Pork meat’s variety is legendary. It provides smooth to chunky and crisp to tender textures.
Pork meat’s variety is legendary. It provides smooth to chunky and crisp to tender textures, combines with an extensive assortment of sweet and savoury flavours, and can be cooked in various ways to deliver an inimitable taste.
ButcherSA explores consumption trends and local quality and safety assurance, and offers valuable tips to be shared with consumers.
Worldwide consumption patterns of pork indicate that, despite religious restrictions on its consumption and the prominence of beef production in the West, it is one of the most widely eaten meats.
The carcass may be used in many different ways for fresh and cured meat cuts, with the popularity of certain cuts and certain carcass proportions varying worldwide.
Eaten in various forms, including cooked (as roast or grilled pork), cured (bacon and some hams, including the Italian prosciutto), smoked, or a combination of these methods (other hams, gammon, bacon or Pancetta), pork is particularly common as an ingredient of sausages. Many brands of American hot dogs and most breakfast sausages are made from pork, as well as several traditional European sausages, including chorizo, fuet, Cumberland sausage and salami.
Ham and bacon are popular foods worldwide. Besides the basic enjoyment of bacon as a breakfast food or a delicious addition to many dishes, in continental Europe, it is also used in cubes (lardons) as a cooking ingredient valued both as a source of fat and for its flavour. In Italy, besides being used in cooking, bacon (pancetta) is also served uncooked and thinly sliced as part of an antipasto. Non-western cuisines also use preserved meat products, for example, salted preserved pork or red roasted pork in Chinese and Asian cuisine.
South Africa’s well-organised pork industry compares favourably with the rest of the world. In order to ensure traceability and a high quality product being offered to the consumer, South African pork producers have made quality assurance their top priority. The focus is on biosecurity (the safety of living things), food safety and unparalleled eating quality.
The South African Pork Producers Organisation (SAPPO) is the national body responsible for matters of national interest. The functions of SAPPO entail animal health, promotions, training and development of emerging farmers, statistics, industry protection, research, communication and information. Networking also takes place with abattoir owners, the wholesale and retail trade, researchers, and academics specialising in pig production.
Why buy South African pork?
South African pork is being produced according to world-class standards and is guaranteed 100% safe throughout the entire production chain, thus from farm to fork. These standards are strictly monitored.
Local producers adhere to stringent production standards regarding animal health, animal feed and animal housing practices. Pigs are scientifically fed and raised, based on many decades of international research.
South African pigs are also slaughtered according to first-class hygiene standards. Meat inspection at approved abattoirs is compulsory in terms of the Meat Safety Act no 40 of 2000. This means that pork at these abattoirs is inspected to determine if it adheres to strict safety regulations to ensure a wholesome product for the consumer.
Pork is moved to retail outlets in refrigerated trucks to maintain a cold chain all the way to consumers.
What are pork’s health benefits?
All local lean, trimmed pork cuts, being the leg, loin, shoulder and neck sections, with no more than three millimetre visible fat, are approved by the Heart Foundation.
Nowadays pork is low in fat and in kilojoules as it contains a low percentage of intramuscular fat, making it an ideal choice for slimmers and healthy eaters. Once visible fat has been trimmed, pork contains only 1.5% intramuscular fat.
Pork loin and fillet are just as lean as the leanest type of chicken: skinless chicken breast. In fact, pork chops and pork roast without skin are leaner than a skinless chicken thigh.
Rich in minerals and vitamin B1 (thiamine), a 90 g portion of pork without bone provides adults with 45% of their daily protein needs.
What does healthy pork look like?
Colour and feel: The meat of a young animal is greyish pink, firm to the touch and does not leave an impression when pressed with a finger.
Bones and ribs: The surface of sawn bones should be red and porous, and the ribs should have red flecks. The bones of an older animal are greyish white and chalky with no red flecks on the ribs.
Cartilage: The cartilage between the vertebrae is soft and jelly-like. In an older animal the cartilage is hard.
Fat: The fat is mostly white to creamy white. An oily appearance is indicative of an older animal.
How can the customer ensure pork remains safe once purchased?
At the store –
• Make sure that the meat is cold and that frozen foods are solid;
• Don’t buy packages that are torn, cracked, dented or bulging or where pieces of bone has gone through the packaging;
• Buy perishable food such as meat last and take it home immediately; freeze it promptly (in the case of pork, within two hours of purchasing).
Storing at home –
• Remove fresh pork from the plastic or Styrofoam it comes in from the store and wrap it tightly in cling wrap or butcher paper. This preserves the moisture, protects flavour and prevents freezer burn.
• Freeze uncooked pork for up to one month. If vacuum packed, it can be frozen up to 6 months.
• Wash hands thoroughly with warm soapy water before and after handling meat – the same applies to cutting boards and utensils;
• Thaw meat in the refrigerator, and preferably not in the microwave or at room temperature;
• Do not wash raw meat before cooking;
• Cook meat immediately after thawing,
• Discard leftover marinades – do not reuse.
Correctly cooked pork is juicy and tender with a light grey colour in the centre,and is ready when it reaches an internal temperature of 75ºC.
• Chill leftovers in the refrigerator within two hours after cooking and eat within a few days;
• Freeze leftover meat that cannot be used within a few days;
• Reheat leftovers until the middle is hot before serving;
• When in doubt, throw it out.
Hints and tips on cuts and their usages
The head can be used to make brawn, stocks and soups. After boiling, the ears can be fried or baked and eaten separately.
The neck of the pig carcass is too short to remove separately and is removed with the thick rib, which consists of the shoulder blade, vertebrae with dorsal vertebrae and five to seven ribs.
These are the juiciest and most tender chops – perfect for oven-grilling or pan-frying.
Remove the shoulder blade and tie with string or place in a mesh pocket to create an even shape. The cavity created when removing the shoulder blade can be filled with stuffing before roasting. When stuffed, it is called a cushion of pork.
Cubed thick rib can be used for kebabs, stir-fries, curries and stew.
Rib chops have a classical “chops” shape and are visually similar to loin chops. Braai, oven-grill or pan-fry, or marinate or serve with a sauce.
Whole rib can be oven-roasted whole, or deboned and rolled before roasting.
The loin contains the vertebral column, a T-shaped bone, a large eye muscle and the smaller fillet. A saddle roast is loin chops left undivided.
Tender and tasty pork loin chops can be pan-fried, oven-grilled or braaied.
The loin can be used as a roast with the bone in or deboned and rolled.
Considered to be pork “rump steaks”, the chump contains the pelvic bone and several muscle layers.
Pan-fry, oven-grill or braai, or marinate or serve with a sauce.
The chump is sometimes left on the leg of pork to create a large oven-roast, and can be deboned.
The leg consists of marrow bones and several muscle layers. The leg from larger carcasses can be divided into three separate cuts, i.e. the silverside, topside and thick flank for smaller roasts.
Roast leg of pork is a tasty and economical way to feed a large group of people. Debone and tie for ease of carving when cooked.
Leg can be cubed for kebabs, curry and stew, or cut in strips for stir-fry.
Can be tenderised, crumbed and pan-fried
Large steaks or chops can be cut from a leg for oven-grilling, pan-frying or braaiing.
SHANK AND TROTTER
The shank contains a large proportion of bone. The meat contains a lot of white connective tissue, which makes it very tasty.
When cured and smoked, shank is known as Eisbein, which is slow-cooked or oven-roasted until really tender.
Slow cook and prepare as a tomato bredie, curry, stew or potjiekos.
Clean the trotters and use for brawn.
This part is boneless with a thin muscle layer and a lot of white connective tissue.
Oven-grill or braai them over coals, plain or with basting/marinade
Delicious deboned, rolled and oven-roasted
Remove the rind, cut into 25-mm thick strips and use for concertina kebabs.
This cut contains the breastbone, rib ends and a portion of the marrowbone.
Most popular when cut as long racks, spare ribs can be oven-grilled or braaied over coals, plain or with basting or marinade.
Oven-grill or “Weber” roast
These can be marinated and grilled as “spare ribs”, and cut into portions for a stew or potjiekos.
Debone the cut, slice into a rectangular shape and make a roll for pot-roasting.
A deboned breast can be cut into 25-mm thick strips for concertina kebabs.
Cut into cubes for a stew and use the trimmings for mince.
– Shoulder (thick rib), loin, leg, belly and breast
Ham and bacon are made from fresh pork by curing with salt (pickling) and/or smoking. Shoulder, chump and leg are most commonly cured in this manner for ham, whereas streaky and round bacon come from the loin (round) and the belly (streaky). For uncured bacon (“green bacon”), the breast is deboned and cured before being cut into thin (3 mm) strips.
Offal today is virtually unknown, particularly by the younger generation. This is unfortunate because not only is offal gourmet food but it also has a high nutritional value. Everything removed during the dressing (slaughtering) of a carcass is regarded as offal. This includes the brains, tongue, trotters, tripe, kidneys, liver and heart.
Fruity/sweet/sour: apples, quinces, pineapple, gooseberries, pomegranate, berries, prunes, apricots, lemon juice, chutney, onion, ginger, cinnamon, cardamom, baked bananas and chilli chocolate
Savoury tastes and herbs and spices: sage, fennel, chives, coriander, mint, garlic parsley, marjoram, tarragon, chopped olives, sun-dried tomatoes, rocket, goat/mozzarella cheese, grated lemon peel, Oriental sauces, rich brown gravy, curry and peanut sauce
(Practical Tips on Cooking Delicious, Succulent Pork – Information courtesy of South African Pork Producers Organisation)
At the most basic level, there are three cooking methods for pork: dry heat cooking, moist heat cooking and combination cooking (stir-fry).
– Dry heat cooking
Oven-roasting, oven-grilling, braaing, pan-grilling, deep-fat frying and shallow-fat frying are all classified as dry heat cooking because the pork is cooked by means of direct exposure to heat or the circulation of hot air.
Deep-fat frying is seldom used these days. If you wish to deep-fry frikkadels, chops or steaks, it’s best to coat each item with seasoned crumbs or in batter to protect the pork from direct exposure to the hot oil. Always drain off excess oil before serving.
Shallow-fat frying is used for crumbed cuts such as pork schnitzels or crumbed chops. Refrigerate the crumbed cut for two hours before frying to ensure that the crumbs stick to the pork surface when frying. Always drain off excess oil before serving.
– Moist heat cooking
Stewing, casseroles, pot-roasting, braising, boiling, cooking in bags and foil wrapping are all considered to be methods of moist heat cooking.
Cooking bags and foil wrap (shiny side against the meat) is used for cuts such as whole shoulder, thick rib joints and leg of pork. When wrapping or bagging, remove the skin as it will not crisp when using moist heat.
Steaks, chops and slices from the belly or breast can be braised.
Boiling should only be used in the preparation of cured or smoked cuts such as Eisbein or gammon.
The rind (skin) must be removed from meat cuts using the moist-heat cooking method.
– Combination cooking (stir-fry)
Stir-fry is a combination of dry and moist heat. Pork stir-fry dishes are quick, easy, economical and healthy.
Pour a small amount of olive, peanut or canola oil into a wok or a heavy-based frying pan (a combination of olive oil and peanut oil give the best results). Pat dry the pork strips using kitchen paper and cook until medium brown on medium heat. Do not over-cook.
There are a number of local companies that specialise in pork products – Eskort, Lynca Meats, Winelands Pork, BRM Brands, Malu Pork, The Flying Pig, Best Pork and Meat Mania to name but a few.
Lynca Meats – Lynca Meats supplies a range of quality pork products to the food service, wholesale, butchery and retail industry.
From its humble beginnings as a family-run piggery in 1988, Lynca Meats has evolved into a leading pork producer in South Africa, processing over 360 000 pigs annually.
At Lynca Meats customer partnerships and relationships are at the core of their success, they go the extra mile to provide each customer with a unique, customised service and product offering to ensure optimal customer satisfaction, growth and profitability.
To underpin this passion and purpose and to ensure consistent quality, Lynca Meats implements rigorous safety and quality practices and are accredited with the highest quality management system worldwide, FSSC22000.
Food safety is an increasingly complex undertaking and producing safe, high quality and nourishing food are fundamental to Lynca Meats’ very existence.
All quality certifications, highlighting that Lynca Meats systems rate amongst the best in the world to ensure food safety and consistent quality, includes Pork360 Abattoir Registration; SANS 10330: 2007 HACCP (SABS); PAS 220 (SABS); Woolworths Proof of Audits; Food Safety Assessment Audits and Export Status Certificate (ZA14).
For more info click here ……….
Winelands Pork – Winelands Pork (Pty) Ltd was founded in 2001 in the Western Cape.
Since then we have grown into an export approved abattoir specialising in the slaughtering of pigs. Pigs are from selected approved farms ensuring quality is of the highest standard.
Our export pig carcasses come from state of the art compartmentalized farms to meet the highest health requirements for international export markets.
Winelands Pork is an export approved abattoir and focus is only on pork and therefore we pride ourselves as specialists in the market.
Winelands Pork City is the proud supplier of a variety of high quality pork products.
Our butchery supplies pork products direct to the public, from household use to the informal traders.
BRM Brands – With passion and care, BRM have been leading the industry since 1985. Our range of famous, fully cooked ribs include pork, beef and lamb ribs are guaranteed succulent, tender and incredibly tasty.
We expanded into offering our products to retailers, which allowed anyone to become a chef and conveniently indulge in the unique taste of BRM ribs in the comfort of their homes.
Nowadays, we don’t only offer pork ribs, but also other meats including beef and lamb ribs, a whole host of chicken products, cooked rib burgers and pulled pork, beef, and chicken. Our high-quality products are available to both the restaurant industry, directly to consumers from trusted retail chains and our well-stocked, famous factory shops.
BRM’s position as a global market leader in cooked meats, and our uncompromising commitment to quality and food safety, was first recognised in 2006, when we became the first company in South Africa to have our Food Safety and Quality Management System certified by the SABS (South African Bureau of Standards) as ISO 22 000.
Our commitment to quality and food safety is ongoing and today, both our manufacturing plants are export approved and certified by SGS International on the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) benchmarked FSSC 22 000 standard.