I was in survival mode. In other words, I liked the idea of being self-sufficient and knowing the survival of my family wasn’t dependent on grocery stores. We grew most of our own food, including pork. I really enjoyed raising pigs, and I learned to cook pork in all kinds of ways! Below are some of the cooking techniques and methods I used for fresh (not cured) pork:
Frying – Just about any cut of pork is good battered and fried. These include the obvious cuts like pork chops and loin steaks, but other parts of the pig are great cooked this way, too. The sliced butts or shoulders, sliced fresh ham, ribs, and fatback can all be cooked with this method.
Baking – Large cuts and smaller pork cuts can be baked successfully. These include pork chops, loin roasts, whole fresh hams, pork steaks, and shoulder roasts are all great baked in the oven.
Pan-broiled – Pork steaks and chops are great cooked in an oil-drizzled hot skillet, without the need for batter. Before cooking, you might want to place the pork in meat marinades for a few hours. Using meat marinades will make the pork tender and tasty.
Grilled – Thinner cuts of pork are best for grilling: pork chops, baby back ribs, spare ribs, country-style ribs, and steaks from the shoulders and hams. Grilling marinades will help tenderize tougher cuts and will add flavor to any cut.
BBQ Cooking – By BBQ cooking, I mean barbecuing in the Southern sense: Slow smoking over low heat. While any part of the pig can be done with this cooking technique, larger cuts are usually preferred. In the South, this usually means Boston butts from the shoulder, fresh hams, loin roasts, and racks of ribs. Oftentimes, an entire pig or hog is cooked with this method! This is generally referred to as a “pig pickin’.” For BBQ cooking large pieces of pork, the meat is often rubbed with herbs and spices before cooking. It might also be “mopped” with a flavorful liquid during cooking time. Once the pork is done, it might be sliced, chopped, or pulled and served with barbecue sauce. Some cooks mix the sauce with the pork, while others serve the sauce on the side.