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If you’re a barbecuing enthusiast, you’re probably always on the hunt for the best cut of meat that you can find out there. Lesser products just don’t cut the mustard.
It might seem a little strange to others, but when they have the right cut of meat, grilled and cooked to perfection, they’ll start to realize what holding out for the good stuff can do for an eating experience.
Everyone has their favorite type of meat and their favorite cut of that particular meat. Beef and sirloin. Medallion and pork. Chicken and breast. But one of ours is absolutely the subject of today’s discussion… pork cushion meat!
In this article, we’re going to go into detail about this delicious cut of pork meat, where it is found on a pig, how it compares to other cuts of pork, how to get a hold of some, and, of course, how you can prepare it for yourself and others.
What Is Pork Cushion Meat Exactly?
So, before we go any further into this guide to this cut of pork, it’s probably best for us to explain exactly what a pork cushion is.
Pork cushion meat is a deboned part cut from the front of a pork picnic shoulder. This is a lean, well-worked part of the pig that has lots of taste to it.
Once it is cut off the bone, this piece of meat, often shaped like a triangle, is usually about 2 to 3 pounds in weight, and often comes with a lot of connective tissue to surrounding sections of the animal.
Pork cushion cuts tend to come from a well-worked pig that gets regular exercise to maintain a good level of balance of fat and muscle, something that the best pig farmers can achieve.
This means that the meat of this pork typically has plenty of flavor-packed inside it, but it also comes with a lot of connective tissue that makes it quite chewy, especially when compared to something like a pork medallion.
When discussing the makeup of this kind of meat, pork cushions tend to have a little more collagen in them when compared to other cuts from a pig.
How It Compares To Other Pork
So, we have covered some basic information on where the pork cushion is found on the pig it came from, as well as what the general texture this cut of meat has.
This might raise the question of how it compares to other types of pork, and what their texture is like to hold, feel, and eat.
The most mentioned comparable piece of pork is pork butt, a cut of pork meat that comes from a similar place around the front half of the body. It’s not uncommon to get these two different muscles mixed up with each other!
But while pork butt and pork cushion both come from the front legs of the animal, there are some notable differences between the two cuts that make them a very different experience to cook with and eat.
To start, the pork cushion is cut from the area just below the pork butt. When the hog is alive, this muscle works hard to support the pig’s weight as it moves. Because of this, the term “cushion” is used to refer to the muscle itself.
The pork butt is cut from a muscle that doesn’t play such a pivotal role in weight-bearing. As a result of this different use by the pig, there are high levels of fat marbling across the meat.
Where To Buy It
So, after talking so much about this particular cut of pork, you’re probably starting to wonder where you can buy it so that you can cook it up and try it for yourself.
Despite its delicious taste in the hands of those who know how to prepare it, it’s surprisingly hard to find in many smaller or mid-sized supermarkets. This is partly because it isn’t an often requested cut of pork, and the fact it takes a lot of skill and anatomical knowledge of a pig to separate the pork cushion from the pork butt.
Rural areas are particularly affected by this pork scarcity problem. When you need fresh meat and more obscure cuts, having a personal and friendly butcher near you is very helpful.
If you do know a reputable butcher well, and they are aware of your tastes, you might be able to ask them if they could place a specific order for a pork cushion for you in the near future. There’s a good chance that they’ll be happy to help someone who loves meat just as much as they do.
How To Prepare It
Now that you have found a cutting of pork cushion meat, you’re probably going to want to know how exactly to prepare this amazing cut for yourself, or your friends and family. Well, like with any good meat, there are a few ways you can prepare this pork for a meal.
If you’re looking for a way to enjoy pork cushion, you can’t go wrong with a great big serving of pulled pork!
To make pulled pork from a cutting of pork cushion, you need to start with meat, obviously. To make sure that you have plenty to serve to others, three pounds is often a good amount for sharing at a larger gathering.
If you want to speed up the cooking process, you can cut the pork cushion into three separate pieces before applying the rub.
Rub the pork cushions with a layer of Dijon mustard. Press the seasonings that you want in your rub into the surfaces of the pork cushions.
Make sure to use both of your hands to press the seasonings into the pork cushions. Pork should be cooked at 205 degrees Fahrenheit (95 degrees Celsius) for about six to eight hours.
Cushion cuts of meat you’ll find have a tendency to lose moisture quickly if not well-maintained. To avoid your pork drying out whilst you are frequently adding very dry spices to it, you should lightly slather your pork regularly with a fluid of some kind.
When picking your liquid of choice to keep your pork moist and to add extra flavor, apple cider or juice, any kind of beer, a type of meat stock, or even just water will serve you well.
Once the pork is fully cooked, you can remove it from the heat, wrap it with foil to retain the heat, and allow it to sit for a while. An hour should be a decent amount of time to wait before slicing into it.
But don’t let it cool too much, as the cooler it gets, the more firm the meat will become, making “pulling” it quite difficult.
Once you’re finished preparing your meat, you can serve the pork as you like, whether that’s with some barbecue sauce or a touch of applesauce as well. It’s all up to you and your dinner guests from that point onwards!
This recipe is used by BBQ Host, and they go into much more detail on what spice you should use for your recipe. If you are interested, feel free to check out their recipe here.
Roasted Pork Cushion
Of course, you can’t go wrong with a classic roasted pork recipe for your pork cushion.
Pork cushions are relatively easy to prepare and cook for a roasted pork meal. Pork cushions are cooked slowly over low heat, and they take less time to prepare than quite a few other methods. You can serve them with sides, or even make a side dish out of the pork itself.
A simple recipe using pork cushions makes an exceptional meal for pretty much any occasion. Pork cushion roast should be cooked until tender and served hot.
We suggest experimenting with this simple cook. Treat it as a blank canvas, and make it your own!
Soups And Stews
There are also plenty of chances to make great stews and soups out of a good pork cushion, whether it’s freshly cooked or leftover from a previous pork roast.
Pork stew is a popular dish that is made by mixing leftover meat with other ingredients. This is an economical method of making sure all ingredients and leftovers are used. You can also add vegetables and different kinds of broth to make a thicker version of the stew.
Cutlets And Chops For Pork Cushions
If simplicity is the aim of your game when it comes to pork cushion, cut it into chops and use them as the main event of a roast or perhaps even in sandwiches or burgers.
Do bear in mind, though, that when pan-fried, chops can get chewy and tough. To make them more tender, you should marinate the pork chops first. The marinade helps soften the meat by breaking down the connective tissues.
If you’re in more of a cutlet mood, they should be pounded or sliced as thinly as possible before being breaded and fried up to crispy golden perfection!
So there you have it. A complete guide to pork cushion roasts, including how to prepare them, tips for cooking them, and ways to make delicious meals out of them.
We hope this article has helped you learn more about pork cushions.