For those in the carnivore lifestyle, pork is always a great option. It is a versatile meat that can be cooked in many ways, and there are endless pork recipes to choose from.
I have been cooking pork for years, so whether you're looking for a new dish to add to your repertoire or just want some inspiration, here are the 10 most popular pork recipes.
Summary of the Key Findings
- Pork is the most popular meat choice worldwide due to its versatility, flavor, and affordable price.
- With its many different cuts, pork can be roasted, grilled, stir-fried, barbecued, and even made into soups and stews.
- Pork is a staple in many cuisines, including Chinese, Korean, Filipino, Spanish, and Italian.
Ham is the quintessential American pork dish. It is typically served as a holiday meal but can be enjoyed any time of year. There are many different ways to cook ham, but the most common method is to bake it in the oven.
Some people brine their ham prior to cooking, while others simply glaze it with a sweet or savory sauce. Dressed with pineapple for a sweet and tropical twist or served with green beans and potatoes for a more classic flavor, ham is always a crowd-pleaser.
2. Pork Chops
Pork chops are a cut of meat that comes from the pig's loin. It is a leaner cut of pork that is often grilled, baked, or pan-fried.
In the southern states, pork chops are often served smothered - meaning they are cooked in a gravy or sauce.
You usually make the sauce with garlic, bell peppers, celery, and onions, but in Louisiana, you will find Creole seasoning added to the gravy for an extra zesty flavor.
This dish is typically served with rice and vegetables on the side. Some people enjoy the savory flavors of pork chops mixed with the sweet taste of applesauce.
3. Pulled Pork
Pulled pork is a type of barbecue that is made by slow-cooking a pork shoulder or butt over low heat until it is exceptionally tender. The meat is then shredded or "pulled" and mixed with a barbecue sauce.
This type of pork is often served on a sandwich. But it can also be enjoyed as tacos, nachos, or even on its own. It is a popular meal for large gatherings and parties because you can make it ahead of time and efficiently serve it to a crowd.
The sauces for pulled pork vary by region, but some of the most popular include vinegar-based, mustard-based, and tomato-based sauces.
Read More: How to Cook the Perfect Pulled Pork?
Fatback is a uniquely southern pork dish made from the fatty back of a pig. It is often cured and smoked but can also be cooked fresh as a traditional New Year's Eve dish.
In this case, you fry the fat until it is crunchy and brown and serve it with greens and black-eyed peas.
Fatback is most commonly used as a seasoning or flavoring agent for a variety of dishes. It is often chopped and added to greens, beans, and other vegetables. You can also render it down into lard, which is used in many southern recipes.
Ribs are one of the most popular pork dishes in America. They can be grilled, baked, or smoked and are often served with various sauces.
The most popular sauce for ribs is a sticky barbecue sauce, either vinegar-based, sweet and spicy, or even plain old ketchup-based
Ribs are typically served as an appetizer or main course and are often cooked in large batches for parties and gatherings.
You can enjoy them with a side of coleslaw or potato salad and wash them down with an ice-cold beer. Don't forget to keep some extra sauce available for dipping.
6. Kalua Pig
A recipe native to Hawai'i Kalua pig is made by slow-cooking a whole pig in an underground oven, or imu.
The pig is rubbed with sea salt before being placed in the imu, where it cooks over hot lava rocks insulated by banana or ti leaves for several hours until it is tender and full of flavor.
Kalua pig is often served at luaus and other celebrations and is traditionally eaten with poi (taro root), Lomi Lomi salmon, and rice. Usually, a gelled coconut dish called haupia is provided for a desert.
The kalua pig can also be shredded and used in fusion cuisine as a filling for tacos or burritos.
7. Barbecue Pork
There are almost as many ways to make this dish as there are states in the US. Barbecue pork is usually made with a pork shoulder or butt that has been slow-cooked over indirect heat until it is fall-apart tender.
It is then shredded and mixed with a barbecue sauce. Finally, the pork is served on a sandwich or as an entrée.
The type of barbecue sauce used varies depending on the region, but some of the most popular include vinegar-based, mustard-based, and tomato-based sauces. The spiciness is based on locale and personal preference, but many sauces contain peppers, onions, and garlic for added flavor.
The cooking is usually done over a wood fire, which adds a smoky flavor to the meat. Oak and hickory are two of the most popular woods used for smoking pork.
Pernil is a traditional Puerto Rican dish made with roasted pork shoulder. The pork is marinated overnight in a garlic-vinegar mojado, then rubbed with oregano and roasted until it is crispy on the outside and juicy on the inside.
Pernil is typically served as an entree and is popular for large gatherings and holidays.
Many in Puerto Rico prefer this pork dish to ham because it is flavorful and "fall-off-the-bone" tender. It is often served with beans, rice, and tostones (fried green plantains).
9. Pork Tenderloin
Pork tenderloin is a cut of meat that comes from the pig's loin. It is a leaner and more tender cut of pork that is often roasted, grilled, or even pan-fried.
Pork tenderloin is a popular dish because it is relatively low-fat and healthy yet still packed with flavor. It can be served as an entree or cut into smaller pieces and used as an ingredient in other dishes.
“A pork tenderloin contains the same amount of fat and slightly less calories than the same serving of skinless chicken breast.”
- Texas Pork Producers Association
Pork tenderloin is often marinated before cooking to help tenderize the meat and add flavor. Some popular marinades include those made with apple cider vinegar, soy sauce, garlic, and brown sugar.
10. Pork and Beans
Pork and beans is a popular dish in many parts of the world, including the United States, China, and Brazil. The fare typically consists of beans cooked with pork, although the type of bean and cut of pork can vary depending on the region.
In America, pork and beans are often made with navy beans and a frankfurter, ham hock, or bacon. The beans are simmered in water or broth until they are soft, then the pork is added. You cook the dish until the pork is also tender. Seasonings, like onions, garlic, and mustard, are often combined for flavor.
Pork and beans is a universal dish because it is hearty and filling yet relatively inexpensive to make. It is often served as a side dish or main course.
What Is the Most Frequently Eaten Meat in the World?
According to the United Nations, pork is the most frequently eaten meat in the world . Pork is followed by poultry, beef, and sheep/goats.
What Is the Most Popular Cut of Pork in America?
The most popular cut of pork in America is bacon. Bacon is cut from a pig's belly or back and then cured and smoked. It’s usually eaten on its own or used as a flavor enhancer in other dishes, or even used as a wrapping for other meats.
Is It Healthy to Eat Pork?
Yes, it is healthy to eat pork. Pork is a good source of protein and essential nutrients, including iron, thiamin, zinc, and phosphorus . Pork is also relatively lean, especially when compared to other meats such as beef or lamb. When eaten in moderation, pork can be part of a healthy diet.
Is Pork Classified as White Meat?
No, pork is not classified as white meat. Although the pork industry has advertised pork as "the other white meat," the USDA classifies it as "red meat" because it has a higher myoglobin content than chicken or fish.
Give These Best Pork Recipes a Try
As you can see, there are many delicious and popular pork recipes from all over the country. But the thing that they all have in common is that they start with high-quality, fresh pork.
You should look for heritage-breed pork raised humanely, without hormones or antibiotics. Ideally, you would want pork sent fresh to your door from a company that specializes in meat delivery. Check out our article that reviews our favorite meat delivery services that tick all these boxes.