Meat Cuts 101: Pork Sirloin

NAMP Number: 410A
Muscle Name(s):  Gluteus medius
Other Names: Chuleta, Extremo del sirloin, chump end
Cooking Style: Roast or Braise

The wind is howling outside, the sky is that lovely shade of “screw-you” grey, and rotting leaves are piling up on my doorstep.  People, it’s roast season.  In my mind there is nothing better than a big roast cooking away in the oven to compliment this gorgeous fall weather.  Throw in some heavily spiked mulled cider and you’ve got just about as perfect a day as it’s possible to get without copious illegal substances.  “But,” you’re asking yourself, “what roast, out of all the possible roasts, is the one I really want to be cooking this blustery October afternoon.”  The answer, to me at least, is simple: breeze right past the posh boneless loins, and dry aged beef joints, and go right for a big honking pork sirloin.

Sirloin has a bit of a bad reputation.  Also known, for good reason, as the “chump end” sirloin steaks from just about any animal have a tendency towards toughness.  It’s an area that has a beautiful, deep fat cap that is usually all but completely trimmed off, leaving the cut with no real lubricating element.  It’s essential to the success of this roast, and to your happiness as a person that you implore your butcher to leave as much fat on the sirloin as possible.  When you start the roast off hot (and by god you will start it off hot) that fat will caramelize and melt, slowly trickling it’s malliard-laden juices down into the meat below.  It’s a good thing.

When it comes to pork, the loin usually gets all the love.  Everyone loves a pork chop, and there’s something sexy about a boneless loin rolled up in a nice tight cylinder.  But what everyone forgets about the sirloin is it’s just the continuation of the loin, and it’s usually somewhere in the neighborhood of half the price per pound.  It ticks all the boxes for a good roast; it’s cheap, it’s big, and it’s super flavorful.  Assuming there’s something wrong with you and for some reason you DON’T want to make a roast, it also makes a good lean stew, or trim for sausage.  You can even cut a steak off of it, but let’s be serious, at that point you’re better off with a good old fashioned loin chop.

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