Do You Know Your Pork Cuts?

Do pork chops, pork loin, ham, and Boston Butt, all mean the same thing to you? Maybe you’re not sure what part of the pig each cut is from. What’s worse is you’re probably not sure how best to prepare these delicious cuts. Read on to demystify pork cuts, learn where each piece comes from and how to cook them for the best results.

Pork Shoulder (aka Pork Butt or Boston Butt)

Wait, pork shoulder and pork butt? Aren’t we talking about opposite sides of the animal? Believe it or not, the word “butt” originally referred to the widest part of the animal, which for pigs, is the shoulder.

This is a great roasting cut that works for any preparation that’s long and slow. Pulled pork anyone?

Picnic Ham

Just below the pork shoulder is the picnic ham. It’s also great for a long, slow cook.

Pork Loin

From the back of the pig, this long, lean cut can be very tender when prepared well. Make it as a slow roast, but watch the heat so it doesn’t dry out!

Pork Chops

These come in a range from the fattier shoulder end through to the loin end. They’re great for frying and grilling.


There are many types of ribs.

  • Baby Back Ribs come with loin meat and can be quite tender. Enjoy them barbecued or baked.
  • Country Style Spare Ribs cut from the same area as the picnic ham, these meaty ribs are lovely stewed or braised.


Typically cured or smoked, the typical ham is often cut from the rear leg. All you have to do is heat it through and dress it as you please.

Still not sure? Buy your free-range Alberta pork here at Spragg’s and ask our staff about our cuts and cooking recommendations. They’ll be glad to help!

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About Spragg’s Meat Shop Spragg’s Meat Shop is a family-owned and operated business located in Rosemary, Alberta. Greg and Bonnie Spragg raise hogs, process, and market their pork products direct to Albertan consumers. Spragg’s works hard to produce the best pork for Albertans, from the day the pigs are born, to the day the pork chops are cut, bacon is smoked, and the roast is marinated. The Spragg family hopes that you get as much enjoyment eating their pork as they do getting it to your table.