Is Pork Collar the New Pork Belly?

This mostly European pork cut is tender, versatile and gaining traction in the US

Photo Sasabune Omakase Modified: Flickr/erin/CC 4.0

Pork Collar

April Bloomfield tweeted about making pork ramen with pork collar instead of belly for dinner this week.  Chef Adrian Richardson down under in Victoria, Australia raves about pork collar as one of his favorite cuts of pork. And on this side of the pond, Rob Levitt, owner of Butcher and Larder, an all-natural, humanely-raised butcher in Chicago, says that pork collar is one of the better, though lesser-known cuts of pork, and that it’s actually more tender than the juicy pork belly.

Click here for Chef Richardson's pork collar recipe!

So what is pork collar? It’s the section of the pig that runs from where the head ends down to where the shoulder begins. In Italian, this succulent section is called the “coppa.”

“It’s tender enough to eat slightly pink in the middle and the flavor is amazing, plus it’s almost impossible to screw up,” joked Rob Levitt.

According to GadAboutFood, pork collar will become the next trend,  as more European chefs are putting it on their menus. Plus, it’s cheap for the average consumer to buy.

 “I personally hate the word trend but I think it should catch on, though it hasn’t quite become popular in the US yet because it’s usually smoked overseas," said Levitt.

If you want to give pork collar a go in your own kitchen, Levitt says that many specialty butchers in America, like his shop will have the cut of pork, especially if you ask ahead of time. Grocery stores will usually stick to the pork loin and shoulder. Levitt recommends cooking the pork with the skin and fat still on. He rubs the outside with salt, pepper and spices and lets it sit overnight. Then he will braise the pork with liquid stock and beer to lock in the juices. The meat, he said is very intuitive, because you will know exactly when it’s cooked to perfection when the skin becomes golden and crispy. 

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