Chefs are looking at pork a whole new way, finding that underutilized cuts of the protein are an ideal alternative to get creative in the kitchen and add versatility to barbecue menu items while keeping costs down. Flat iron pork, pork medallions and cheek meat are all in the line-up for chefs to transform traditional barbecue pork dishes into new, inventive menu items while answering consumer demand for more unique, exotic options.

“Flat iron pork, pork medallions and cheek meat are underutilized on menus today, so there is an opportunity for chefs to become trendsetters by adding their own unique flavors to these tasty cuts,” said Chip Morgan, Director of Foodservice Marketing at Smithfield Culinary .“Each of these cuts plays well with virtually any cuisine, resulting in limitless possibilities for flavor and technique.”

As warmer weather approaches, consumers are in a barbecue state of mind. Chefs can use underutilized cuts of meat to put a spin on traditional barbecue dishes or come up with inventive menu items of their own.

Cheek meat is considered a true delicacy, and plays exceptionally well with barbecue cuisine. This cut has good marbling and rich flavor, and tastes best when cooked low and slow. The meat easily pulls apart with a fork – a delicious way to make pulled pork sandwiches sing. Cheek meat cuts can be braised, dry rubbed, seared, marinated or cured.

Cut from the pork shoulder, flat iron pork is a high-quality, lean, boneless pork cut with good muscle structure and texture. When cooked properly, this tender, flavorful cut is often compared to a steak. The flat iron cut’s versatility allows the pork product to be prepared a variety of ways including brining, braising, sous vide and slow cooked, among other traditional techniques. The tasty, moist cuts work with multiple flavor profiles including barbecue and farm-to-table while producing great texture.

Cut from a pork ham eye, pork medallions can be used in a wide range of dishes, working well in all barbecue applications. Pork medallions are great for the grill. Their good muscle structure means high yield with less shrinkage and they easily absorb complementing flavors and textures.


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