What is Pork Stew Meat? A Delicious and Versatile Cut for Hearty Stews

Pork stew meat is a tasty and versatile cut of pork that is perfect for making delicious stews, soups, braises, and other slow-cooked dishes. If you love cooking up comforting, stick-to-your-ribs meals, learning all about pork stew meat is essential.

What Cut of Pork is Used for Stew Meat?

Pork stew meat typically comes from the shoulder of the pig. The shoulder contains a good amount of fat and connective tissue, which helps keep the meat tender and juicy during slow, moist cooking methods like braising. Popular specific cuts used for pork stew meat include the Boston butt (upper part of shoulder) and the picnic shoulder (lower part)

These cuts are rich in collagen, which breaks down into gelatin when simmered slowly over low heat. The gelatin gives the cooking liquid a luscious thickness while keeping the meat succulent. The marbling of fat through these cuts also helps prevent them from drying out.

How is Pork Stew Meat Prepared?

To transform a large shoulder roast into stew meat, the butcher trims off any excess fat and sinew, then cuts the meat into small, bite-sized chunks, typically around 1-inch cubes. This small size allows the pork to cook evenly and absorb all the delicious flavors of the braising liquid.

The irregular shape of the cubed meat gives pork stew a rustic, homemade look and feel You can easily cut a pork shoulder roast into stew meat yourself at home Just make sure your knives are sharp!

What is the Benefit of Buying Pre-Cut Pork Stew Meat?

While you can DIY your pork stew meat, purchasing pre-cut cubes can save lots of time and effort. Pre-cut stew meat allows you to skip straight to the fun part – tossing the pork into the pot and letting the cooking aromas fill your kitchen.

Buying pork already trimmed and portioned into perfect little morsels means you avoid wrestling with a huge, fatty shoulder roast. Pre-cut stew meat also cooks more evenly, since the butcher uses the right combination of lean meat and fat.

Why is Pork Stew Meat So Tasty and Tender?

When braised long and slow, pork stew meat becomes fall-apart tender while taking on all the complex flavors of the surrounding liquid. The natural marbling of fat keeps each little cube nice and moist.

The ample collagen melts into the cooking broth, acting as a natural thickener while giving the meat a melt-in-your-mouth texture. Simply put, the shoulder is the ideal part of the pig for producing delectable stew meat.

What Dishes Use Pork Stew Meat?

The possibilities are endless when cooking with pork stew meat! From Vietnamese pho to Italian ragu to Southern gumbo, this cut stars in many classic dishes across the globe. Other delicious ways to use pork stew meat include:

  • Hearty bean or vegetable soups
  • Mexican pozole and menudo stews
  • Savory pot pies and empanadas
  • Rich mushroom bourguignon
  • Smoky jambalaya or gumbo
  • Flavorful chili con carne
  • Comforting casseroles and hotpots
  • Filling dumpling or wonton fillings
  • Saucy braised dishes like ossobuco

How Should You Cook Pork Stew Meat?

To bring out the best in pork stew meat, use moist cooking methods like:

  • Braising: Partially brown the meat, then simmer gently in a flavorful liquid until fork tender.
  • Stewing: Build layers of flavor by browning the meat, sautéing aromatics, deglazing, and finally simmering.
  • Slow cooking: Let a slow cooker work its magic on pork stew meat for 8-10 hours.

The key is to cook low and slow, allowing time for the collagen to transform into luscious gelatin. Be sure to add plenty of aromatics like garlic, onions, and herbs. A touch of acid from tomato or wine helps brighten the flavor.

Handy Tips for Cooking with Pork Stew Meat

Follow these tips when cooking with pork stew meat:

  • Sear the meat before simmering to build a flavorful crust.
  • Cook gently – don’t let the liquid boil, which can toughen the meat.
  • Skim the fat periodically for clearer, more appetizing results.
  • Add veggies halfway through cooking so they don’t overcook.
  • Check for tenderness after a few hours of braising or stewing.
  • Let it rest before serving so the juices redistribute evenly.

What Are Some Key Stew Meat Ingredients?

While the pork itself provides plenty of rich meatiness, a few key supporting ingredients help make stew meat dishes truly shine:

  • Aromatic veggies like onion, celery, carrots, and garlic provide a flavor foundation.
  • Herbs and spices like bay leaves, thyme, paprika, cumin, and chili powder add interest.
  • ** tomatoes and wine** lend bright acidity.
  • Hearty veggies and beans like potatoes, peas, lentils, or chickpeas boost nutrition.
  • ** Umami-rich ingredients** like mushrooms, soy sauce, or Worcestershire give a savory boost.

Handy Pork Stew Meat Substitutes

Don’t have pork stew meat on hand? Try using these substitutions:

  • Beef chuck or brisket – classic beef cuts for stewing
  • Chicken thighs – stay juicy when braised
  • Lamb shoulder – perfect for Mediterranean flavors
  • Squash, tempeh, or seitan – satisfying veggie options

While each substitution will give a slightly different flavor, the braising method remains the same. Just adjust seasonings and aromatics to complement the new main ingredient.

How Should You Store Pork Stew Meat?

Raw pork stew meat keeps well in the fridge for 2-3 days. For longer storage, freeze meat cubes in an airtight container for 2-3 months. Thaw frozen pork stew meat overnight in the fridge before cooking.

Cooked pork stew meat keeps refrigerated for 3-4 days. Let cool completely before storing to prevent bacteria growth. The flavorful broth also freezes well for future use.

Where to FindPork Stew Meat

Look for pork stew meat in a few places:

  • Butcher counters at grocery stores or meat markets
  • Pre-packaged in the refrigerated meat section
  • Frozen food section – often pre-cut for stew recipes
  • Online from food delivery services like ButcherBox

For the best results, try to find stew meat cut from pork shoulder, rather than mystery trimmings. Opt for good marbling to prevent dryness.

Is Pork Stew Meat Healthy?

Pork shoulder is a pretty fatty cut, but that fat provides plenty of flavor. When braised, much of the fat melts away, leaving tender meat behind. Look for organic, pasture-raised pork for the healthiest options.

Pork provides a good dose of protein, zinc, iron, thiamin, selenium, and vitamins B6 and B12. The collagen is also great for joint health. Just be mindful of sodium levels in canned or packaged broths when braising.

Overall, pork stew meat is a nutritious and satisfying choice when cooked properly. The lean meat and ample gelatin offer a protein powerhouse. For a healthier take, trim excess visible fat after cooking and skim the fat from the surface before serving.

Time to Start Stewing!

Now that you know all about pork stew meat – from where it comes from to how to cook it – it’s time to start stewing! This versatile, flavorful cut is just waiting to star in your next hearty soup, stew, or braise.

Pork stew meat is affordable, readily available, and easy to turn into a mouthwatering meal. For a comforting dinner on a chilly night, pull out a big pot and let some cubed pork shoulder work its magic. The possibilities are endless with this humble yet delicious braising staple.

How To Cook the Best PORK STEW (Hearty and Tender) | One-Pot Pork Stew Recipe with Vegetables!!


What cut of pork is pork stew meat?

What Is Pork Stew? Pork stew is a savory dish consisting of pork roast (usually boneless pork shoulder or pork loin) and assorted vegetables in an aromatic sauce, cooked down to a velvety, gravy-like consistency.

Why is my pork stew meat tough?

Rather than searing, you end up simmering and steaming your meat chunks. Instead of taking 10 minutes to brown, you end up blasting your meat with high heat for 20 minutes in order to first drive off that extra moisture. All of this increases the amount of stringy, dry, steamed meat in your final stew.

How do you soften pork stew meat?

How do you make pork soft and tender? Soak your pork in a salt-based brine before cooking it using your desired method. Pork chops need to soak between 12–24 hours, an entire pork tenderloin needs to soak for 6–12 hours, and an entire pork loin requires 2–4 days of soaking.

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