POSTS Basic pork cuts and their wine pairings


Basic pork cuts and their wine pairings

Pork is quite versatile meat and offers endless options both in terms of cooking and in terms of taste and fattiness (yes they go together!). Slow-cooked pork belly that melts in the mouth, juicy chops and exquisite fillet all demand for some cooking skills and the appropriate wine! Let's get started!

  1. Cheeks

If you've ever eaten a real carbonara then you probably would have tried guanciale. Guanciale is made from pork cheeks which are salted and then air dried like Prosciutto. It is a quite oily and tough piece so it is ideal for slow cooking. What do we drink? If you end up with a classic carbonara, with pecorino, egg and plenty of freshly ground pepper then a light and fruity red like Les Escures by Fabien Jouves will be a great combination.

  1. Shoulder

One of the most tender pieces with enough fat, is an ideal piece for braising and stir fries. A classic recipe is slow cooked shoulder with onions, carrots, white wine, garlic and herbs. This recipe calls for an exuberant and oaky Chardonnay from the New World, such as Chardonnay El Enemigo. If you prefer red wines then an elegant and super fruity Grenache such as 4 Gotes Portal del Priorat will be just great.

  1. Chops

The classic pork chops, which are one of the leanest cuts, demand for special cooking skills to keep them nice and juicy. One tip is to marinate them with citrus juice (I love tangerine), olive oil, garlic, thyme and a little soya sauce. Ideally grill them on the barbecue otherwise use a non-stick, heavy pan. Pick Fine Assyrtiko that has oaky character, orange flavors, rich body, sharp acidity and creamy texture and enjoy.

Extra tip: For a guaranteed juicy effect I prefer double pork chop. Sauté it until it gets a nice, even color and then finish in the oven for about 15 minutes (depending on size) or until reaches at least 65 ° C. The key point is to allow the meat to rest for about 10-15 minutes before cutting. Then cut into thin slices and accompany it with either a little Dijon or BBQ sauce. The wine that will be the best pairing is a juicy, plumy Merlot like Merlot by Mpougiouris Wines. EPIC!

  1. Boston butt steak

They are tastier and fattier than chops because they have enough intramuscular fat and thus, they become tender and juicy. They are ideally grilled on the barbecue or alternatively broiled in the oven. What do we drink? A velvety red wine with a moderate body and balanced acidity like the beloved Regieterre Nero D'Avola Cantina Musita!

  1. Neck

Did you know that a proper souvlaki (skewer) is made exclusively from this piece? Neck is a fatty and quite tender piece. It is ideal for everything, roasting, frying and slow cooking but we will focus in the amazing souvlaki. It is traditionally served with tomato, yogurt, onion, parsley and paprika. A perfect pairing will be a light Xinomavro! Try Xi - Ro by Ktima Ligas or if you want to be a bit adventurous put  Brut Rose by Domaine Karanikas in your glass!

  1. Shank

The upper part of the animal's foot is rich in collagen and fat. It takes several hours to cook but it really becomes a delicacy and it literally falls of the bone. You can marinate it in beer, honey and mustard and accompany it with a nice and juicy Cabernet Sauvignon such as Satyros by Patistis Winery. But if you prefer to play dirty and bake it in the oven until it acquires a crispy crackling then you want acidity, fruity aromas and rich body. I would choose V for Vostilidi by Panos Sarris which has an impressive structure plus all of the above!

  1. Leg

It is one of the leanest pieces and is ideal for quick recipes in a sautéing pan or slow roasting in the oven. In the first case, things are as plain simple: lemon, wine, oregano and mustard demand a white wine with sharpness, body and a slightly botanical character like Dafni Psarades by Lyrarakis Winery. The other option is a classic roast with orange, garlic, rosemary and coriander, combined with a spicy and fruity red like Triton by Markoyiannis Winery.

  1. Tenderloin

Pork tenderloin is lean and tender as long as you don't overcook it. The trick to keep it moist is either baking it whole and then slicing it or cut it into thick chunks and then cook it. It must necessarily reach 65 oC but be slightly pink in the center to be juicy and tender. Since it is a fairly neutral meat it can be accompanied with many different sauces. A classic choice is mushroom a la crème sauce. If we enhance the recipe with wild mushrooms, truffles or Parmesan shavings then Albert Bichot's Pinot Noir Bourgogne Vieilles Vignes will fit like a glove.

  1. Pork belly

The fattiest and for some, the most delicious piece of pork. It can be cooked in a variety of ways such as in the frying pan, on the barbecue, on the spit and in the oven.  My favorite option is to bake in the oven, covered in baking sheet, with five spices and garlic. When it is done, remove tha baking sheet and put it again in the oven to get a nice, golden brown color. Then you may open an Alsace Riesling like Riesling Camille Braun and enjoy!

  1. Ribs

Classic American dish since we are talking about slow cooked ribs with sweet and spicy BBQ sauces. The meat on them is scarce but it is buttery and tasty if cooked properly. In America they are smoked, covered with a mix of spices and sugar and practically melt in the mouth. The perfect wine for ribs with bbq sauce is a spicy, juicy red wine like Syrah by Kitrvs Winery.

  1. Loin

It is a relatively lean piece and is essentially the eye of the steak. It is usually roasted whole and accompanied with vegetables such as celery or potatoes or fruits such as apples and apricots. An interesting suggestion is herbs, finocchio, lemon and celery puree. The perfect match for such a dish is a sharp and herbal Sauvignon blanc like Sancerre Domaine du Nozay.


Eva Markaki

Wine Geek