Pork cuts

Leg (halved for a smaller joint), loin and shoulder.

Be careful not to over cook it as this tends to dry and toughen the meat. After roasting, the joint should be left to rest for 15–20 minutes before carving.

Boneless steaks can be grilled, fried, cubed for kebabs, or cut into strips for stir-frying.

Fillet or tenderloin, from the top of the leg, is lean and tender and ideal for quick cooking.

 

Hams and gammon 

Gammon is a joint from the hind leg, cured in brine while still on the side. Once cured, it is removed ready for boiling and roasting.

Hams come from specially bred pigs. The best legs are selected for ham and the rest go for gammon and bacon. The ham is the hind leg, cut from the carcass before preserving, either by drying, salting or smoking. It can be cooked in the same way as gammon but is also sold ready-cooked. Ham is a drier product than gammon.

Most prepacked joints don’t need any soaking. However, if in doubt, or it has been bought straight from the butcher, soak it in cold water for 2 hours. Drain then dry.

 

Bacon

Bacon joints are from heavier pigs, so should contain more fat. Green (or unsmoked) and smoked bacon are interchangeable. Green bacon is brine cured only, not smoked, and has a milder flavour. Smoking makes bacon a little drier and firmer.

Avoid freezing bacon dishes for over a month as the flavour changes.

Storing bacon

If kept unopened in the fridge, bacon will generally keep for 3–4 weeks. Once opened, wrap any remaining rashers in clingfilm or place in an airtight container.